Getting a Job

Finding a new job can be challenging enough, but trying to find one in another country as an Expat takes stress to a whole new level.  

My office mates Lemmy and Lulu

I love the job I’m in now, I work for a national charity and I am absolutely chuffed to be able to work from home.  It’s becoming more of a trend over here now with a lot of work from home positions on offer.  I have to travel to London and Birmingham about once a month for meetings, but I have a 5 minute commute to my desk in the morning and I can work in my lululemons all day.  I have to say it’s the best thing ever – I get to work with two of the cutest and nicest office mates I have ever come across.

Before you start looking for a job you will need to be able to prove that you have the right to work in the UK.  I took the Ancestry Visa route, whereas you have to prove that you had either a parent or grandparent born in the UK. The Ancestry Visa will allow you and your dependants to live and work in the UK for a period of 5 years (with the option of extension and/or Indefinite Leave to Remain) after that.  After a year on ILR you can then apply for citizenship and still keep your Canadian citizenship as well.

You will need to register for a National Insurance Number. You can apply for jobs without one as long as you are able to show proof of your eligibility to work in the UK but you will have to get one as soon as possible.

You’ll need to rewrite your resume (CV) to a format more attractive to UK employers.  There’s loads of employment websites with tips on how to write a good CV and cover letter.  You have to mind your grammar and the use of certain phrases, e.g. organise, realise; whilst instead of while. Dates are written in a different format as well i.e. 24th June 2018.

There are loads of job sites on the internet and you can create an account to get daily job alerts.  Often times a job will be posted in the morning and taken down by the afternoon the same day.  As soon as you see something you are interested in apply for it, don’t go by the closing date, a lot of employers will have cut off point well before that date depending on how many applicants they receive. The competition for some jobs can be fierce so you have to be vigilant and check the job postings daily.

When I first started applying for jobs I didn’t receive any responses – not a single one, even for jobs I knew I was qualified for.  The problem was no UK employment and a very Canadian resume.  You just have to keep trying though and you will find something.  Apply for everything and anything and most importantly register with a recruitment/temp agency.  Most of the jobs are advertised through a recruitment agency so getting registered will definitely improve your chances of finding something.  You will have to attend an appointment, register and, in my case took some typing tests.  Soon after I landed my first temp position and have been in steady employment every since.

If you don’t already have one get a LinkedIn profile and don’t discount Facebook – there’s loads of local job pages on there as well. You have to be flexible and willing to take on temporary assignments if that’s all that is on offer.  A lot of times a temporary position will turn into a permanent full time one. You might have to take a few temporary positions before you can score your first permanent full time one, but each assignment gives you UK employment history and will give you a taste of what it’s like to work here.

Most recruitment agencies will reimburse you for your lunches and your travel costs to and from work.  They are a valuable resource as they have access to jobs that are usually not advertised and have contacts and contracts with some of the bigger employers so it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. It’s to an employer’s advantage to use temps as they don’t have to pay them any benefits and can ‘try before they buy’ to see if you are a good fit for their company and it gives you the opportunity to see if they are a good fit for you as well.

Helpful Links

“Follow your dreams. If you have a goal, and you want to achieve it, then work hard and do everything you can to get there, and one day it will come true”. – Lindsey Vonn