Working in the UK

Working in the UK for an newly arrived Expat can be tough.  It may take a while to find your dream job and you may need to start all over at the bottom; which is what I had to do.  

My office mates Lemmy and Lulu

I had a great job in Canada working for the Federal Government.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a job lined up before I moved here. It took me about 4 months to find something and I had to settle for work as a temp – at a considerably lower rate of pay than what I was used to.

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.

Most days it’s a 5 minute commute to my desk.  Once a month I travel to London and Birmingham but most days I can work in my PJs. I also get to work with two of the cutest and nicest office mates I have ever had.

Right to work

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 allows you and your dependents to live and work in the UK for a period of 5 years. You then have the option of extension and/or Indefinite Leave to Remain.  After a year on ILR you can then apply for citizenship and still keep your Canadian citizenship as well.

National Insurance Number

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.

Your CV

You’ll need to rewrite your CV (resume) 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.  Remember 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.

Job Sites

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.

Applying for Jobs

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.

Temp and Recruitment Agencies

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.  A good number of the temp jobs will turn into permanent, so you have to be flexible.

Other tips

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. Be prepared to be patient and flexible.  You may not land your dream job right way.

There is a possibility that 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.

Helpful Links

UK Job Search
Gov UK Finding a Job
Total Jobs
Reed Jobsite

“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