Freelance travel writer and Policy Adviser for the UK government living in Brixton. View my blog www.my-big-fat-carbon-footprint.blogspot.com for ethical and budget travel inspiration
Published April 1st 2013
Helping hand to find London jobs
Ok, so the job market is horrendous worldwide, apart from perhaps, Australia. Otherwise, the streets of Europe are most likely akin to the 1930s. Even the colour has been sapped from London, everything is in sepia, and for some reason, men have started wearing cloth caps and have swapped their Nikes for large shoes with gaping holes in the toes. Yes, we're in a vast, yawning hole of depression, but there are still jobs to be had in London town. Here's just how to find them:
Ensure you have friends in high places. This is easier said than done, obviously, but loitering around in coffee shops does have its advantages when it comes to making connections. I have now been offered a grand total of two jobs, just from having the fortune of sitting next to the right people at the right time. One man insisted that I come and interview for a job at his ski and snowboard company, despite the fact that I can't ski or snowboard. Another man eyeballed the pictures that I was doctoring on my laptops and gave me a business card for freelance photography. I still earn money this way. So if you're particularly lazy, and you prefer the idea of loafing around drinking hot beverages all day over, then waiting for the job to come to you is one way of succeeding in the London job market. I am proof that it can happen, you just need to have a happy smile and to look job hungry.
Go classic. Local restaurants and bars will respond to your efforts to traipse around the capital handing out promising looking CVs to all and sundry. Open the door to an establishment with a broad smile, extend your arm to the manager for a polite handshake and state why you're there. Hopefully this will be enough to show that you want employment and that you're an excellent choice. If nothing nothing else, you have the stamina to be on your feet for hours on end.
Do what my friend did and stand out from the crowd with quirky CVs. One of my friends, desperate to get a job in PR, poked his CV into a balloon, filled it with Helium and then left it at several PR firms, hoping to get their attention. He labelled it as a gift to the boss and provided a handy pin to prick the rubber. Do your research first: a small quirky surprise to a young PR manager could be a fatal shock induced heart attack to an older one. Worked for my friend though: he was called for five interviews in as many hours.
While I don't suggest that you copy this idea to the letter, other ideas are delivering your CV wearing fancy dress, presenting your CV in a 3D origami shape (if this is at all relevant to your job-perhaps applying to be a burger flipper in Maccy D's won't call for such a level of creativity) or making a hanging mobile out of your CV and sending it in a package to PR firms nationwide.
Get in touch with a recruitment agency. Sometimes, these places can help to place you with the company of your dreams. Often, they arrange a little pre-interview with you first to make sure that you're not going to embarrass them. Just make sure you're clear about what type of job you're looking for. I once went for an interview with an internet company who quizzed me about my computer coding skills and looked more and more dejected with every answer I offered. At no point had the recruitment consultancy suggested that I would need to be able to program or build websites: they'd told me that they were looking for someone to write product descriptions. Mad.
Move out to the provinces. A growing number of graduates are opting not to move to London to find work. Despite the feeling that London is almost a primate city in the UK, more and more jobs are being found outside the capital. Jaguar Landrover recently offered a shedload of engineering roles for new engineering and physics students, while the BBC's move to Salford has ensured that it's no longer imperative for debt-ridden graduates to shell out more money for London accommodation. The big cities of Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham have a variety of jobs on offer, and, best of all, you're less likely to be competing with EU workers who come to London tempted by the glitz, the glam and the exceptional restaurants. No-one ever went to Manchester for the glitz and the glam.