Alyssa Writes

Reader Question # 3: How long will it take me to find a job in #London?

So you wanna join the legion of commuters?


Hi Alyssa!

Thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed message. I didn’t expect it but greatly appreciate it.

I do realize London is very expensive, even by Vancouver standards. I have been and stayed there a couple times before. Even the hostels were pricey.

How long do you think it will take me to find a job in London? I am looking for something in accounting. Of course, if it’s quicker I will take a random job to help pay the bills but I would prefer to look for something in my field. I think the hopes of finding a job before leaving might be a bit high. It just would be nice because it would make the transition easier and easier to explain to my family considering I have a full-time job here that I would be leaving for the unknown.

Also, Would you be able to comment on if the two year condition on the YMS visa makes finding a job more difficult?

– Parents Just Don’t Understand



No problem! I hope everything was helpful.

In response to your first question: Well, how long is a piece of string?

I know, that’s not a useful answer, but I really can’t estimate how long it will take you, specifically, to find a job. It depends on your skills, qualifications, how well you interview and what your expectations in terms of salary and job title are. Realistically, it could take between 2 weeks and 3 months.

Personally, it took me 6 weeks and I started getting the ball rolling before I had actually arrived in London.

If you’re not that picky about the work you do and you don’t mind cleaning, serving, or bartending, then with enough motivation you can be employed in a couple weeks. I suspect that since you’re an accountant, you’ll probably want to work in that field. You also likely have a lot of experience so you would be a desirable candidate.

For new graduates, or people looking to change industries, you may have a harder time. My partner wanted to get into physical trading and was looking for 3 months before he found an internship. He had to stay there for six months before moving on to a salaried role.

As far as the two-year condition on the visa, it can make people less likely to take a punt on you. For contract positions, it’s fine as long as your Youth Mobility Visa is valid for the duration of the contract. However, some companies don’t have the means to sponsor Tier 2 visas (in case you want to stay) and will thus be less likely to hire you. It only becomes a problem if you want to change companies mid-way through your visa duration – eight months or a year isn’t always long enough for an employer to decide if they want to sponsor you.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a line of work that is on the occupation shortage list and you’re Canadian, getting sponsored by a company you already work for is easy-peasy from what I’ve heard.

To Find a Job More Quickly…

Update your CV. Read my advice post about the differences between a British CV and a Canadian resume. Include your skills and proven experience.

Get on LinkedIn. Set your location to London and make sure that it is updated with your role and detailed responsbilities. Start adding recruiters in your field that live in London to your LinkedIn. Seriously, do this immediately – not a day goes by that I don’t get messages from recruiters with “amazing opportunities”.

Submit your CV to job websites. Now that your resume has been updated, submit it to Monster, Reed, Indeed and any other ones you can think of. Find recruitment agencies for your field and start emailing them. Speak to recruiters and get some advice from them.

Set up interviews for your arrival. If a recruiter contacts you, have them set up interviews for jobs you think are suitable. Try to set some up yourself – I was able to set two up for my arrival. Even if you don’t get the jobs, it will give you an idea of interview styles and prepare you for better jobs.

Remember that it’s a numbers game. Apply to every job you see that is suitable. Unless you have some seriously unique experiences or special skills, employers may not be knocking your door down. Expect a 10-15% response rate – meaning you need to apply to 10 jobs to get at least one reply. Depending on your work, you may get a phone interview or a video interview, followed by an in-person job interview and a job offer. For one job, you may end up with 3-4 interactions (phone/video interview, in-person with HR, in-person with potential manager). For another job, you may just show up for ‘tea and a chat’ and end up with a job… At least, that’s what happened to me!

Thousands of Canadians and Australians come to the UK to find work every year. From my experience, more of them find work and stay than those that leave – good luck!

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