moove2london on 03 Sep 2010
Many of you will have completed your university degrees this summer and will be heading to London in search of graduate work, but as you may have heard in that refreshingly depressing way the media likes to tell us things… graduate jobs are hard to come by at the moment.
So here are some tips to increase your chances of getting a graduate job in London at the moment – it’s not all doom and gloom we promise!
Seriously, we can’t recommend enough the importance of uploading your C.V to Monster. It is TOTALLY FREE to create a profile and upload your C.V to their database where you will a)get to search for jobs in the industry you’re interested in but even better than this… b) top graduate recruiters use this database to search for the best graduate candidates to fill their positions. Imagine a scenario where a graduate vacancy has become available for a firm that you’re interested in, but the position is never actually advertised because their graduate head-hunters use Monster’s database to handpick candidates that they’re interested in interviewing. Why on earth wouldn’t you want to make yourself available for selection? Upload your C.V now.
Ok, this is a difficult one and is definitely not something we would recommend that EVERYONE does because of the sheer expense of Masters degrees and the importance of gaining relevant work experience. But for some professions, it really does pay to have a Masters degree under your belt. Think about it – if you’re applying for a graduate job and you’ve got a 2:1 or even a 1st class honours degree, how many other candidates do you think are applying with identical qualifications to you? Quite possibly hundreds. But the number of candidates with both Bachelors and Masters degrees will be substantially less. Talk to your careers advisors and people within your chosen industry for some advice.
Get yourself to some careers fairs. A great one which is coming up is the Guardian’s Graduate Fair which is free and takes place on 19th October, 2010 at the Business and Design Centre in Islington. You can already pre-register if you’re interested.
But this is only one of many careers events.
A great tip for those who have their heart set on working for one specific company, is to find out which career events the company recruiters will be attending. Then make sure you visit the company stand at as many of these events as you possibly can. Get to know the recruiters and make sure you take copies of your C.V with you and are fully prepared for informal interviews. Some may see this as stalking, but it’s an incredibly effective way to get yourself on the company radar!
We’ve thrown this one in for fun really, but some of you will have heard the story of David Rowe, who walked around the streets of London for 5 days wearing a sandwich board which read ‘Job wanted. History Graduate, University of Kent. Interview Me. Prepared to work first month FREE. Then hire or fire me. Thanks for looking, David.’ The stunt reportedly generated over 250 enquiries and he was consequently hired by JCDecaux.
Another similar story involved Alex Kearns (a 23 year old graduate) who was part of the Plinth Project in Trafalgar Square. He stood on top of the plinth for one hour with a sign reading ‘Give me a job’. He has since been hired by a London business consultancy who were impressed with his initiative.
Get some relevant work experience
When you apply for a graduate job, the recruiters aren’t going to just be blown away by your impressive qualifications and extra-curricular activities, they’re often going to require evidence of some relevant work experience within the industry that you’re applying to work in.
If your experience thus far, is a little thin on the ground, then it’s time to get some under your belt, particularly if you’re not doing any sort of work at the moment. Work experience might seem like it’s for kids and the fact that you’re not earning anything can be a little soul-destroying, but it won’t be forever. Make the most of an unpaid internship by learning as much as you can about your chosen profession, expanding your network of contacts (very important in business) and if you’re very impressive you might even be taken on as a permanent member of staff.
An excellent system to use when looking for work experience is the WEXO system.
Move to London
It’s a case of Catch 22 – we understand that. You don’t want to move here until you’ve got a job to pay the bills, but trust us, it’s really difficult to make the most of every available graduate opportunity or to be taken seriously if you don’t actually live in London or in the commutable vicinity. Remember that you can always take a survival job in London to help pay the bills whilst you’re searching for a more serious permanent job.
Follow all of the advice above and you’ll hopefully be setting your alarm for your first day at work in no time at all. Try and remain positive throughout the job-seeking process and don’t let a working day go by without taking a pro-active step (however small) to securing your dream job.
moove2london on 11 Aug 2010
With A-level results coming out next week, many of you will currently be wondering (and hoping) that you’ll get the results you need to move to London as a student and study at amazing colleges such as Queen Mary College, Kings, UCL, Imperial, LSE, Goldsmiths and the list goes on and on. Others of you might secure a university place in London through the limited number left in the clearing system. (More on clearing next week).
But what is life like for a student living in London for 3 or 4 years?
Well you’ve no doubt heard that London is pretty expensive compared to studying at other unis in the UK, (or overseas) and whilst that’s true, it certainly doesn’t mean that only wealthy people are able to study in London. What it does mean is that students in London learn how to be extra thrifty with their money. For those who are taking out student loans, you’re able to take out a bit extra as an allowance for the fact that you live in London. Many students will get a part time job, such as bar or shop work to help give them a bit of extra spending money. Contact your Student Union first of all to see what jobs they might have for you on campus.
Many students in London tend to go to things organised by their own Student Union as they’re often quite affordable. If you’re not impressed with the quality of what your college SU has to offer, then head to ULU (the University of London Union) which caters for ALL students in London. They often have pretty cool nights being held at ‘The Venue’.
For entertainment options outside of campus life, you’ll need to find some student friendly bars. Lots of bars carry discounts for students. Screampubs.co.uk in particular are extremely student-friendly – if you have a student id and £1, you’re able to obtain a yellow card which will save you heaps of cash on food and drinks. Their ‘crunch night’ has beers starting at £1.25!
Once you’ve enrolled as a student, you’ll receive a NUS card, which aside from being an important piece of I.D, is also your ticket to some great discounts at stores, services and venues across the country. Places such as Miss Selfridge, Oasis, Odeon cinemas, JJB Sports, Dominos Pizza, Play.com etc etc all have student discounts. If you’re not sure if somewhere offers a discount, then just ask them, but be warned that you’ll always be required to flash your NUS card or else the discount won’t be applicable.
Any other ways to save money?
London is a fantastic city for free things to do. Please refer to our Affordable London page for ideas on how to save a fortune and still have fun.
Another great idea is to visit Groupola and sign up for their offer of the day.
You can also get student discounts on travelling in London – see Tfl.gov.uk for details.
Where do London students live?
Good question. Students who are originally from London, often opt to live at home when they first start university as it saves money on student accommodation. Whilst this might seem like a wise idea, they find themselves missing out on many of the social aspects of being a London student and often you find that by the time the 2nd year starts, they’ve moved out of home.
So for those of you moving to London as a first-time student, we would heavily recommend moving into your college or university’s halls of residence. Student halls are a fantastic way to meet people and they’re often much more affordable than trying to find a houseshare. However, it’s typical for people to make friends with other people in university halls in their 1st year and then move into a student house with as many as 5 or 6 people for the remainder of the course.
Who will I meet at university in London?
There’s no limit to the amount of different people you’ll meet in London. We have people from all walks of life here. If you move into university halls, then you’re likely to make friends with people from other parts of the UK and international students. But then on your course, you’ll get friendly with people who have similar academic interests to you. If you start doing a part-time job, then you’ll potentially meet people who either study at different universities or who don’t go to uni at all.
What happens during the holidays?
With the exception of living in university halls, when you’re expected to vacate your room pretty much as soon as term ends, we think that London is unlike other university towns or cities, in that most students tend to stick around during the long holidays and get a job. If you’ve saved up enough money, then you could go travelling for a few weeks or a couple of months, because once you’ve finished uni, you’ll wish you hadn’t wasted those long holidays which aren’t so easy to take when you’ve got a full-time job. But if you can’t afford to go away, then just knuckle down to earning some money, reading your books (maybe!) in advance of the next term and having a great time with your uni mates.
What about getting a job after university?
Depending on the type of industry you wish to work in after university, you couldn’t be much better placed to find graduate work, by living in London. Obviously not ideal for those of you want to become farmers, but for those looking at working for banks, the media, or for big corporate organisations with impressive graduate schemes, London is an ideal place to be a student as it enables you to be able to take some relevant work experience whilst studying. Don’t wait until you’re in your final year to start looking around. Do work experience stints whenever you can and upload your C.V to Monster whilst you’re in your 1st year. You can add to it whenever you want. This gives graduate scheme scouts the opportunity to follow your progress through university and means that you’ll already be on their radar by the time you’re looking for a permanent position after you’ve finished your degree.
Finally, for any parents out there who are concerned about their child starting university in London in a couple of months time, we’ve compiled this Parents Guide to Moving to London which is designed to put your mind at ease.