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 18 Aug 2010
UPDATE: (as of 11am on 19/08/10) The following London universities still have vacancies available on some of their degree courses. Contact the universities directly or look at the UCAS site for details:
- Queen Mary College
- King’s College
- London Southbank University
- The London College
- London School of Commerce
- University of Greenwich
- University of East London
- Greenwich School of Management
- Kingston University
- Middlesex University
- Richmond, the American International University
- Thames Valley University
- University of Westminster
- Roehampton University
- Royal Veterinary College
Following on from last week’s article on What to expect as a student in London , this week we’ll be looking at the University Clearing process in time for A-level exam results which will be published tomorrow!
First of all, we wish all A-level students the very best of luck and hope that you’re successful in going to the university of your choice. If you do well, remember to cheekily send your parents the link to Exam Gifts which has a great range of treats for celebrating exam success.
So, Clearing is the process in which students are matched up with courses at universities that haven’t already been filled by other students who have achieved the necessary grade requirements to fill an offered place through the UCAS system. Be very clear on this though, this doesn’t mean that Clearing is only for those who haven’t achieved good grades as this is just not the case.
It is also for:
- Students who did not meet the UCAS deadline of 30 June, 2010, perhaps for those who only recently decided to apply to university
- For people who didn’t receive any offers through the UCAS system
- For students who have chosen to decline an offer on a course that has changed in description or length
- For students who decided to decline all the offers that they received through the UCAS system.
If you think that you’d like to apply to university through Clearing for any of the reasons above, or if you miss your grades, then the first thing you’ll want to do is pick up a copy of the Independent newspaper tomorrow morning as it has a comprehensive list of all the universities with vacancies on their courses. Please be aware that it is predicted that this year there will be much more demand placed on the Clearing system, so you really do need to get organised and get in there asap. When you’ve flicked through your copy of the Independent, take a look at the UCAS site as they will have up-to-date information on the list of vacancies available.
The next thing you’ll need to do on their site is check Track which will tell you if you’re eligible to enter the Clearing process. If you are then you’ll see the ADD CLEARING CHOICE button.
What time does Clearing open?
Clearing officially opens at 6pm on Results Day which is tomorrow, the 19th August, 2010.
It is very important that you make yourself available to talk to universities, colleges and your own school careers advisers, so if you suspect that you’ll be going through the Clearing system, then it might be best not to plan any celebrations on the evening of Results Day until after you’ve secured your place at university.
What courses/subjects can I study through the Clearing process?
The good thing about Clearing, is that you’re not limited to your own original subject choices. So long as you pick a course that is going to hold your interest for the next 3 or 4 years, then you can choose to study a differing subject within reason. Don’t be disheartened if a course you like the look of appears to be full. Keep checking back, as vacancies may appear once accepted students decide to drop out or defer their place for another year.
What should I do once I’ve found a course that I like the look of?
The next thing you should do is speak to the university or college that you would like to study at. You can actually even do this today if you like. Talk to them about the course and see if they’re willing to make you a provisional offer. Ideally you would have already visited the uni or college so that you know you like the feel of the social environment that you’ll be studying in. But if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit, then use the next 24 hours to look at their website in full and see what you think. Once you’ve received a provisional offer and have made a decision that this is where you want to go, then use the ADD CLEARING CHOICE button to make your selection.
There have been various reports in the media about their being a serious lack of clearance places available this year and whilst that may be true, there will still be many students who are able to get a university place in this way, so if you’d like to be one of those, then the best tips that we can give you are:
- Be flexible in your choices
- Do your research about various courses and unis that might interest you in advance, so you don’t waste valuable time umming and aahing trying to decide what you want.
- Have a backup plan, so that if none of the courses offered to you this year are a good match, then consider taking a year out and reapplying next year
Once again, we wish everyone the best of luck and hope to see some of you at London’s fantastic universities in Freshers Week!
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.
moove2london on 10 Aug 2010
If you took out a student loan in order to survive your way through uni, then eventually there will come a day when the Student Loan Company (the SLC) wants their money back!
If you started at university on or after September 1998, then you’ll have taken out an Income Based Loan (as opposed to a Fixed Term mortgage style loan, that students pre-1998 took out).
How do I know when to start paying my loan back?
Usually the HMRC tax office will send you a letter in the April of the year after you’ve graduated and give you the good news that you’ll now be required to start paying back your loan.
How do I pay my loan back?
You pay your loan back in one of 3 ways.
- Through the PAYE (or Pay As You Earn) system, which means that your loan repayments will come straight out of your salary along with the tax that you’re required to pay
- Through your Self-Assessment tax forms. When you complete a return, you’ll be required to calculate how much of your earnings will be paid to the Student Loan Company.
- Through Overseas Repayment – if you’re leaving the country for more than 3 months to be employed overseas, you should let the SLC know, so that they’re able to collect monthly repayments directly from you.
How much will I be required to pay back to the SLC?
Ok, this is where you’re going to need a calculator!
The payment threshold is currently set at £15,000 per year. This means that if you only earn £14,900 per year, then you’re not yet required to pay anything back, but if you earn £15,000 or more then you’ll pay 9% of anything you earn over this amount back to the SLC.
So let’s say you earn £20,000 per year. As the threshold is £15,000, this means that you earn £5,000 above the threshold, so 9% of this amount of money will go to the SLC.
9% of £5000 is £450 for the year. But you won’t pay this back all in one go unless you’re paying back through Self-Assessment.
Instead, this will be divided up into 12 segments of £37.50 which will disappear from your monthly salary. The beauty of the PAYE system is that as you never actually see this money in your bank account, you’ll not be tempted to spend it. To all intents and purposes, it’s just an extra tax that you pay.
Can I pay back my loan quicker?
Yes you can. If you want to make extra payments, you can contact the SLC at any time and make a one-off payment. However, you should be aware that if you’re working then you’ll still be required to pay the 9% on anything you earn over £15,000. Obviously though, the additional voluntary payments that you’re making will mean that your debt is reduced quicker.
What is the rate of interest on my student loan?
The current rate of interest on an income based student loan is 0% until the end of August 2010.
How do I find out my student loan balance?
The SLC is contacted by the HMRC once a year to tell them how much they’ve collected from your earnings. They’ll then send you a statement of your balance as of April. However, due to the huge backlog, you shouldn’t normally expect to receive this statement before August or September.
An alternate way of finding out an up to date balance on your student loan, is to log in to your account on the SLC site and use their online balance calculator. This does depend on you providing details of all the deductions (can be found on your payslip) that you’ve made since you last received a statement from the SLC.
What happens when I’m due to stop paying back my loan?
That day will eventually come, we promise! The SLC can notify you up to 2 years before the end of your loan repayments that they believe you are nearing the end of your loan contract. You then have the option to switch to paying your loan by direct debit to prevent overpayment. You can of course continue to have payments taken out of your salary. Let the SLC know, what month you think will be your last payment and they’ll normally send your employer a ‘stop notification’ to cease payments disappearing from your salary. If you do find or think that you’ve ended up overpaying, you can claim a refund back from the SLC.
moove2london on 11 Jun 2010
After 3 or 4 years of living in halls or a shared house at uni, the time will come for you and your friends to disband and consider where your life is going post-graduation.
Aside from those who choose to study in London, many students who have been studying at universities in other parts of the country, find that their student-friends don’t remain in their uni town after their final year. Instead, they tend to do one of 3 things.
- Go travelling
- Move back home with their parents
- Move to London to find graduate work
There are of course more than 3 options available to graduates, but these tend to be the most popular.
Now, we’re not going to try and talk you out of going travelling. So long as you realise that it won’t last forever as your money will probably run out, seeing the world is an amazing experience and you’ll never forget it.
We are however, here to convince you that moving back in with your parents rather than moving to London isn’t always the greatest of ideas.
Remember how great it felt at uni to come in at whatever time of day or night you felt like. You were answerable to no-one. You ate what you wanted, when you wanted and didn’t have to worry about being back for ‘dinner-time’. If you staggered through the door at 5am after puking in your own garden, then you might have felt a bit embarrassed in front of your flatmates, but they soon got over it because they were in the same state a couple of nights later. Most parents, even the coolest ones, aren’t going to be impressed by your drunken shenanigans. Even worse, they’ll be ‘worried’ and you won’t be able to let your hair down too much anymore because you’ll feel guilty about it.
Dating and parents don’t really mix all that well. If you already have a girlfriend or boyfriend, then you’ll have to try and suss out how cool your parents are with he/she staying over. To be honest, most parents should be fairly flexible about this as you have been away for 3 or 4 years. But you will definitely have to bid a fond farewell to afternoon ‘sessions’ on the couch with your other half.
Of course, an even worse scenario exists if you’re single. Let’s say you’ve gone on a couple of dates with someone and you manage to convince them in some sort of drunken stupor that it’s not an issue for them to stay the night in your parents home. You have a wild night of passion and then have to try and sneak him/her out of the house whilst your parents are sat at the breakfast table reading their papers. Awkward!
Ok, so this is the strongest argument for going home after uni and there’s no denying that many people manage to save a lot of money whilst living with their parents as it’s normal to pay little or no rent to the duo that created and raised you. But on the flipside you need to get out there into the big, bad world and learn how to manage your money. Children who stay at home for too long find it harder, once they do move out, to grow up and manage their finances.
Your relationship with your parents
Even if you have a great relationship with your parents and love getting your laundry done on a regular basis(!), you still might discover that you’ve been looking back on your childhood with rose-tinted spectacles and the reality is that they drive you nuts. Your dad’s obsession with gardening shows and your mum’s constant slating of the neighbours may become a little much for you to bear on a daily basis and you could find yourself either locked in your bedroom night after night for some space, or choosing to get out as much as possible and spending all that money you thought you’d be saving!
Your uni friends
If some of your university friends have moved to London immediately after uni and you chose not to go with them, then they’ll probably be nicely settled in a shared house together and you’ll be sorry that you chose not to go with them. They’ve moved on and you’re jealous of the lifestyle that they’re experiencing. What’s the point of you saving all this money if you’re not going to have any fun with it?
If your eventual aim after saving some money at home, is to move to London and seek out a top graduate job, then the best place to search for and secure such a position from, is London. Recruitment agencies and interviewers want people to fill positions NOW (usually so they can get their commission asap!) They can’t be bothered with waiting for you to take time off work and get the train down etc.
If you’re still in doubt about moving to London, because you’re worried about the costs involved, then read the following articles which might help get some figures sorted out in your head.
How Much Money Do I Need To Move To London
How Much Does It Cost To Live In London
moove2london on 21 May 2010
This week, we’ve caught up with a relative newcomer to London. Chris is 23 and moved to London after university.
Hi Chris, where are you from?
I’m from York.
How long ago did you move to London?
About ten months ago – I finished at uni last May and then chilled out for a bit, went travelling to South America for a month and then thought I’d better get on with finding a job!
Why did you decide to move to London?
I had a great time at uni in Liverpool, it’s a great city, but about half way through our final year, me and my mates realised that no-one who we were mates with was really going to carry on living there and the general consensus was that we’d move to London because that’s where most of the graduate jobs seem to be. Also, none of us had lived in London before and it seemed like the most buzzing place to be.
Do you feel that you made the right decision in moving to London?
Definitely. Like I said, no-one was staying back in Liverpool and I didn’t really feel like I wanted to go home to my parents house in York. Living in London is amazing. My friends are all here, I’m single so love meeting new people in bars all over town.
Moove2London says: – see our Dating in London page for great dating tips, London dating locations and online dating site reviews.
How easy was it for you to find work?
I applied for a graduate job towards the end of my final year at uni and after a million interviews, I got accepted in a graduate accountancy position. It took a long time because of the process, but my other friends all managed to get good jobs fairly easily. I’m not saying the recession doesn’t exist but it doesn’t appear to have hit London as hard as other areas of the UK.
Moove2London says: Give yourself a head start in finding a job before you even finish uni, by uploading your C.V for FREE to Monster.
Whereabouts in London do you live and what are your living arrangements?
I live in Balham with 2 other blokes – both from Liverpool University. We live in a large Victorian conversion flat. It doesn’t have a garden but we’re really near the Commons so it was great last summer for playing football and chilling out with a few bevvies.
Moove2London says: Not everyone who moves to London gets to live with their existing friends. If you’re moving to London by yourself, then visit Easyroommate to find a flat and flatmates.
How did you find your accommodation?
We called up a few estate agents and 2 out of the 3 of us came down to London one weekend and crammed about 10 property viewings into one day. The one who didn’t come and look at houses with us got the smallest room. Least effort equals box room!
Are you finding London very expensive to live in?
It’s definitely more expensive than Liverpool and York, but I think part of the problem is that as well as moving to London, we have also stopped being students, so student discounts and deals go out of the window. We’ve calmed down a bit now but when we first arrived there were so many different bars and areas of London to explore so we were out after work most nights a week. Then we realised that we couldn’t really afford to live like this, so tend to try and stick to the weekends now!
Moove2london says: Try reading out Affordable London page for tips on how to stick to a budget in London.
What do you love about London?
There’s so much to do, you can’t get bored. Any band you want to see will play in London. There’s loads of comedy, clubs, bars and girls!
Have you had any negative experiences since your move to London?
No, not really. Obviously I read the papers and am aware of crime and stabbings that have taken place in the capital, but luckily I’ve never witnessed or experienced anything bad myself. Touch wood.
How long do you imagine you’ll stay in London for?
I can’t promise I’ll be here until I’m a pensioner, but I’ve no desire to leave in the next 10 years or so.