London is an exciting place to launch your career. Being a student in the capital gives you some unique advantages when it comes to networking, building a CV and securing your dream job. Whilst many of these tips will apply to any location, there are some unique hacks that will particularly useful for students looking to find graduate jobs in London.
Getting a well-paid job at a prestigious company in London is a gold standard for many students. Other people have different priorities for their career and where they want to live so it is worth considering whether a job in London is the right move for you.
It is a significant challenge, with 8.4 million people living in the capital. This is expected to grow to nearly 10 million by 2031, meaning there will be fierce competition for desirable positions.
However, there are lots of opportunities to tap into. London is one of the world’s foremost financial centres, with a flourishing tech scene centred around East London’s Silicon Roundabout.
Virtually every industry you can imagine has opportunities here, with big and small companies offering a range of working cultures to suit your personality. The testimonies of CU students that have progressed to impressive London careers shows that despite the challenges, it is possible.
One of the advantages of living in a global business hub is the networking opportunities available. For most industries, there will be regular meet-ups between professionals. If you brush up on the latest news on the industry and attend then this is a great way to make a good first impression with potential contacts.
Find a mentor
Even if there are no networking events for the industry you are looking to access, then you can still unlock opportunities with a little initiative and boldness. Find the people that inspire you from the field and reach out to them intelligently and tactfully. Online networks such as LinkedIn are very useful for this.
You may be able to get advice and support from them. It will flatter their ego and if they agree to meet for a coffee, you could get some really useful insights.
With over 100 of Europe’s 500 largest companies headquartered in central London, it is sensible to include them in your graduate job search. In contrast to smaller companies, you will need to prepare for these applications in advance.
The formal schemes of major companies can take dozens of graduates but will close for applications many months in advance. You may have to write a lengthy application form and undergo a telephone or skype interview, testing and competitive assessment centres.
Internships and work experience
This is probably the most important part of this list. Previous, relevant work experience is one of the key factors that recruiters look for. In addition, many graduate jobs never see the light of day and are filled by people that started on a work experience placement or internship.
London is home to some of the biggest careers events in the country, with hundreds of employers and tens of thousands of visitors discovering their dream job. Take a stack of tailored CVs to hand out to employers willing to accept them. Check out events such as the London Graduate Fair, Skills London and the London Job Shows, just to name a few.
Creative job hunting
The final option to stand out from the crowd is to use your creativity to demonstrate your distinctiveness. The high footfall at many major London train stations or business areas is the perfect platform for your bold job-hunting stunt.
For example, students have stood outside stations with signs, bought billboards, held events and printed their CV on lego or chocolate. Make sure whatever you do is relevant to the job at hand. Don’t cause a nuisance or trigger a security alert in someone’s office. Consider your audience as a cool start-up may be more receptive to unconventional approaches than a traditional law firm.