If you think about relocation to London, you are at the right place! In this article, we will tell about the whole way: from finding a suitable job to the pitfalls of life in London and share the experience of those who have already evaluated life in this wonderful city! Let’s start :)
Where to look for a job
Job search in London is not really different from what we are used to: these are social networks, job sites, communication with recruiters.
Of course, the most popular professional social network is LinkedIn. Here it is convenient to search for the desired vacancy by:
the complexity of the vacancy (you can select those vacancies where less than 10 applicants have applied or just use the Easy Apply filter)
date of job posting
If you decide to look for a job passively, it’s better to activate the “Open to work” mode in your profile. However, recruiters from your current company will not be able to see this status.
Facebook also lets you find vacancies in the “Vacancies” section and in groups like “London IT Jobs”. But Facebook has fewer choices compared to LinkedIn and traditional job sites (and a lot of competition!).
Conclusions: search in social networks is suitable for people who have large networking and mutual acquaintances who work in necessary companies or know recruiters there. In this case, you can get a recommendation from friends and quickly get in touch with the company. It is worth remembering that the number of vacancies may be less compared to specialized job sites.
The most popular sites to look for a job in London are Reed, Glassdoor, Indeed. There are some sites like our Djinni for IT professionals: Technojobs, CW Jobs, Relocate.me (the last one is oriented towards the search for specialists for relocation).
Conclusions: job sites in the UK do not differ much from our work.ua and rabota.ua, you can search for work using various filters and receive notifications about new vacancies by email. Many people recommend to start your search from the Reed website.
If you are too lazy to look for a job on your own, recruiting agencies come to the rescue :) The agency's advantage is that agencies find ready-made vacancies (the candidate doesn’t need to search on his own), collect information, clarify requirements. So you need to talk to a Russian-speaking recruiter in the beginning to find out about the vacancy and draw conclusions.
By the way, we also work with relocation to London, current vacancies can be found here.
Pro tip: If you have a desire to work for a particular company, don’t forget to look through the "Careers" section on the official website. Companies often publish vacancies on their website without posting them on external job sites and give the opportunity to send your CV "for the future" if a suitable vacancy appears.
How to create a CV
The next step is to create a CV, cover letter, recommendations from colleagues and managers from past work.
Here are some tips from our team:
Write a short summary with information about yourself at the beginning of your resume. Introduce yourself and tell about your experience, skills, why you are suitable for this position. The summary is a great way to "get to know" via CV and create the desired impression of yourself.
Emphasize accomplishments and results achieved instead of the usual description of responsibilities. Example: "I managed to optimize the website loading speed by 2 times."
Prepare a short resume – 1-2 pages in PDF format. Infographics are welcome! And don't bother, there are now tons of ready-made templates on sites like Canva.
Take the time and prepare a personalized Cover Letter for each company. Otherwise, how can an employer understand why you are the right fit for them, and not a dozen other companies?
Optimize your resume for the ATS (applicant tracking system). The recruiting process for tech companies is highly automated. Until a live person looks at your resume, it goes through a system with many filters. It is important that the resume is easy to read for "robots" and all fields are parsed. Life hack from experienced candidates: add keywords in white text to the resume so that the system shows the resume to the recruiter as the most suitable for the vacancy.
Pro tip: To understand the salary market, you can look at the average salaries on LinkedIn (this section doesn’t work in Ukraine, so we use a VPN). Statistics are formed on the basis of candidates' responses. There is a similar section on Glassdoor, where a similar algorithm works with the collection of averaged statistics. Both resources work for most big countries, including the UK.
After your resume was seen by a recruiter, your next step is an interview (or a few of them). Companies, when interviewing candidates, try to create a flow, so each stage takes up to several weeks. Preparation for an on-site interview can take from 3 months to half a year: companies provide a list of topics and resources for preparation in advance.
Typical flows development candidates can face are:
an introductory online interview where you meet a recruiter, tell about yourself, learn about the company. At this stage, the task of the recruiter is to "weed out" the candidate according to the criteria from the vacancy profile.
online coding interview – a coding session that includes solving programming problems.
on-site interview – it is usually held at the company's office. This is the final stage, which usually includes several interviews in a row with the team/tech leaders and lunch with one of the employees. Flight and accommodation are paid by the company.
Feedback from Dmytro Selin, a Software Engineer on Facebook about his interview experience:
“Comparing interviews in Ukraine and in the UK is not very correct, since we have few large companies of the FAANG level. Ukrainian outsourcing companies pay a lot of attention to questions about specific aspects of a particular stack.
At a Facebook interview, they didn't ask about a specific stack at all. There was more emphasis on common sense and knowledge of algorithms. Many people advise the book “Cracking the Coding Interview” – it really helps prepare for technical interviews in Silicon Valley companies".
For non-technical positions (for example, an Office Manager/Office Operations Manager), the search process is faster. On average, candidates need 5-6 weeks from CV publication before getting an offer at the dream company.
Pro tip: Prepare an amazing elevator pitch to talk about yourself excitingly and quickly. It may seem unusual, but you really have to learn your elevator pitch by heart and you can even add a couple of jokes so that the listener has the opportunity to react and join the conversation. The purpose of the elevator pitch is not at all to "sell" yourself, as it might seem to an inexperienced applicant, but to make people want to continue communicating with you and move on to the next stage of the interview. This memorized intro, reduced to a couple of sentences, will help you at every stage of this way when you will need to introduce yourself.
It's time to collect documents
Usually, those who travel to the UK for work apply for a Tier 2 work visa. Tier 2's peculiarity is that you are "tied" to an employer who pays for your visa and invites you to work. Also, according to the conditions of Tier 2, the salary must be at least 30,000 pounds per year.
To obtain a visa, you will need:
Completed visa application form
Payment of visa fee and health care fee
IELTS test with a score of at least 4
Sponsorship of a visa from an employer (Certificate of Sponsorship)
Bank statement on the movement of funds
To get a visa, you will have to wait 20-30 days.
For more information with useful links on how to get Tier 2 and the required documents, follow the link.
The company that invites you allocates up to £8,000 for relocation costs. This amount can cover air tickets, rental of temporary and permanent housing, purchase of housing, furniture and home appliances, temporary loans.
For short-term rental housing, many people choose Airbnb and Booking. By the way, Rightmove, Zoopla, Openrent, Movebubbble.
As a rule, companies help to find temporary housing. The search is carried out by real estate agents: they collect requirements, select a suitable option, show housing. If you like the housing, you make an offer to the landlord (the owner of the apartment/house) and he confirms or refuses the rent. In London, rent is due 2 months in advance (for the first month and deposit). The money that is deposited is in a special escrow account and is returned at the end of the lease.
If you have a pet, you can search for housing longer. Not all homes have a pet-friendly policy. In addition, you need to collect a package of documents, including a microchip with an ID number, vaccinations, marks in the veterinary passport. And one more important point: you can only bring animals into the UK in the cargo hold (if you choose a direct flight). Many animal owners are "cheating" and fly through the EU countries to get around this rule and fly with the animal on board.
What happens after moving
Within a week after arrival, foreigners need to register as overseas visitor at OVRO and get a biometric residence permit – BRP. BRP makes it possible to enter the country (if you leave the UK without BRP, you will not be able to return).
For banking operations, many choose Monzo – an analogue of our Monobank. Monzo is convenient because it does not require proof of address, it can be received with a minimum set of documents (your choice: passport, license, ID card, any document with a photo) and the address where the card will be sent by mail. The card is delivered within 2-3 days, you need to activate it, and you can start using the card. Keep in mind that Monzo is a debit card. You won't be able to get a loan :)
A lot of people are worried about taxes. The situation with tax rates in 2019-2020 looks like this:
- Salaries up to £12.500/year are tax-free (0%)
- From £12.501/year to £50.000 – 20% tax
- From £50.001/year to £150.000/year – 40% tax
- For salaries above £150,000/year – the maximum rate is 45%
Actually, you can use a calculator and quickly calculate the tax that will be deducted from your salary.
Finally, to go to restaurants/cafes, it is worth getting a Tastecard discount card, which gives a -50% discount on dishes or special offer “2 for 1” in more than 6,000 places from PizzaHut to Jamie Oliver's restaurants.
And some impressions about London :)
Tourists say that the disadvantage of life in London is that you can’t live here forever) We would like to share a few interesting things about life here so that you can draw your own conclusions:
- Community. After some period of time you’ve moved to London, you will have your own barista, your employee at the metro station, your salesman in the cafe where you run for a sandwich. Just smile a little and ask “How are you?” and they will definitely talk to you, and in a couple of weeks, they will remember you.
- Underground is like a separate life. Each station has its own team that helps passengers and makes announcements. Some employees are very passionate: they may wish you a pleasant Friday; joke that going down the stairs is for first-class passengers, and the economy goes to the escalator; draw pictures on message boards and do their best to diversify the daily routine.
- Talking on the phone is a priority. The peculiarity of local residents is to call immediately to resolve the issue. It can be a little annoying, especially in the era of Telegram and other messengers :)
- Book everything in advance. In London, you will not get bored among the many museums, theaters, galleries, restaurants, cafes. But get ready to book everything in advance: whether it's a table in a cafe or a ticket to a museum. For example, the situation when you need to stand in an electronic queue to buy tickets to the museum for March next year in November is not an unusual thing!
- Expensive housing. Due to expensive housing, there is a tendency among locals to leave London and move to the north, where beer and housing are cheaper and people are kinder. Therefore, someone lives, for example in Sheffield or Nottingham and works from the office for a couple of days, staying for this time with friends or at a hotel. Sometimes it is even more profitable than renting a house in London! They are also building a lot in London and converting even more (a pub or stables can become new housing). Are you thinking of an old red brick Victorian house? Think about mold in the most unexpected places (and reread the tips on how to get rid of it!)
Thanks to Dima Selin and Irina Ravinskaya for their help in preparing the article and detailed answers :)