Moving to London after university is becoming more and more popular amongst graduates due to the number of graduate roles available and the sheer amount of things going on. I recently moved to London in June, and although this move was exciting (and I still love London) not everything is as simple and easy as it seems. Here are some of my top pieces of advice:
- Be determined and persevere
Whether you’re a job hunter who’s already moved to London and are looking for a graduate job, or you’re searching for a role before you make the big move, you have to have the passion and determination to succeed. There are a lot more career opportunities in London but be aware, the competition is high! Prepare yourself for rejection and make sure you follow up on any unsuccessful applications. Ring the companies’ HR team to receive feedback and use this to improve your CV and interview skills. You’ll get there eventually, don’t worry!
- Research your location
If you’ve already secured a graduate role and are deciding where to live, check out where your role is based. If you have a banking job or any corporate role, chances are you’re going to be in Canary Wharf or the City of London. Take the commute into consideration and think about how long you want to be travelling to and from work for. Choose a district of London near work, for example Mile End, and then research flat prices and commuter times using Google Maps or Citymapper (more on this later). Also take into account the zone you live in – the nearer you live to work the less your travel costs will be!
- Have the right wardrobe
It’s time to shed those student clothes and invest in some key wardrobe pieces! Double check the dress code prior to your first day of work, but most finance jobs have a smart dress code which means suits and shirts. Buy a cheap but decent suit or skirt and trousers – you’ll also need these for any interviews you have. Once you get your first pay cheque you can invest in better attire.
- Keep on top of your finances
Budget, budget, budget! This may sound boring, but trust me you don’t want to end up with £3.29 left the week before you get paid. Work out how much rent and bills you pay and deduct this from your monthly pay check. Use what money you have left and keep track of what you spend. Making a spreadsheet of all your expenses can be really helpful in working out where your money goes and how you can save. Remember you don’t have to stay in if you’re strapped for cash – there are a lot of free activities to do in London.
- Make the most of apps and social media
Every time a friend asks me for directions I always check Citymapper and recommend the app to them. Citymapper gives you directions to and from everywhere in London and is free of charge.
Social media is also great for finding out things that are happening. I follow Time Out and Secret London on Twitter and Instagram. Many of these pages post free activities but Skint London on Twitter post only free things!
Social media is great for job searching. Make sure your profiles are sensible or private and follow companies and recruitment sites on Twitter and LinkedIn. Read our Graduate Job Hunter’s Guide to Social Media for more information.
- Network and smile!
Say yes to any invites to networking / company events! You can also be proactive and find events going on near you on The Inside Careers Events Page. You never know who you will meet and what contacts you will gain. I met people in the industry I wanted to work in who got me work experience in companies I could only ever dream of working for.
Also remember to smile! Be friendly and polite to everyone so people will want to give you their contact details and help you out.
- You’re not alone! There are loads of other people new to London too
I was worried when I first moved to London that I’d be the only one clueless and new to the city. Worry not, the majority of people you meet are going to be or have been in the same situation as you. More than half of the Inside Careers team is made up of staff that moved here in the past year. We’re always there to help each other out and offer advice on living in London!