Moving abroad is a dream for many, and an opportunity that should be relished. The truth is that very few of the people that dream about living overseas actually make it. While it is easier than ever to kiss the rat race goodbye and start a new life, there are still a number of hoops you have to jump through to get there. Each destination offers different challenges and obstacles and it is up to you to overcome them. If living and working in the UK is on your list of things to do then you will definitely want to get up to date with this information. Here are the top ten tips on working in the UK so you can make your transition as easy as possible.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #1- Do it Legally
There are a number of opportunities to find work where you are paid under the table, but it really is not worth the risk. If you are caught working without a visa you will be deported almost instantly and never be able to return. There are a number of organizations that can help you get a hold of a 6 month visa. A very respected organization for this is BUNAC, which charges an administrative fee but can set you up with a visa, possible accommodations, different social events, and even help you find vacant jobs.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #2- Plan for National Insurance
Once you have a work visa, the organization that helped you should also be willing to find you national insurance. Your national insurance number is relatable to a social security number at home. You will need to set up an appointment after you arrive in the UK and will be given a number you can use temporarily until your card is processed and ready. This will ensure that you are covered when it comes to health services and provide you with a lot of protection during your stay in the UK.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #3- Switch up your Resume
It is very unlikely that the same resume you used to apply for a job at McDonald’s is going to help you land a job in the UK. Have a look at some sample resumes that can be found online, as resumes used in the UK are a bit different than the style used in North America. Extend your resume a bit and include a personal bio section about yourself. Try not to go too in depth, as that is what the interview is for, but give a good idea to the employer about who you are and what you can offer the company.
Be sure to visit the employment advice section and in particular our article about putting together a quality cover letter.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #4-Invest in a Phone
It is quite amazing how much having a phone can help you in your job search. Potential employers will be unwilling to contact people purely via email and are even scared off by people who cannot provide a phone number on their resume. One of the first things you should do is grab a quick pay as you go phone once you get off the plane. Chances are, if you give the company an easy way to contact you, there is a bigger chance they actually will.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #5- Add some Flexibility
It is a good idea to think about the type of short term job you would like and which area of the UK you would like to experience, but try not to be narrow minded. If you enter the job search with a closed mind you may miss out on some of the best opportunities and be left unemployed for a frustrating amount of time. Keep in mind that the entire experience abroad is completely different. While you may hate the idea of working in a Starbucks at home, hooking into a job at the local coffee shop may prove to be an excellent way to get to know people and branch out. Stirring lattes sure beats aimlessly wandering the street looking for work, and munching on ramen while handing out resumes.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #6- Do not Appear overly Desperate
While it is good to be flexible and keep an open mind, obvious desperation could look bad to a potential employer. Walking into a store or an employment agency and telling them that you will do anything could leave you in a poor position. While it may be true that you are desperate and willing to do anything, do not act that way. Let them know about previous experiences and gloat about what you bring to the table. In many instances the more specific you are about what you want to do, the more driven and determined you look to a company.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #7- Sign up with Recruitment Agencies
It is a good idea to call different recruitment agencies before you even arrive in the UK and set up a face to face. Be prepared with your updated and revised resume, references, and have an idea of what you are after. You will be sat down with an adviser and put through a number of tests and questionnaires, but it will mostly all be worth it. These agencies can help you find interim work before you even find a full time job. This can often help keep a roof over your head when you get there. They are easy to find as well. Just search for some on Google in the area you are headed and you should be all set.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #8- Use all Available Resources
Finding a job is not easy, although many websites will tell you that it is. The good news is that jobs are advertised everywhere you look, and there are literally thousands of resources you can use to get in touch with the right people. Social networking sites such as GumTree offer jobs and you can search for jobs online at places such as Monster.com. You do need to be careful with resources such as Craigslist and GumTree though as some jobs are in fact scams. However, even with all these places to look you should never underestimate how much success can come from walking into stores with a nice outfit and a clean resume. You may even be able to get employers to hire you even when they were not looking for new employees at the moment.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #9- It’s all about the Benjamins
Planning a successful trip to the UK is all about knowing what to expect. It would almost be impossible to search for a place to stay, create a budget, and plan your time abroad, without having an idea of the salary you are going to be bringing in. While the numbers will change and vary from place to place, you can expect a salary between £5 and £7 per hour if you find work in a restaurant. However tipping is not as common as it is in other parts of the world. The minimum wage is right around £4.60 for people aged 18-21 and £5.52 for people 22 or older. Remember that the bigger the city you are working in, the more likely it is that your salary will be higher. If you want to go the route of office work then you can usually expect to be paid around £7 or £9.50 an hour.
Move Abroad to the UK Tip #10- After you have landed a Job
Just because you have found employment doesn’t mean that all your research and work is done. Make sure you analyze your contract and terms of employment closely. This will help you to understand upcoming holidays, benefits, and taxes you will have to deal with. If you make less than £5,000 you may be exempt from taxes altogether. Find out what sort of planned holidays you can put together and that way you can put together a perfect itinerary for your life in the UK.
No matter how much you research or which information you choose to follow, it is up to you to make things happen. All the preparation in the world will not allow you to make it if you are not dedicated and determined. However if you have the drive, and truly want to live and work in the UK, these tips should help ensure your dreams are realized. If you do make it, be sure to drop us a line and tell us how it went. Or if you have worked in the UK before, leave some feedback and advice for others. Remember, we are all in this together.