Are you considering travelling to the United Kingdom to gain overseas life and work experience? At IABC Wellington’s recent event, attendees took part in an interactive session by video conference with a panel of speakers from London:
The four panellists shared thoughts around their own experiences moving to the UK, and gave some insights into how to crack the communications market.
London is an expensive place to live so be prepared for upfront costs.
You’re considered a more serious candidate when you have a UK address—it may pay to wait until you arrive before job-hunting.
You’ll want to hit the ground running so ensure your portfolio of work and list of references are ready to go before departure.
Not sure what time of the year go to the UK? Recruitment seasons tend to fall in January, September and October.
The scale of the communications job market much bigger in UK than New Zealand—it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are many interesting and diverse areas of communications to choose from. But you may find more success nabbing interviews in honing down your skills and finding jobs that fit you.
Due to the size of the UK, the media environment is very different to NZ. There is massive scope for niche markets and niche audiences. You also have the advantage of international audiences in the UK—many companies are multi-national.
The UK communications job market currently has lots of opportunities at junior and senior levels, but there is more competition for mid-level jobs. You will want management experience to get senior roles and bigger salaries. Internal communications roles often pay higher than external communications roles.
Be prepared to compromise if necessary – temporary roles are a good option, and freelancing pays well.
The UK communications job market is a generalist job market. You should target areas where you’ve got more experience and frame your CV to meet these requirements to increase your chances of getting a job. Also, focus your CV and cover letter to specific jobs.
CV format in UK is important—try to keep it concise and clearly show where your skillsets are. If possible copy someone else’s CV. Employers will want to see quantitative results if possible.
Recruiters are the ‘gatekeepers’ to getting a job. Target recruiters who specialise in the area you’re going to focus on. Make contact with several to increase the scope of your search.
Networking is important and registering for networking events will help to introduce you to more people. Try to go to networking events in the sector you want to get into.
Utilise all the contacts you have. Reach out to the people you know for their contacts as well, and let as many people as you can know you’re job hunting.
Good organisations for networking:
Be thorough with your research. Learn about the company and know the issues important to them. You could also research current trends for the profession as a reference point.
The UK generally has a formal working environment, especially big corporations who sometimes have strict dress codes, titles, structure etc. If possible, it is important to know this structure before interview.
Some of the terminology in the UK is different terminology—e.g. it’s PR, not media. Try to familiarise yourself with this by asking around or at networking events.
New Zealanders have a good rep in the UK—the two countries share similarities. New Zealanders are perceived as very direct, but be yourself.
Also, be very clear about the Visa that you are on, employers will appreciate this.
It’s business as usual for the moment as the government figures out what’s going on. So don’t let Brexit deter you from going to the UK.
The communications industry is in a unique position, in that change communications and culture communications will grow over the next 18 months. UK companies will need experts in these fields, and help with relocation policies and restructuring.