How long does it take to find a good job in the UK?

How to Find a Job in UK


The quick answer is simple. It’s down to you. In our many years of helping skilled professionals with their overseas experiences we have seen everything from people that have accepted a job before they arrive after a Skype interview, through to others that have taken 2-3 months to get a job – with pretty much every other scenario in between. The reason for such varying experiences is generally down to the individual, how marketable they have made themselves and their advance planning, organisation and timing.

The challenge of getting a job really has to be considered in the context of what you want from your overall OE.  The two biggest factors to consider are 1) your savings and 2) whether you want to do some travel prior to landing in the UK or wait until you’re fully settled before travelling (which is of course made more easy with the flexibility and generous pay rates of a professional contractor).

If your savings account is looking nice and healthy, you’ve allowed for a few months travel in Europe, and perhaps have a couple of months rent in your pocket for landing in the UK, then you’re going to be in the comfortable position of being able to ‘pick and choose’ a little.  This clearly is the ideal as it allows you to get established where you want to live, and gives you the time to consider a number of different roles and options without feeling the pressure of having to take the first thing that comes along. It also gives you the time to build your professional and personal network, making the scope of your potential job pool even bigger.

If your savings account is looking a little low, resulting in a more pressing need for a job….don’t worry, there is still plenty you can do to get prepared.  Here are some top hints and tips to get you started:


Most good employers are at pains not to lose their good people (you!) and clearly your loyalty will increase significantly if they can help you with your OE.  Ensure that you have you fully explored how your existing company, and any sister/allied companies might be able to help.  It is proven that a successful professional OE can enhance an employees skills, education, initiative and confidence – so why wouldn’t they embrace that?  It is also a bonus to be able to relax in the knowledge that you a have a job to return to once you have completed your OE adventure.


The power of Linkedin and Facebook can really help here.  Consider creating a high impact advert for yourself, with some creative ways to launch yourself on social network.  Then make sure you follow everything up so as to create a great first impression. Who knows where that will lead?


A good CV is absolutely vital as your first chance to sell yourself, in a competitive market, to your future employers and make you stand out from the crowd as the very best candidate for the job, whilst potentially not even being in the country yet.  Employers are interested in what you know, what you’ve done and how your skills and experience can be of most benefit to them. If you need some assistance on making yourself stand out from the crowd using your CV then MyOE can talk you through what works best here in the UK.


Every relationship you make on your job search is an important one. Becoming really good at getting back to people promptly.  Leaving a very positive experience is essential as it will have a huge affect on people’s appetite to employ you and/or refer you.


Identify 20 organisations that are similar to yours in the UK and use Linkedin to identify some key people; the equivalent to your existing manager, their manager, the HR manager.  Then do your research on the company and what they’re trying to achieve and how your skills and experience could help. Then reach out to them and go for it.


It’s well worth you building a picture of the recruitment challenges you might face.  Are you going to work with a number of larger recruitment agencies where there will be a broad range of jobs, but also a great deal of competition?  If so, what can you do to make yourself stand out? Are you ready to make job hunting your new life when you get to London? If you’ve got more specific niche skills (such as perhaps a banking software senior architect) it’s likely you’ll want to build a good personal relationship with a smaller number of relevant recruiters, and it would be worth building those up a month or so before you leave home.


Contract work in a different country offers you the fantastic opportunity to gain work experience of other cultures and working styles internationally. You may well know your industry inside out at home but how does it compare to the UK? The earlier you can start your research and get a feel for your industry, how it differs and the types of role you would enjoy/be most appropriate for/get the best out of, the better.


The London job market may be booming with 10 times more jobs on offer than the next best area of the country but, of course, there’s a lot more competition for those jobs.  It may be with your particular skills and experience you could be better suited to a company outside of London and, in turn, find that your salary goes a great deal further if you live away from the city. For more of an insight of the different UK Cities and what they have to offer from an industry and salary perspective refer to How to know which UK City is the right one for you.


Once you’ve prioritised the area you’d like to base yourself in the UK, it’s time to focus on the type of job you would really like to do once you’re there. If you are a graduate with good experience in your profession then you are going to be a great candidate for recruitment, but it is also worth looking at which of your skills are in the most demand when considering how to position yourself most effectively.   For example if you are in IT (architect, analyst, system designer, programmer, software developer) or maybe a medical practitioner then you are likely to find it easier to get a job, as these occupations are all in short supply in the UK. Click here to see the up-to-date official list of shortage jobs in the UK.


You have heard the phrase, it’s not what you know but who you know!  This is so true in the UK, as so many jobs are filled from word of mouth before they even get the chance to be advertised.  Look through your Linkedin network and ask for introductions to people in your field, look for relevant networking events in your area, find groups set up for like-minded people, come to a MyOE party night – you will find that using your connections really can be the most effective of all the job search strategies.  An added bonus can be that networking can also often involve lots of fun events, drinking and socialising – so you can see why it is one of our favourite methods of finding a job!


Ideally, by the time you arrive in the UK, you will have a few interviews with recruitment agencies set up – but if you’re planning on taking a European trip before you arrive, then that is naturally going to be more of a challenge.  Focusing on finding a great job whilst admiring the beauty of Rome is quite the multi-task. Be prepared for the fact that you may need to take some temporary work in the very short term to take the pressure off, with a view to spending more time once you have arrived to find your ideal role using some of the hints and tips listed above.  Equally, another great way to find a job is working within any organisation for a few months, networking, proving yourself, and therefore highlighting yourself for roles internally that better suit your skills and pay potential!

So in summary, understanding how long it takes to get a job in the UK really is a reflection on what you want from your OE, and how prepared you are both financially and mentally.  If you plan correctly, network furiously and market yourself well there is no reason why you can’t get the exact job that you are after, exactly when you want it!

Need help with a plan?  Why not download our free helpful handbook and build one.  Or get in contact with us in one of our many offices in Australia, New Zealand or the UK for an informal chat and sharing of our own personal OE experiences and networks.

UK Move Handbook
Now that you are prepared to embark on your job search, this handy guide can guide you through all the other elements you need to consider to get yourself OE ready!

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