What do you want from your professional OE?
You’re reading this blog because your career is a very important part of your life. You want to take the next steps up the career ladder, but you can also see the benefits and the value of having an overseas experience on your CV. You would also love to take some trips along the beaten European tourist tracks (or the not so beaten tracks) without wandering off your chosen career path. Before you get too excited, pack your case and pack in your job, there are a few things to make sure you are clear about.
First of all, planning ahead might seem like an obvious thing to say, but many young professionals overlook very important steps in their plans that they simply didn’t know about. Your OE will probably have a two-year limit, depending on your visa restrictions so you’ll want to make the most of it. That means doing as much prep as you can before you leave home and setting yourself up for a productive start once you arrive in the UK.
What does your ideal UK job look like?
Can you picture it? It’s important for you to decide what job criteria will tick as many boxes as possible. You’re moving a long way from home. It’s important to be really honest with yourself about what you want from your OE. Your career might be a central part of the experience you’re looking for, but a job can’t be everything. You want other things as well. An ideal job can soon lose its allure if you have to make too many compromises to take it up.
So, grab a notebook and get ready to start your wish list. Start by making a list of priorities. Which of the following would come out as your number 1 priority?
Nature of work you want to explore?
Ease of travel?
Lifestyle and interests?
If Nature of work is your number 1
You should begin your research by looking at where your ideal job is centred. In the UK, certain areas are known as the centres of certain professions. It’s fairly obvious that London has one of the most prestigious financial districts in the world. But did you know that Bristol is a hub for the logistics industry? Or that the BBC now has a large regional centre in Salford, Manchester? For a more indepth look which areas are better for your particular nature of work take a look at the How to know which UK City is the best one for you blog.
You should also have a look at what skills you need to upskill in to get that ideal job. Do you need to branch out in your current role to a new project? Do you need to do some short courses to fit that criteria? Doing research on the roles available in the UK should give you an idea of what you should be upskilling in and what you should be getting experience in.
If Earning Potential is your number 1
It’s no secret that London is where the big money is earned in the UK. If making loads of cash is your motivation, the chances are you’re already working in finance, technology, corporate law or another typically higher paid profession and London could well be where the most opportunity, and your higher earning potential is. On the flip side an important thing to consider, however, is that while the wages in London are higher, everything else can be more expensive too. It’s worth taking a look at other major UK cities to check out the regional opportunities. You might get paid 10% less in Liverpool than you would in London, but you’ll probably pay 30% less in living costs.
If Ease of Travel is your number 1
If this is your number one priority, you’ve probably been checking out European breaks from the UK even more than you’ve been looking at the London recruitment websites. There are many airports in the UK so if you want to take every opportunity you can to see Europe, it’s wise to base yourself somewhere that won’t add to your travel time. London clearly has outstanding connections to Europe and beyond, with 5 airports within easy reach from the city, as well major rail stations including the Eurostar service. Equally, some of the best travel deals leave from Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester or even Edinburgh. Also, if you base yourself in one of these more centrally located cities the whole of the British Isles is very accessible too. High-speed rail links have made quite northern locations attractive to London commuters, with many regional hubs around an hour by train.
If your Lifestyle and interests is your number 1
What makes your life what it is? If you’ve chosen lifestyle as your number one priority, it’s the key to your happiness and there is no point in living somewhere that means you have to completely abandon what you love to do. The chances are, you’ve chosen your job at home because it fits around aspects of your lifestyle and you should aim to do the same in the UK. There is so much to do in the UK that whatever your lifestyle choices are, they’ll be plenty to keep you busy. You’re coming to a country that is nose deep in history, art, music and world cuisine. You’ll be amazed at how varied your choices will be from city to city. Take your pick!
Once you have decided what you really want from your professional OE, you have the foundation to start building a plan of your next steps – but you absolutely don’t have to do that on your own.
MyOE has for the last 20 years been helping thousands of Australian and New Zealand ambitious professionals plan and accomplish a fulfilling and successful career-boosting overseas experience to the UK. Join one of our Free Webinars live from our Australian born experts in London who can share with you their personal experience of taking an OE to the UK, and answer any questions you may have; or download their complimentary MyOE handbook for more insight into all you need to know to help you plan your all-important next steps.