Receive insights on how to efficiently apply for a job in the UK and understand the differences compared with the French job market
First time & French job seekers in the UK
UK market situation & expectations
- The UK market relies heavily on outside recruitment agencies and is the highest generator of recruitment fees in Europe. There is a discrepancy in the competence of agencies, including lack of checks and inaccurate job descriptions.
- It is essential that you are conscious about your level in English. The expected standard is high, so ensure that you invest in perfecting both your spoken and written English.
- Employers look for the right cultural fit. Personality and experience are also key.
- The ‘old boy’ network (school, college or family connections) is still very prevalent.
- Activate your own network and make use of tools such as Linkedin wisely. We strongly advise you to invest in a Premium account on Linkedin that will maximise the number of connections.
- Take the time to study the marketplace and look at current job offers for the type of roles that interest you, so that you can adapt your presentation and CV accordingly. Equally, ensure that you benchmark the average salary for the type of jobs you are applying to.
Presentation, recruitment process & CV
- There is a reduction in amount of personal information on CVs, mostly in reaction to discrimination laws. It is, for example, now illegal to ask a candidate’s age.
- Heavy emphasis is put on recent responsibility, experience and soft skills (team player, keen sportsman, charity work) in addition to academic achievements.
- A recruiter in the UK expects the interviewee to come with a vision for his/her next career move, almost a personal business plan.
- French graduates seeking a first job in the UK should be aware that British interviewers are unlikely to quiz them about the content of their university courses or extra-curricular activities.
- Demonstrating initiative, self-confidence and leadership are important topics discussed at interviews.
- It is common for future colleagues/team members to meet/interview a candidate as part of the process.
- Identify the direction you want your career to take and articulate this very clearly in all communications. A potential employer will be drawn towards profiles that show ambition, focus and logic based on the candidate’s trajectory and experience to date.
- References are an important element of the recruitment process. Often given rapidly/briefly over the phone. Good employers/recruiters will use informal references from their network in addition to references provided by the candidate.
- Announce your professional objectives as a way to introduce yourself to a potential employer
- Use a clear layout in your CV and other communication (eg.cover letter)
- Work on the ‘sweet spot’- employers tend to pay the most attention to the upper middle of the first page, so display all key information in that section
- Include the name of the company, the dates of start and end as well as the location
- Make use of bullet points to describe your mission for each role
- Be concise and relevant in the choice of missions and achievements
- Add extra-curricular activities only if it makes sense for your profile (volunteering, associations, sport at high level…)
- Include awards and honours
- Include dissertation titles and specialisations specific to the UK
- Don’t use abbreviations, you need to explain acronyms if any
- Don’t allow spelling mistakes, ensure you make use of spelling tools and get someone else you trust to proof the content
- Don’t leave any gaps in your employment history unexplained
- Don’t include a photo
- Don’t provide inaccurate or misleading information