Moving to London Without a Job – Is it Possible?

So you want to move to London, but you don’t have a job lined up. Many people wonder if it’s possible to make such a move – and indeed many thousands of people before you have done just that.

But is it actually a sensible move? Sure, others might have done it, but were they successful? And if so, how did they go around finding employment once they got there?

Well, firstly, let’s say that it IS possible to move to the “Big Smoke” without first securing a job. As long as you put a few securities in place, it’s not the irresponsible move that some may think.

Of course, you’ll need to be the kind of person who relishes in a challenge, is prepared to make some allowances, and most importantly, has a buffer of ready cash to see you through those first few vital months.

We’re going to assume that you have the right to live and work in the UK, and if not an EU citizen, that you’ve applied for and gained the necessary visa.

So, with that in mind, let’s look at what else you’ll need to consider:

Do you have enough ready funds?

There’s no getting away from the fact that London is an expensive city in which to live. To be on the safe side, you should have at least 3 months money available to cover all costs of living until you start bringing in a regular wage.

Paying for a place to live will be your biggest outgoing. Renting a place is the most expensive option. If you want to rent even the smallest of apartments (known as a flat in the UK), you’ll be shelling out a minimum average of £237 per week, according to London Property Watch.

Another option available that costs less would be to stay in a hostel. These range from approximately £10 – £25 per night. You can find current deals on websites such as Hostel Bookers and Hostel World.

If you’re planning on staying in a hostel for an extended period of time, be sure to contact a few hostels direct and inform them of this. They may offer a discount for an extended stay.

The cheapest way to stay in London whilst you job hunt is to bunk with a friend or family member. If you’re lucky, they will only charge you a minimal fee – or even nothing at all.

Of course, you’re going to need to eat, and there are ways to keep your regular food shops as low as possible. Budget supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi can be found all around London.

Other options are to visit the main supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Morrison’s) at the times they discount food that’s reaching its sell by date.

This tends to be done at the same time each day, depending on the type of food. For example, meat and fish is done between 10:00-12:00, and anything freshly baked (bread, sandwiches, pies, etc.) after the lunchtime rush at around 16:00 – but you do need to be quick to snap these up.

Other tips are to get money off coupons in magazines, sign up for supermarket Twitter accounts (such as Tesco’s), and download apps such as Asda and Morrison’s to keep ahead of any special offers.

To live in London is definitely not cheap, but if you’re prepared to live without a few home comforts (and have a little bit of luck along the way), then allowing £1,000 per month – so £3,000 for your 3-month buffer – should suffice.

How to successfully job search

Okay, so you’re going to make the move. You’ve bought your ticket (which shouldn’t, by the way, be included in your 3 month buffer fund) and you’re ready to go.

Before you do, there are a few things you should ensure you’ve covered.

Firstly, bring some hard copies of your up to date CV. This should be the best it can possible be, listing all your relevant experience and assets.

Competition for jobs in London is fierce, so if you’re not experienced in putting together a great CV, spending a little on some professional advice is money well spent.

There are many companies offering such a service, such as Purple CV, CV Writers, and The CV Store. Be sure to keep a digital copy as well.

It’s advisable to keep this in The Cloud as well as on your laptop or tablet, just in case of damage or loss, and then you can access it from anywhere.

Register with the largest employment websites. Monster, Indeed, Total Jobs, and Job Site all list thousands upon thousands of jobs. You can also upload your CV and details so potential employers can search you out and contact you directly.

Once you’re in London, contact potential employers directly. Many of the larger companies have their own websites, such as the NHS, Hilton Hotels, BAE, and G4S. These are good places to start.

Other places to search are the large newspapers (both in print and online), such as The Guardian, The Sunday Times, and The Independent.

You should also join and have a wonderful LinkedIn profile. So many companies and headhunters now use this as a recruitment aid, and if you want to be in with a chance, you need to be on there.

And whilst we’re on the subject of social media – be very, very careful what you put on your personal Facebook account. Companies will search you out online, and if your Facebook feed has some, uhmmm, interesting photos or extreme views, this could be the nail in the coffin when it comes to being offered employment.

Be available, be smart, be flexible

One thing that will put any potential employer off is if you’re not available for an offered interview date. If you’re offered a slot – take it! Competition for jobs in London is high, and if you’re not able to attend, they’ll be another dozen people who’d jump at the chance to take your place.

Whatever clothes you don’t bring with you, be sure to being a decent interview outfit. For the guys this generally means a suit, with shirt and tie. For the girls, either a smart dress and jacket, or perhaps a trouser suit if you’re not one who wears dresses.

Team it with smart, clean shoes. There’s nothing that lets down an outfit more than scruffy shoes. Spending a bit of money on this is definitely a worthwhile investment.

You should also be flexible as to the kind of job you’ll accept, and the starting salary. There’s nothing wrong with starting at the bottom and working your way up.

Talent will always be spotted, and let’s face it, if you don’t like a job you can always use it as an income whilst you search for something else.

Remain positive

Finally, remain positive at all times!

Searching for a job in London can sometimes feel a little soul destroying, but keep at it. You WILL find a job in the city – it’s just a matter of continuing to plug away until that wonderful offer is presented to you.

It’s all about your “go get it” attitude – that’s what will make you stand out amongst the other candidates. After all, for you even to be considering moving to London without a job (something many wouldn’t even think an option), shows that you’ve got that certain something that many employers are looking for.

So go out and do it – it could well be the most successful move you’ll ever make in your life…