Looking For A Job In Manchester

As you know now, I have been crazy enough to have made a decision to move to Manchester from Riga. Just like anyone else, I need a proper full-time job to support myself, therefore one of the first tasks on my “Manchester project” list was to prepare myself for a job-hunting mission.

I am definitely not the first Latvian to ever move to Manchester. The opposite – as far as I know, there are quite a few of them around here. But I think my motivation and reasons for the move might have been different.

When the economic crisis hit Latvia and unemployment soared, thousands of people left Latvia between 2008 and 2010. Quite a few still leave each year. They all are looking for a better life, for better-paid jobs or any at all to support their families.

I think, in a way, you could say that I am also looking for a better life, but that wouldn’t entirely be fair. Back in Latvia I never had any obstacles to make one. I am well educated, I have a supporting and loving family, a small bunch of cool friends. And the career I had there always allowed me to do what I love the most, earn some money, and continuously grow and learn.

Sounds quite amazing, right? But I think I have always wanted to see more, reach higher, challenge myself.

Why the long intro? So you would understand the next steps I took. I never looked for a job below what I have been doing up until now. I am an experienced professional and I was willing to prove my skills in Manchester. I didn’t want to find just any job to pay the bills, I wanted a good job – one that I loved and one that paid well enough so I could enjoy the life outside work.

Where Did I Begin?

I have described quite thoroughly on my LinkedIn Pulse post how to look for a job in another country and how to exploit LinkedIn for that. Here I want to talk about the “side effects” and give some practical info as well.

What I began with was extensive research on the following things:

  • Where do I look for jobs? I did start off with LinkedIn only, as I already had a profile there, and it gave me good insights into the companies in Manchester and helped with the research. But don’t just focus on that, as there are quite a few job sites out there. Here’s a few I have used:
  • What jobs could I apply to? I am a digital marketer and have worked in different agencies managing various projects and client accounts. I needed to know how my experience and skills measure up to what is “on offer” in Manchester. I went through hundreds of job ads to make a shortlist of my desired positions. At first, the list was broader, but I soon realized that it’s better to be specific and realistic. It is easy to get desperate and send out CVs to just any position, but it’s not worth your while. If you’re not really suitable for the role, you won’t get that interview anyway.
  • How much could I earn? While looking over the ads, I jotted down all the salary bands I came across. Soon enough I had a number in mind – one that seemed good for me. It is also useful to honestly talk about this topic with the recruiters you get in touch with. They are there to help, especially if you’re new in town. Another thing that might be useful for you – Net Salary Calculator. In the UK they usually disclose the gross annual number, while you might want to know how much you’ll really earn on a monthly basis.

How To Get Noticed?

I touched this topic in the above mentioned LinkedIn post, but in short – you have to let people know you’re there. Whether it’s Manchester or any other city. If you have a LinkedIn profile (if you don’t, I suggest you make one right about now!), change your location to your desired city and just start applying for jobs.

You can go the easy way – simply applying for specific positions – or take that extra step and explore other ways. From my experience, it is worth it if you find recruiters who work with your type of positions and just get in touch with them.

How to get to recruiters? When you go through job sites, you’ll see many of them with all their contacts. The same applies to LinkedIn. If they are good at their job and you are a good candidate, they will line up interviews for you pretty soon.

When To Start?

As I was traveling to Manchester a few times throughout the summer before the move, I started my active job search pretty early. First, I did that to explore the situation and do my research (as described above). Secondly, I wanted to start working as soon after the move as possible, so I don’t run out of all my savings.

I am sure it is possible to land a job in another country before the move and not even meeting in person, however, that wasn’t my case. There are a few factors to take into account:

  • Job type – I have heard stories of people receiving job offers while they are still in their home country, so that is a real possibility. Especially for developers! I know quite a few who had landed a job after a phone or Skype interview. However, some roles require good communication skills, and the only way to really test it is to meet you in person. So I guess, any marketing jobs will need you to be there, while positions with less human interaction could do without it.
  • Timing – recruiting is a seasonal process. I have seen it myself and it was confirmed by the recruiters themselves – summer is a slow and lazy period for new positions, while September comes with new roles and people back from vacations and ready to get the process going.
  • Industry – activity in some industries is determined by the allocated budget (marketing!), and if there are resources left in the last quarter of the year, it might result in new projects and new open roles. Loads of businesses also depend on seasonal holidays and celebrations. Again an example from marketing – pre-Christmas time will always be full-on and might require new workforce.

Lessons I Learned

Whatever you are aiming for, whatever your expectations are, it’s always better if you try than wonder whether you should or not. Even though you fail (or let’s be more positive – if you don’t succeed), it will be a learning lesson for you. You will know where you stand, what your options are, and how to move on from there.

Having said that, you should also take it easy on yourself. You’re embarking on the challenge of your life, and it takes a lot of energy. You’re new to the situations, you’re new to the country and the city, so it is ok not to know anything, misunderstand something and not reach your goals with the first tries. Give yourself a break once in a while and remind yourself that you’re awesomely brave and courageous. It would be difficult for anyone, and you’re no exception. Embrace the experience!

I’ve had thoughts like what if they don’t like me being a foreigner, what if my experience doesn’t stack up to locals’… But I soon got rid of these thoughts, as here in the UK and especially in Manchester it’s difficult to feel like an alien, a foreigner. The mix of cultures is unimaginable! I’m just adding to the mix. And as long as I’m being realistic about myself and the situation, I don’t have to worry about this at all.

Looking for a job sometimes is a full-time job. No kidding! It takes so much time if you want to do it properly and actively. New positions appear each day, so you have to look through job sites few times a day. Then you have to prepare your application, send it over, communicate with recruiters, arrange phone calls, meetings, interviews. And it all takes a lot of energy, and, to be honest, might feel quite depressive at times.

Another important thing to keep in mind when looking for a job in another country – be true to yourself! It’s not just them who need a good employee to fill a vacancy. It’s also you who needs a good employer and an exciting job that pays well. Don’t go overboard sending applications to just any roles. It might land you more interviews per se, but it won’t help you land the best job. The best job will be the one you get excited about, not the first one you get offered.

Note: This post originally appeared on Expat in MCR (expatinmcr.com) blog which has since been renamed to Dream Chaser (dreamchaserwrites.com).

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