What was your initial approach to finding a job in the UK after moving from the US?

My initial approach was to apply directly to law firms and I had applied for roughly 60 to 70 roles. However, this approach was unsuccessful and any responses that I received tended to be the standardised mass volume rejection emails with no feedback.

How did your approach change?

My success in finding new roles both externally and internally whilst in New York had come from networking and so I turned to this approach again. I was advised to post my CV on a job board and speak to recruiters, which I had refrained from doing due to my past experiences in not finding them particularly helpful when in New York

What was the result of being more open with recruiters?

I was sceptical of speaking to recruiters and, unfortunately, my first experience in London was much the same. I met with an agency and was introduced to multiple recruiters who I spent 5-10 minutes with and I left slightly deflated as my previous experience was downplayed and I was told to re-adjust my expectations in the calibre of role and salary I was seeking. In the subsequent weeks there was little to no contact from the agency, which made the whole process seem very transactional in nature. I then spoke to two other agencies who both specialised in the legal sector and met with a consultant from Totum the next day. Despite my initial scepticism I was pleasantly surprised.

Road to success

 

What surprised you about the meeting with Totum?

There was an enthusiasm during the meeting to listen to what I had done and wanted going forward. My expectations weren’t downplayed and I was told about two roles, both of which I was excited about. What really pleased me was the consultant (Dee Deol) didn’t just go over the job role and regurgitate the job spec but told me specifically about the team members, gave me an overview of their backgrounds, where I would sit in the team and where I could potentially progress within the firm/team. There seemed to be a close relationship between Totum and CMS as Totum’s knowledge was very detailed and Dee was able to say why CMS would be specifically interested in me and what I could bring to the role and firm. There was an excitement from his behalf, which was really refreshing to see after the disappointing meeting with the previously mentioned agency. The consultant from Totum even met with me for a coffee before my interview, which was a nice touch.

How was the process with CMS?

I was invited to interview very quickly after my CV was submitted by Totum and my experience at CMS could not have been better. There was a video on the CMS website regarding the role, which was very informative and I thought was a good introduction to anyone researching the firm. I was warmly welcomed by reception and met with the Recruitment Advisor who engaged in conversation in a professional but informal manner whilst we walked to the interview room. This helped to put me at ease and gave a really good impression of the firm as welcoming and interested in me. The interview itself again was very warm and I was given lots of information; by the end I had no doubt that I wanted to work here and be part of the CMS team. After the interview the Recruitment Advisor again walked me back to the escalators and chatted, which made me feel that not only would this be a great place for my career but also the culture at CMS appealed to me.

How did the process proceed after your interview?

CMS moved very quickly and made an offer within 24 hours which I duly accepted. This was a stark contrast to my experience in New York where the entire process took over three months. This made me very motivated and I was keen to repay their enthusiasm for me to start. The entire process from start to finish was concluded within a week and even post offer acceptance, CMS were informative about any questions I had and made sure I was ready for my first day.

Recommendations

 

What tips would you give to someone coming from the US or even abroad to London looking for employment?

Make sure your CV is up to standard and has been reformatted to UK specifications as the US CV format is different. In hindsight, I would now say speak to recruiters but pick a handful that you deal with and make sure they are specialists not just in the field but also sector. When speaking to recruiters I would strongly urge people to meet them and not just speak to them over the phone prior to sending your CV. This will ensure you know it’s a good fit and you are not just a number ticking target, which is how I felt during my meeting with the first agency, which was very impersonal. The meeting with Totum was not very salesy and was more about getting to know me while giving me the chance to get to know the consultant as well.

Huge thanks to Stephen for sharing his experience and advice on finding a role within the UK. If you are interested in roles like Stephen’s please contact [email protected].

Or if you are interested in taking part in a Q&A to share your story, we would love to hear from you. You can contact us at [email protected] or follow us on LinkedIn.

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