Metro columnist pounds the pavement in London
London, England, is alive. It constantly moves. It’s easy to lose yourself in the speed of things.
If you want anything, you have to move. Living in the capital city of the United Kingdom with a metro area population of 12-14 million means that competition is fierce. Unlike home, where I felt like a small fish in a large pond, I feel microscopic here.
It’s a wonder how many Londoners can cross the busy streets, filled with rushed cabs, buses, cyclists and commuters, unscathed. Time is very valuable. The perfect apartment, job or even lunch could be snatched out of your hands. It’s not uncommon here for apartments to be sold within hours of an ad placement. And every seemingly perfect job opportunity has many eager candidates ready for the competition.
With this rapid pace, one can accomplish a lot within a month. Some can manage to get an apartment, job and new relationship in record time. Although I may be slow in many areas, when it comes to jobs, I’m not too bad. I’ve been pursuing job opportunities recently and learning about the hiring process along the way.
I started by taking a long look at my CV. Redesigning and refreshing can make a big difference. A fresh clean look with a little rewording and editing can mean scoring the interview. It is customary to arrive early to a meeting by 15 minutes, since arriving late in London time could mean missing your opportunity for an interview altogether.
Also, the dress here is a lot different from that in Toronto. Considering that casual Saturday wear is impeccably co-ordinated among Londoners, dressing for an interview demands a clean, classic and professional look. As well, it isn’t uncommon to have to take a test of some kind during the interview process. From computer programs to editing, be prepared to back up your claims.
The right energy you bring to a meeting can affect whether or not you get a call back. It is important to be enthusiastic and energetic, so try not to give off any nervous energy. I have found that being comfortable, confident and honest can change the dynamic of the meeting from an “interview” to a professional dialogue.
As in any big city, if you’re chasing down top jobs, being shy and modest about your achievements isn’t the best way to go. I receive better reactions when I acknowledge my past achievements and I talk honestly without being boastful. Most interviewers are interested in you because of your accomplishments, so downplaying them won’t help.
Remembering to be honest and authentic is most important. Do not get caught up in your weaknesses, or what you think your competition can do. As small as I feel in this city at times, I can’t help but wonder if my being here has shifted this ever-moving city just a little bit.