City Life, Moving, London

Navigating a Career in London

July 22, 2019 - Read time 9 mins

Whether you’ve been hustling in the capital for a while, or are just getting started, Lyvly is here to help you navigate every stage of your career journey here in London.

Your First Graduate Job in London 

You’ve finally finished University - congratulations! The good news is that graduate unemployment is at its lowest rate in 39 years, but the market is still highly competitive - especially if you’re hoping to land a job in London.

Of all graduates that move city after University, London is the most popular to move to, with almost a quarter of students heading to the capital after throwing their mortarboard.

Job sites such as MilkRound and Graduate Jobs are a good place to start and will help you get the lay of the land. 

It’s also important to consider exactly what you want to do after University and what’s the best route to your dream career. If you’re keen to join a large corporation, then graduate schemes are a brilliant (if not highly competitive) option.

But if you’ve missed the ‘milk rounds’ this year, you may have to wait until the next wave of hiring starts to grab a spot. 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that graduate schemes are your only option though. Startups and small businesses are a brilliant training ground for a hungry graduate who wants to make a real impact.

London Labour Market

By working in a fast-paced, agile environment you’ll wear many hats, and probably get involved in a lot of projects outside your job description. Progression within a small business can also be much faster than in larger organisations, it’s not unheard of to be managing people within your first few months, if you play your cards right.  

If you’re still trying to figure out what you want to do - or are keen to get some extra experience to bolster your CV - internships can be hugely beneficial. Websites such as The Intern Group list London specific opportunities and Inspiring Interns and Graduates have lots of resources to help you make sure you’re being paid and treated fairly.

A new job in a new city, straight out of university can be quite an overwhelming experience. Add in finding a place to live that's going to make your life easier, not more stressful, and there's a perfect cocktail for a difficult start to London life. Moving to a Lyvly home can give you a great start. They're always beautiful homes and we are all over London, which can remove the strain of a long commute. If you're after an ear to bend and unwind after a long day, your place will be full of housemates all going through the same thing. Strength in numbers is always a welcome position to be in!



If you're thinking of making the leap of moving to London, but not sure where will suit you best, check out our guide on where to live when you get here. 


Climbing the Ladder 

No matter how much you love your job, it’s expected - and totally normal - to want to move on at some point. Unless you’ve had a serious mosquito attack on your toes, itchy feet usually means that you’ve learnt all you can and are starting to get a bit bored. It’s time for the next step, to level up - and let’s face it, it’s time for a pay rise. 

When you reach this point in your career you have a couple of options. You can either jump ship and find a new adventure elsewhere or aim for a promotion or team move within your current employer. 

If you want to see what else is out there, job boards such as Indeed and Reed are a good place to start. You can get a feel for your options and understand how much certain jobs are paying, which can help you plan your escape. However, at this point in your career, it would be a mistake to depend solely on these generic sites.

Finding a good recruitment agent who knows the market well and has contacts within your sector is a priceless investment (and one that’s actually totally free!) They will be able to advise you on your next move and represent you to various organisations you’d like to work for.  

If you decide you want to stay put but take the next step, it’s time to get your schmooze on. The secret to climbing the ladder in your organisation is to network internally. Many people think that networking is all about meeting people from other businesses, but making connections within your current employer will go a long way in helping you navigate your way to the top.


Seeking out sponsors and mentors within your organisation will raise your profile and also mean you have senior people - other than your manager - keeping you in mind for promotions.

It might also be useful to take a leadership course, like those at the London Business School. Not only will this be great for your professional development, but it will show your employer that you’re serious about taking the next step in seniority. 

Moving jobs might also mean moving cities. Many people find that after starting their career in the city they come from, or where they went to University, they need to move to London in order to advance their opportunities.

Whilst impressive commercial hubs can be found nationwide, London still remains the epicentre of business, with many companies basing their headquarters down in the South East. 

If you are considering a move to London, Lyvly can take the stress out of finding a home. With all bills included, and flatmates organised on your behalf, you can focus on your professional endeavours, knowing all the domestic admin is being handled on your behalf.

A change in job can often mean a new office location and a new commute. Or you're staying in the same office, but with all those extra 0s on your salary, you can afford to live somewhere a little jazzier. Lyvly members are able to move anywhere within the community free of charge, so the homes are not just a stop off to something better. As your career progresses and moves, we are flexible enough to move and progress with you. 



A Change of Direction 

The concept of job satisfaction has become more pertinent than ever for the millennial and Gen Z generations. More and more people are eschewing tractional career paths and looking at more lateral moves or complete career changes that bring them more personal fulfilment. 

No matter where you started your professional journey, nowadays you needn’t be pigeonholed for your entire life. Maybe you took a corporate job for financial security but now realise your real passion lies in a more creative field. Or perhaps you trained for years to become a lawyer only to discover what you really wanted to be was a UX designer.

With hard work and dedication, you can take your career path in any direction - especially in a city as brimming with opportunities as London. 


If you’re considering a complete career overhaul, you may want to bolster your CV with extra skills that you aren’t getting from your full time job. There are plenty of online course sites such as Skillshare and Coursera that can teach you everything from podcasting to graphic design.

Multi-hyphen icon Emma Gannon has a great Skillshare course - all about helping you define success and design a career that gives your purpose - which we’d definitely recommend checking out if you’re trying to figure out your next move. 

Escape the City is also a brilliant website you should familiarise yourself with. The whole basis of the community is helping people get out of corporate life and find more fulfilling roles.

Not only do they post interesting jobs from unique businesses looking to attract people with transferable skills, but they also host events and courses specifically aimed at helping you navigate a career change. 

As a melting pot for creativity and innovation, London often attracts ambitious people looking to change their career and find real purpose in their work. If you’re moving to the capital to pursue your dream job, you’ll want to connect with like minded people who are equal parts ambitious and open minded.

When trying to navigate a career transition in a new city, meeting people who have followed a similar path can be priceless.  Lyvly’s membership committee aims to create a community of young people who share values and can inspire each other with their experiences. Not only are they amazing to live with, but as a diverse group, they may be able to help you gain perspective and opportunities.


Going out on your own

Entrepreneurial spirit is rife in the capital - a third of new businesses are started in London or the South East - which is no surprise when you consider its status as a hub for innovation. If you’ve navigated your career path to a point where you feel you’re ready to go out on your own, there really is no better place to be. 

The London startup scene is thriving, and whilst starting your own venture isn’t without its struggles, the city is well equipped to support you in your entrepreneurial ambitions. If it’s true that you’re never further than 6ft away from a rat when in London, then the same can also be said for cool co-working spaces.

From household name WeWork to smaller, more boutique spaces such as Fora and Runway East, there are new workplaces popping up monthly.

Joining online communities such as Enterprise Nation and the London Entrepreneur’s Network will also give you access to resources that will help you get your idea off the ground, as well as a whole group of likeminded small business owners that can offer guidance and support.

We Work Offices

Heading to sites such as Eventbrite and Meetup can also help you find relevant events in your sector, which are a great place for networking and knowledge building.  

Before taking the plunge it’s advisable to take good stock of your financial situation, and ensure you have enough savings to give you a security blanket should you hit hard times.

It's a good idea to find an accountant who can help you understand the financial implications of running your own business and London has plenty of affordable accountancy firms, such as Pearl that specialise in startup finances. 

Once you’ve got your office, network and finances in order, you’re all set to become the next Elon Musk - although hopefully with a healthier approach to work/life balance… 


Top tips to find a job in London

Whether you’re gunning for an internal promotion or looking for a complete career change, there are a few golden rules you should stick to if you want to maximise your chances of a successful job search.

  • Prepare for Interviews - If you thought the phrase ‘fail to prepare to fail’ was only about your A-Level history exams, you’re wrong. Before every interview, you should do as much research about the company as you can - and even try and LinkedIn stalk the people interviewing you.
  • Leverage your Network - There’s no better first impression that an introduction from a trusted source. Reach out to old connections and attend networking events to make new ones- you never know who could be the person to turn your career fortunes around.
  • Create Bespoke CVs - No two jobs are the same, which is why your CV can’t be a one size fits all situation. Whilst it might be time consuming, try to tailor your CV to each job description you’re applying to - even a slight tweak to your introductory statement can make a huge difference.
  • Spring Clean Your Social Media - Carefully curated channels can be a great way to cement your personal brand and let prospective employers see a bit of your personality. However, a rogue tweet or dodgy Instagram live can also ruin your professional opportunities. Marie Kondo your social media before embarking on your job search and make sure you’re putting out the right impression.


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