International candidates looking for a role in account management in an agency will find it hard. It’s a tough market even for those who do have a significant amount of marketing experience. But you must be positive; many great agencies would love to have you, as long as you have some account management experience within an agency environment.
Advice from international jobseekers
I asked my international candidates to share their experiences so that you can avoid the problems they had, and I will give you some of my suggestions as to how you can succeed in London’s competitive market. If candidates don’t know anyone in London then this in itself is an obstacle. So where should you start in this situation?
Sarah from Dubai:
“It was a Catch-22 situation. No one would even consider me, even for an interview, because I didn’t have an NI number and Jobcentre Plus refused to give me one until I showed them evidence that I had job interviews lined up. I didn’t know anybody in the UK who worked in Advertising, so I couldn’t get advice. So I just Googled various search terms – ‘advertising jobs’, ‘jobs’, ‘employment agencies’, ‘Top 10 advertising agencies’, etc. Also, I visited the websites of global agencies that I knew of to check if they had vacancies”.
Applying directly is what got Sarah her job in the end, so it does work!
Rupert from South Africa:
“I had no UK experience - the recruiters that I had contact with saw this as a major disadvantage, and did not go very far to help me. I was under or overqualified. When I applied for an Account Manager role, I was told that I was not (UK) experienced enough, but when I then requested for a more junior role to get started somewhere, I was told that I was overqualified! The working limit on my Visa – as I came on a working holiday visa, stringent regulation stated that I could hold the same job for more than one year. Therefore, permanent roles were out of the question. Freelance roles were out, again, because of the lack of UK experience”.
23 year old Katerina from Poland (six months experience as an Account Executive):
“Regarding my job search in the UK, I started to send the applications through websites like Monster and Total Jobs. I didn’t know anybody I could ask for a help, so most of these things I learnt by myself, simply using the internet. As I was learning the UK recruitment market, I noticed some websites that specialised in marketing and advertising i.e. Brand Republic and IPA”.
Key things to do when moving to London:
- Look at Brand Republic, www.onlymarketingjobs.com and www.marketingweek.co.uk to apply for roles and find out which recruiters are featuring there.
- Another word of advice, only find recruitment agencies that specialise purely in the creative industry. There is a lot of generalist agencies out there, but will not necessarily have the roles you are after and will try and offer you something you don’t want.
- The best ways to find a role in London is too find a recruiter you trust who is going to work very hard on your behalf to make sure you get an interview. Make sure you try and get a meeting with your recruiter. You will have 70% more chance of getting a role if they understand you and what your strengths are.
- Make sure you have a strong cv. This is what will get you an interview in marketing. Having a good structure and making sure that important information is easily visible is the key to a successful CV.
- You can also get involved with social media where clients post jobs on www.linkedin.co.uk and www.twitter.co.uk or get involved with networking events such as www.meetup.com
- Apply to agencies directly – you can get list of agencies from Google or The IPA www.ipa.co.uk
Additional challenges for junior candidates
Challenges for the more junior candidates can be that much greater. Apply for internships or a work placement at a creative agency for two weeks for free, (if you can afford this).This will give you a real advantage to show you have gone out there to differentiate yourself from the rest of the graduates.
Do you think you are looking in the right place and doing everything you can to find a job?? Have you had a second opinion regarding the layout of your CV so its suits the UK market? If not, go and do it now…
You may get knocked and rejected a lot in the marketing industry when looking for a role but you must keep trying. London is a super place to work and to have a great social life so keep trying! Make sure you have done all the things I have talked about and it will come with time and determination.
Rupert from South Africa has been using my tips and this has helped him to look for a job. I am pleased to say he is interviewing through me, and hopefully will be employed very soon!!!