A survival guide to setting up in London

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It is coming almost 3 months since I landed in London and I already feel like I have a wealth of knowledge, I confess I even have given advice to people visiting!

However I do find a common theme for and struggle for people like myself who have moved to a new country. Therefore I felt it was my duty to give a my tips and recommendations on how to make a smooth transition into the London life.

Below my list is complied of all the necessary requirements you need to be fully functional in the UK.

  • Bank Account – When you get here, get into a place as quickly as you can and then get your bank in your country to post your bank statement to your new address. Banks here in the in UK want proof of address, they will not accept anything that is photocopied or emailed. Tenancy agreements work, even your new job could possibly give you a formal letter stating that you are working for them. Otherwise this will be a painful process, believe me it took me 2 months (I do confess I didn’t want to rely on getting my bank to send my statement over)
  • NI Number (National Insurance Number) – apply for this straight away when you land, go to the government website find the phone number and call to apply. They will send you an application in the post, which you fill out and send back. Then they will call you once the information is processed and book you a meeting with them 3 weeks after the phone call. If you don’t have a NI number when you start working you can use a P46 form which will give you a temporary tax code. I would like to point out that the temporary tax code charges are higher than what you would have with your own. Don’t worry your job will reimburse you once you have your official NI number

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  • Oyster Card – Unless you want to pay for a horrendous amount of travel costs, this card will be your best friend. You can purchase it as the ticket machines for £5 and then you are away laughing. You can also get away with debit or credit cards that have the pay wave options, but I am old fashioned and I like to have a separate card for travel.
  • Sim Card – you can get a prepay card on arrival, though it is quite costly. Once you have a bank account get onto a contract, they have better deals and some will have good discounts on mobile phones as well.
  • Travel AppsTube Map, Bus Checker and City Mapper. Also if you run out of data like I do, I use the London A-Z map book that can be purchased from Newsagents or Tesco’s.
  • Supermarkets – Wherever you land up living, you need to know what supermarkets are. Unlike in New Zealand where we have 3 big chains, there are quite a few to select from here in the UK. A few examples are: Sainsbury’s, Tescos, Waitrose, Asda, Whole Foods and Lidl just to name a few. So if you hear of any of these place near where you live, woop woop! food time!
  • Club Cards – Whatever store you go into and find yourself coming back again and again, invest in their club/store cards! The deals sometimes only apply to members, so keep an eye out for them and sign up.

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  • Discover the Market Places and High Street Shops – if you are like me and land in the UK after travelling for a long period of time, then you are definitely not going to have any work clothes to do interviews in. For me I have looked in charity shops, market stalls and some high st stores. Research, ask around and you will quickly discover there is so many options that you will jump for joy. My greatest discovery was New Look their clothes are affordable and for me there are some really nice work tops that I quickly snapped up.
  • Attend Networking Events – Use sites like Eventbrite to find events on that are free or that you know you would meet like minded individuals. I recently went to my first one and it was amazing! meet so many wonderful and talented people that I can’t wait to do it all over again.

Well there you have it, my survival guide to setting up in London!

I hope this helps,

To living abroad!

Zoe

 

Images credit: Superdwayne, Maria Molinero and Shane Walsh

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Recap of the International Stadium

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I found this sign hanging in a second hand shop! Absolutely curled over with laughter because its so true!!

I thought I would do a quick recap of what’s come out under The International Stadium series!

First was my post on why work abroad? This is where I gave a pros and cons list about living in a different country. Next was what do you do once you have landed in your new country, from finding a place to stay right through to looking for a job. After that I posted about how to nail your cv, because really you want a fabulous job to go with your fantastic new country! Also I have talked about what do in an interview and what industries you shouldn’t write off as possible career opportunities.

I really hope you have been enjoying the series so far! We are well over halfway there! So what you should expect to see in the upcoming post are style advice and possibly ideas and expectations from real bosses.

So please do let me know if there is anything else you might be hankering to know and I might just add it to the series!

Much love and Magic

Zoe

The Interview

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I believe if you ask anyone about what makes them nervous and uncomfortable in a business situation a lot of them would say the job interview. Now I have had my fair share of being the interviewer and being the potential candidate. There are a few important things that everyone should do when prepping and attending an interview. What I am going to give you is straight forward advice and tips to help you express who you are in an interview and hopefully this will help you get you picked. This is broken down into pre interview and during the interview, now remember these are enhancements in which you can use to help make the whole interview process much more fluid.

Pre Interview

1. Research the company and I mean go to their website read their mission, values and what type of business they are. Also make sure you understand what they are trying to achieve in their industry, if you don’t do this you are going to look silly. I mean why apply for a job if you have no idea what the company is and what they are trying to achieve?! Plus read the job description!

2. Attire – Women, modestly dressed please; contain cleavage and anything that makes you look like you are going out on the town. This doesn’t mean you are restricted, go onto fashion sites like Cue or Max plus use pinterest if you want to add a bit of uniqueness. Also make up and hair to be well presented, people will understand if you came by public transport and your hair is a little out of place.
Men – Clean shaved or well maintained facial hair, hair brushed, a collared shirt if you want to use a tie it is up to you, plus dress pants and make an effort to make sure everything is ironed!

3. Have some questions for your interviewer, even if they are basic like what are your expectations of a potential candidate? Does this position have any flexible and chances to improve productivity?

Once you have these points sorted you are ready to head out for your interview

The Interview

1. Take your time! What I am saying is listen to the question the interviewer asks you and then take 2-4 second to think about a reply. This may seem like a quick moment but its not, it is just the right amount of time to arrange your answer and when I say seconds I am mean 1 thousand and 1, 1 thousand and 2. That 2-4 seconds is a perfect amount, plus you look thoughtful and attentive.

2. Think of cue to give when you need more time to answer their questions, I use the line oh that is a great question! Then I pause and go over how I am going to reply to it, cues help you indicate to the interviewer that you need some extra time to answer. But don’t do this will every question, otherwise everyone gets bored and irritated.

3. Honesty is the best policy, if you do not have any experience in a certain area say it! What you might lack in one area you will make up in another, all companies have training days and in house teaching to help you get right on track. Remember companies take on candidates not only for their qualifications but for their personality and drive.

4. Enhance your good points, I always talk about the strengthen in my communication. So I mention that I work very well with other and are not afraid to speak up when something is going wrong. Talk with friends and family if you are not too sure what your good points are, you might be surprised and enlightened by the response.

5. If you can use your interviewer’s name, even if its at the beginning or the end of the interview. Acknowledging the interviewer’s name shows that you have taken note of your surroundings and also shows your basic memory skills.

6. Smile, breathe and relax into your chair. This strengthens your impression of confidence and professionalism.

There you have it, now smash your interview!

Zoe

The Interview Cheat Sheet

A photo by Rodion Kutsaev. unsplash.com/photos/IJ25m7fXqtk

I believe if you ask anyone about what makes them nervous and uncomfortable in a business situation a lot of them would say the job interview. Now I have had my fair share of being the interviewer and being the potential candidate. There are a few important things that everyone should do when prepping and attending an interview. What I am going to give you is straight forward advice and tips to help you express who you are in an interview and hopefully this will help you get you picked. This is broken down into pre interview and during the interview, now remember these are enhancements in which you can use to help make the whole interview process much more fluid.

Pre Interview

1. Research the company and I mean go to their website read their mission, values and what type of business they are. Also make sure you understand what they are trying to achieve in their industry, if you don’t do this you are going to look silly. I mean why apply for a job if you have no idea what the company is and what they are trying to achieve?! Plus read the job description!

2. Attire – Women, modestly dressed please; contain cleavage and anything that makes you look like you are going out on the town. This doesn’t mean you are restricted, go onto fashion sites like Cue or Max plus use pinterest if you want to add a bit of uniqueness. Also make up and hair to be well presented, people will understand if you came by public transport and your hair is a little out of place.
Men – Clean shaved or well maintained facial hair, hair brushed, a collared shirt if you want to use a tie it is up to you, plus dress pants and make an effort to make sure everything is ironed!

3. Have some questions for your interviewer, even if they are basic like what are your expectations of a potential candidate? Does this position have any flexible and chances to improve productivity?

Once you have these points sorted you are ready to head out for your interview

The Interview

1. Take your time! What I am saying is listen to the question the interviewer asks you and then take 2-4 second to think about a reply. This may seem like a quick moment but its not, it is just the right amount of time to arrange your answer and when I say seconds I am mean 1 thousand and 1, 1 thousand and 2. That 2-4 seconds is a perfect amount, plus you look thoughtful and attentive.

2. Think of cue to give when you need more time to answer their questions, I use the line oh that is a great question! Then I pause and go over how I am going to reply to it, cues help you indicate to the interviewer that you need some extra time to answer. But don’t do this will every question, otherwise everyone gets bored and irritated.

3. Honesty is the best policy, if you do not have any experience in a certain area say it! What you might lack in one area you will make up in another, all companies have training days and in house teaching to help you get right on track. Remember companies take on candidates not only for their qualifications but for their personality and drive.

4. Enhance your good points, I always talk about the strengthen in my communication. So I mention that I work very well with other and are not afraid to speak up when something is going wrong. Talk with friends and family if you are not too sure what your good points are, you might be surprised and enlightened by the response.

5. If you can use your interviewer’s name, even if its at the beginning or the end of the interview. Acknowledging the interviewer’s name shows that you have taken note of your surroundings and also shows your basic memory skills.

6. Smile, breathe and relax into your chair. This strengthens your impression of confidence and professionalism.

There you have it, now smash your interview!

Zoe

Photography by Rodin Kutsaev

How to nail your CV!

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Photo from StockPholio

This is always the topic of conversation for anyone who is job seeking, I spoke briefly in my other post about what not to include in your CV and how you can structure it. But for this International Stadium series I am going to go more in depth as to how to make your CV scream who you are as a person. Sadly I have been through a lot of CV’s to the companies I have worked for and I found myself almost yelling at the piece of paper “WHY?!” I hope I can give you some good examples. So without further or do here is How you can nail your CV!

CV

 

Example from Pinterest

1. Make sure your grammar is sound, if the language you are using for your CV is your second or third language get some to proof read it. Otherwise the person reading it will get a distinct impression that you do not have a sound understanding of the language.

2. Expand your job descriptions of previous employment, what I mean is that don’t just state the type of work i.e. diary management, get expressive. For example: In this role I managed the diary of the general manager and also assisted ensuring that other staff members of the team had the correct information. Did you see what I did there? I get the reader an impression of exactly how it was done. I am not saying that you are dumbing it down, but more you are showing that you are effective in not on diary management but communications too. Note: don’t go overboard, if you had quite a large variety of tasks selection the most important ones you feel are relative; make a paragraph connecting them and then add also my other tasks were…in which you can bullet point off.

3.When writing a personal summary try a use words to describe your personality and also your strong points as a professional. For me I use the words like I am a friendly team player, who strives in leadership situations and has a knack to inter personal communication. Maybe include a little line about career aspirations and what type of company you are searching for, plus also what you naturally bring to a company i.e. reliable work ethic or innovative ideas.

4. If you want to stand out even more checkout designs, I linked this to Pinterest where you can see how people make their CV a personal statement, in a creative industry I say go forth and make it as visual as you can (without over killing it) with other industries look at using a different font, a light coloured background our structure it to give the right information first.

So there you have it, this should now help you be as fabulous as you are in person on paper!

Much love and Magic,

Zoe

Arrived at your new country…Now what?

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1,2,3…and breathe, you have made it to your destination! But now you are overwhelmed and are not sure what to do next, well here are some tips for getting through the first few weeks of being in a new country.

If the only thing you have done is book a hostel to stay in when you arrive then have no to fear I have the top 5 things you can do to hit the ground running.

1. find access to the internet: you need to have this to get the information you need or if you are stuck and don’t have internet ask the place you are staying at to point you in the direction of the cities information centre (IC).

2. set up transport: do you live in a country that relies heavily on public transport or private transport? well using the information either from the internet or IC, research the best ways to get around the city; take into consideration that having a flexible pass for public transport will benefit you more when you start going for job interview. Consider looking a monthly passes to see if you can get a discounted rate. If you need to be your own vehicle look a local dealerships, or try and find online community website where people are selling cars, mopeds etc. (I.E. for New Zealand it would be something like TradeMe).

3. create a bank account and buy a sim card or mobile phone: you need to have a bank account in the country you intend to stay in, this will help make with business transactions, save the extra dollar from the exchange rate and lets you been more flexible with purchases. Then a mobile phone with the countries approved sim card, then you are away laughing!

4. find permanent accommodation: again use the internet to look for websites advertising room vacancies or go through the local paper; otherwise some large convenience stores might have community boards where people pin up written advertisements.

5. search for employment: if you have noticed a trend… the internet is a wonderful place to search for everything you need, again look on job website and submit your application. Better yet go directly to companies that you are interested in and hand you CV over or ask to speak with HR department. Maybe even speak with people you know living in the city and they might know someone who could help you with finding employment.

 

I was hoping to be a bit more detailed for you, but in doing so I would only be able to give you one country’s recommendations. If you stay in hostels the first week  other travelers will be able to pin point you in the right direction.

 

Zoe

Why Work Abroad?

 

The International StadiumWelcome to the first part of The Wayward Guide to the International Stadium! before you even step onto the plane every Wayward needs to consider the benefits and challenges they might face if they choose to travel abroad for career purposes.

Below I have put together a pros and cons list of why you should consider for about International Stadium,

Pros
unique industries, in your home country there maybe a predominant industry this is common; international travel gives you opportunities to try out new industries that might have not be available to you.
pay opportunities, there are a lot of countries that pay much better and if you are seeking higher pay, other countries might have larger more appealing pay packages.
tropical climate, if you come from a colder climate then you can pick a destination where you can experience beautiful weather! Or you can go for colder climate just to try something different?
more friends to make, this is definitely one of my favourite pros as I am a big people person; who doesn’t want a reason to meet new and exciting people?!

Cons
lack of financial stability, you might find it a struggle to get a job straight away and the funds you have brought with you a dwindling away due to the cost of living in that country.
start up costs, when you come to a new country the start up costs can really take a big hit. if you move into your own place the connection fees and shopping can make money more stretch.
language barriers, if you move to a country that doesn’t speak your native language then you are going struggle; unless you are bilingual this could be overwhelming trying to communicate with others.
international laws, coming into a different country there will be differentiation of laws compared to your own country. However this can be fixed by studying up before you go, its always good to check their laws on contracts, human rights and road rules.

 

Pros and Cons

 

These points cover the very important parts of the international stadium, I am sure you can come up with plenty of other benefits and challenges. But really it is down to you and why you want to take on the international stadium, be strong and be clear about what you want to achieve! Then you cannot go wrong?!

Lets go!

Zoe

 

Also I have collaborated with Laura from theworkher.com, she has first hand experience at moving to the International Stadium and wrote this article about what to expect when you land in the another country. Below I have put a little info about this fabulous lady, you should check her out!

Laura Douglas

 

Laura Douglas is an award winning PR professional blogging about being a young female in the workplace. Her blog,www.theworkher.com, is a survival guide for young working women, covering advice, inspiration, interviews and issues. It’s becoming the go-to source for graduates, those in their first few years of work as well as experienced professionals and women climbing the corporate ladder! Plus she also attend AUT University in Auckland which makes her extra cool in my book, please pop on over and say hi 🙂