I’m an Aussie. Anyone who knows us on the global circuit knows we like to do this thing called an “OE”—that’s the Overseas Experience we’re renowned for. Given that Down Under is so far from everywhere, we tend to cross the seas for an extended period of time, only returning when our wanderlust has been satisfied. I’ve spent nearly two years (with breaks for travel) temping in London, and I’ve often been asked how I found it and whether I have any tips. So, here they are…
Just do it
Before I left for London, I didn’t really know what I was planning to do. I knew I wanted to see and experience Europe and I knew I didn’t really have the cash. I rocked up in London in February 2017 and immediately froze. Yes, I was struggling moving from blissful summer to freezing temperatures, but I also didn’t know how to find work. I stayed in a youth hostel where I got chatting with other OE-ers like me. They explained that temping in London was the answer.
Where to start
You can trawl newsagent windows and various online ads and more. However, I wish I’d known then that the simplest way to find temp work in London is to go through a London recruitment agency. It makes sense now with hindsight, but in my head I thought recruitment agencies were just for permanent positions and possibly British nationals. As soon as I found Love Success, I never had to trawl ads again!
Get temping quickly
Another thing I learned is that it’s possible to get work on the day through the Love Success Wait4Work service. This worked really well for me in terms of flexibility. I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather when it came and last-minute travel deals. But I was also anxious about finding work quickly again after.
I would rock up at 8 am, having been in Paris for a few days, clutching my take-out coffee, and the Love Success staff would often have me in a job by mid-morning! That said, I did also do some planned temporary jobs in London. For example, I did a three-month placement with a law firm who needed some admin support, as one of their staff was on long-term sick.
When you come to a city from a different country, it can be difficult to know what to expect in terms of wages. Again, this is where using a London recruitment agency really helped. Love Success were really honest with me. They explained exactly which roles they thought I was suited to (which changed as I gained more experience) and what I could expect in terms of temping wages. They were also really good advocates, liaising with the employer about what was a fair rate for me.
Would I do anything differently?
Honestly, no. Part of my purpose in taking an OE was to find out more about myself. So even the mistakes I made, I wouldn’t change them now, as I learned a lot from them. For example, I now know that I never want to work in the finance sector, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth temping in London for accountants, because I learned about what mattered to me!
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