It's my first post here so let me start with a quick intro. I have been visiting this board for over 5 months now and mainly to understand the immigration rules for my Tier 1 Visa. I am happy to say I did get it a month back.
I have been going through this section of the forum constantly to see how job seekers are fairing and what advice has been given to help you out, and honestly, there havent been too many instances of experienced answers being given here.
Living here since quite some time now, I finally decided to pen down a few thoughts to actually state some TRUE facts as I have a lot of close friends who are working permanently, job hunting, contracting and even studying. I hope the below will be helpful to you in some way or the other. Please note that since I work in the IT Telecoms field, my experience is biased towards the Software Sector only (but may hold good for other sectors as well)
The job market - So is it that bad? The answer is 'maybe' and why this is so is because it plainly depends on the experience you showcase. Let's get one fact very clear, it is MUCH easier to get a job here than in my home country, India (I cant vouch for other countries), at any experience level apart from maybe under 2 years. Final Interviews are technically driven, no doubt, but a lot of emphasis is laid on the work you have done in the past and that's where they catch you out.
If you have a job, with little or no savings, or with family and commitments, then this is not the right time to take a gamble and come here. If you can survive for 6 to 8 months, then come here and try your luck. It's a gamble again but if you are good you wont have to wait for more than a month or two. Trust me, my friends are already changing jobs, getting new contracts and so on. The market isnt 'dead' as so many people are saying. If you dont do things right, you wont be that successful in getting a job quickly, simple!
The Contracting route - It may be a shock to you but UK companies prefer contractors to permanent staff. Contracting here is only built through your networks and contacts, agents are almost useless in finding roles unless, once again, your experience is so great that noone can afford to NOT hire you. Contractors get paid well because 99% of the contracts wont cros 3 to 4 months. You need to remember that working as a contractor means constantly hunting for new roles and that may be difficult if you have no NEW network or contacts. You will actually end up poorer if you work for 3 months and sit home for the next 3 months.
The Jobsites and Consultants- There are some really good websites, well atleast for Software Engineers out here. There are great consultants as well who are genuine. If you go applying nilly willy for every single job and keep posting different versions of your resume, you will get caught out. And as many have said before, it's easier if you have a UK address and contact number to actually make them call you up.
Your Resume / CV - We tend to think the bigger the resume, the greater the resource a person is and that's not right here. Your resume, should at the worst case not be more than 5 pages. 3 is ideal and if they need more details, they will ask so dont cramp it up. Avoid obvious stuff in your CV. Be smart in putting details in. Dont say you have a Tier 1 because most of them have no clue about visas. Dont over explain your skills, say it once and they understand - you are writing it in English right? Dont put any recommendations, objectives, silly extracurriculars because they dont see that first. The CV is meant to sell a person and that person is you. When you read it yourself, you should feel like hiring the person. And please, dont ever have a spelling mistake in the CV, the agents will just throw it away. Same goes for grammar, tense and verbs used. Be very careful and if required ask any of your friends to proof read it.
Finally - ENGLISH - When an agent calls you, they will decide in just 60 to 90secs if they will actually forward your resume or not. So what do they know in 90secs you may think. They are not technical Gods right? All they know is how well you speak, how you conduct yourself and if you are really as great as your CV says you are. Whether you have 2 or 20 yrs exp, those 90secs decides it all. They are not biased or dearly beloved, if you are good then you are in. If they send resumes to companies that they dont like, then they will lose business from that company. So if they have ANY doubts on your ability, they wont take the risk. So even if you are truly talented, the job is lost because you dint give them the right impression. Spend a lot of time mastering the way you speak, your annotations, your pauses and again the words you use. I have seen so many guys asking and replying to questions here. If that's the real way you actually speak, then your chances are very very slim.
I hope the above is useful and I am happy to answer any sensible questions asked out here. All of the above are my opinions alone, and I may be wrong so dont try and hunt me down
If you dont like it then dont accept it and for those who honestly have the skills and the will to succeed, please heed to some of the advice given.
All the best to you guys!