Job Searching

Where to Look

Knowing where to begin your search is half the battle. Here are a number of resources to help you secure employment.

This is North Scotland (Job Section)

This is Aberdeen (Job Section)

University of Aberdeen (Job Postings)

NHS Grampian (Direct link to jobs)

Recruiting agencies are an excellent place to look for work. They offer jobs on both a temporary and a permanent basis.  Many companies use them to do their hiring so there are many such agencies in Aberdeen. Some specialize in certain fields/careers. For a complete list, go to Careers Scotland (see below).

Careers Scotland is a great resource when looking for a job.  They have computers available for creating CVs and searching for jobs online (you are not allowed to access your email on these computers).  They also have a knowledgeable staff who can assist you.  You can walk in and use the computers or browse the books/resources they have anytime between 9am-5pm (just sign in before doing so).  You can also make an appointment to work with someone on your CV.)  They can provide you with an extensive list of websites to search, including recruiting agencies,when looking for a job in the Aberdeen area.

Careers Service at the University of Aberdeenmay be a resource for finding a job.  While it is not typical practice that they help spouses of students, they have done so in the past and may be willing to do so again, especially if you go when they are not busy with traditional students.  They have very friendly and helpful staff.  One great thing about their office is that they have two computers dedicated for updating your CV, internet job searches, applying for jobs online, etc.  They also allow you to access your email, which is helpful if you need to email potential employers.  If you have obtained a 4 year undergraduate degree from another institution, they may even allow you to see one of their Duty Advisors to give guidance regarding your CV.  In addition, they have jobs posted in their office, as well as an abundance of brochures and booklets to help you with the job seeking process.  It might be especially helpful to obtain the brochure on writing your CV.

Job Centre Plus

What to Bring

When looking for a job here, you will need to bring certain items with you that will help secure your new position.

References from previous employers.

Contact details for previous employers, including email addresses for obtaining references more quickly.

Current or old copies of your resume to work from when creating a you new UK CV.

CV Example

CVs in the UK look different than resumes in the US. Here are some examples of the proper format for a CV. In addition, a number of the aforementioned resources provide CV composing information.

CV Example 1 (administrative guru)

CV Example 2 (graphic designer)

Other things to note:

Paper – UK standard paper size is A4 (210 × 297 mm) This is taller and more narrow than an 8.5×11 US sheet.

Spelling – Take notice of the use of ‘s’ (rather than ‘z’) in words like ‘organise’ and ‘specialise’. Also the addition of the ‘u’ in ‘ou’ words like ‘honour’, ‘colour’, ‘favour’.

Dates – if using an abbreviated date method on your CV, make sure it is in the DD/MM/YY format (day being first, rather than month).

References are called ‘referees’. Always include the country and area code when using international telephone numbers (00 1 area code + phone number).

What to Expect


You will have an easier time finding administrative positions as there are heaps of them. These positions tend to pay £13,000-£15,000 pa (full-time). It is possible to find a professional position in your chosen field with some of the larger oil companies, hospitals or local businesses. These positions will start at £18,000-£25,000 pa (full-time). Note that teaching certifications do not transfer from the US and the education system requires a handful of British credentials.

Vacation Time

The law states that everyone (part-time and full-time employees) is required to have a minimum of 24 days paid holiday (vacation)! Great right?! (This includes 6 public holidays). However, if you work as a temporary employee, you may receive less holiday time than this.


In an interview or on-line application, you may be asked very personal questions such as race, age, marital status, sexual orientation, how many days you were sick last year, etc. (these questions would never be allowed in the US.)

Once You’re Hired

Congratulations! You’ve secured a new job. Now, you’ll need to become acquainted with some terms and practices that are different from what you may be used to.

Disclosure Scotland is a background check you will have to undergo if working with minor children. It has a fee attached, but your employers may pay this fee. You will need to have the addresses of your place of residence for the past five years.

National Insurance Number (NIN) – This number is akin to the US Social Security number and should not be confused with the NHS number you get when you register with your local surgery. If you are going to work while you are in Aberdeen, you need to apply for a NIN.  You will need to prove that you are actively looking for a job, such as a letter inviting you for an interview, or have received a job (offer letter) before you can make an appointment to get one.  To read more, click here.  Contact Job Centre Plus at 0845 9157006 to book an appointment.  They will tell you exactly what information and identification to bring with you. The appointment will last about 30 minutes, consisting of an interviewer filling out paperwork, asking you questions, looking at your documents and making photocopies of them. You will receive your NIN card in the mail. Give you new number to your current employer and any past employers you had (such as a recruiting agency).

Paying taxes – Until you have a National Insurance Number (NIN) you will be charged a flat rate of tax (usually higher than it will be once you receive your NIN). Any excess tax you pay should be refunded to you once you have a NIN. Double check with your employer after your first paycheck to verify you are being charged the correct rate of tax, especially if you were originally paying the highest rate.  Don’t assume it has been done just because you received your NIN. If you have been overcharged while waiting for your NIN, ask your employer if they can refund the tax money to you once they have your NIN.  If they are unable or unwilling to give you your refund, contact the Aberdeen Tax Office, 8 Ruby Place, Aberdeen, AB10 1ZP at 0845 703703 or 01224 401700 for information about how to have the money refunded to you.

P45 – A  tax form you need to fill out when you first start working.  If you change jobs, you should be given a P45 from your old employer to give to your new employer.

P60 – A form that is given to employees at the fiscal year end (usually April) stating cumulative amounts for wages, taxes, etc.

Pregnancy leave – Check with your employer about their Maternity Leave Policies. Many employers have benefits that exceed those offered by law. You can take 39 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave, and if you qualify you will get Statutory Maternity Pay which is 90% of your earnings for 6 weeks and then £123.06 (or 90% if the figure is less) for 33 weeks. For detailed information about Maternity Leave, see this site.

Some current students or spouses actually work on-line for a company from their home country, thereby not needing to find employment in the UK. Just remember that you might not have access to the internet at home for a couple weeks or months so this may affect your ability to work.  Some types of work that has been done includes writing, editing, or teaching on-line.

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