If you are a newly graduated law student you will need more than just your degree to land a job. Law is a very demanding profession with long hours and a heavy workload it is not for the faint of heart.
If you have the right traits (aside from the required knowledge), namely perseverance, intelligence, confidence, quick-wittedness and you and can command a room then you stand a better chance than most, but before employers can see these attributes shine, they first want to know you if you have your head on straight and that you understand what it means to work in law. So here are 6 tips to make sure you are armed and ready to tackle your job interviews head on:
1. A well-written CV & Cover Letter coupled with excellent interview skills
These two are the first weapons in your arsenal for landing “that” job, so make sure your CV is up to date, precise (no rambling), correctly formatted and professional in appearance with no spelling errors and bad sentence structure. This is usually your first impression on a potential employer, so make sure you do it well and get it right. Practice mock-interviews at home in front of the mirror. List potential questions employers may ask and make sure you are prepared. No negativity, show yourself fin the best possible light without lying.
2. Specialised skills and practical training
In this age of efficiency and profit above all else, most employers are no longer wanting to pay for on the job training and have turned their preference towards those graduates who are entering the workforce “practice-ready”, with real-world experience behind them and a specialised skill-set. Today’s labour market is tough; it is up to you to do all you can to gain experience whether it be in the form of an internship, shadowing a lawyer, or any other sort of experiential learning outside of the classroom.
3. Advanced skills beyond the legal field
You need to set yourself apart from the herd. Employers are inundated with hundreds of applications from the simplest jobs straight through to the most technical, no matter what field you are in so highlight your competencies beyond lawyering to show that you have something extra to offer. Remember, employers look for those who will add value to their business, so such things as business aptitude, emotional maturity, a command of languages, ability to understand financial statements and project management expertise are all things which will give you that much needed boost.
4. An analytic mind, one which follows the changing law frameworks and trends
As in every occupation, you must always keep yourself up to date with changes in your sector. You must stay relevant. If you do not, you will be of little value to law firms. So you need to understand the history of law and where it is headed and how you will make it work for you, and you absolutely must have a grasp on the intersection between law and the area in which you wish to be employed (such as the relationship between law and finance – financial lawyer).
5. Make a plan & have a strategy
You must be active not passive. You shouldn’t wait until the graduation parchment is in your hand before looking for a job. Research, research, research well in advance the job market, future prospects and the areas of law which have the best job prospects. You should talk to your tutors, network, try to find a mentor, you must identify your skills and brush up on those you lack.
6. Network like crazy!
The best way to land a job today is through networking. So make sure you begin doing so in the first year of university. This should include your fellow students, tutors, lecturers, law field guest speakers and so on. Try to attend networking events hosted through university and make the most of them. Design a set of business cards so people have your details on hand.
7. A Law Degree has Envied Transferable Skills for other Business Sectors
If you find yourself struggling to get a foot-hold in law, do not despair. Law degrees imbue students with a broad range of proficiencies such as the critical thinking skills to effectively analyse regulations and policy. Such skills make budding legal practitioners invaluable across the corporate and government sector. With many jobs suited to them in banking and finance, aside from legal.
A law degree can set you up to become a:
- Policy Writer
- Social Advocate
- Legal Tender Writer, or Journalist
- Conflict Resolution go-to person
- Government employee