Tips for landing your dream lawyer job in 2019
18th December 2018
Whether you’re graduating from university, looking to change career paths or are interested in the law sector, applying for a new job can always be a daunting task, especially in a field that is notoriously fast-paced and hard to succeed in.
How can you stand out from the crowd and get your foot in the door as the race for the job begins? In this article, we ask industry experts just that!
1. Know your skill sets
Before applying for a job, especially within the law sector, getting to know your skills is crucial. The more you know about yourself and how you are able to apply those skills within a specific job role, the better. It gives a great first impression and shows that you have done your research. If you have expertise in a specific area, tailor your CV to promote those, you want to show off your strengths where possible.
Making a short list that outlines your top five key strengths and adapting these to suit each job description can be a great format for referring back to when under pressure. Make sure you add in any notable legal achievements, interviewers are going to want to know all about these and they will distinguish you from other candidates.
2. Attention to detail
As with any other piece of important documentation, your CV is how you make your first impression, so make sure it’s perfect. Attention to detail is key. Grammar, punctuation and specific language are all important and show that you know an industry well, and more importantly that you care about your work. Mistakes are unforgettable, so keep your standards high – proof your CV before you send it anywhere. Check, check and check again.
We asked Rachel Davis, the Managing Director at the Lawyer Portal what her top tips are for acing a law interview: “When making law applications, attention to detail is absolutely key and grammatical errors and mistakes are unacceptable. You need to always demonstrate high standards and a keen eye for detail from the outset. Starting as you mean to go on is something you should always aim to do. Be specific! State why you are interested in the firm and tailor your application to what makes them unique. Moreover, commercial acumen is key, so provide working examples of this where possible and demonstrate the skills that you have developed. Most important of all, however, is to not be afraid of being yourself and always be genuine and honest.”
3. Keep your eye on your goal
As a professional, you should have a goal in your head as to where your career will lead you - stick to it! Bad interview experiences and negative feedback may seem upsetting at the time, but they give you areas to work on. Concerns or apprehensive behaviour can put people off, stay confident, stay focused and remember your end goal – to get the job! As each stage of the interview process progresses, set yourself a new target, give yourself something to work towards.
Career expert, editor and owner of Ms Career Girl gave us her thoughts on sticking to your career goals: "Keep your eye on your personal career goal, not just the path. Allow yourself to embrace the reality that the path doesn't have to look a certain way, and that unexpected windows of opportunity may open at any moment. In our ever-changing world, the experience of the journey will be far more meaningful if you adapt, grow, and even alter your course when it's clearly in your best interest to do so."
4. Show passion and drive
The law sector is notoriously hard to enter and there is a lot of competition for the great jobs out there. It won’t be an easy task and that’s why you have to show enthusiasm and charisma throughout. Keeping a cool head and oozing professionalism will help you shine through the crowd - a lot of other candidates will get flustered, it pays off to be prepared. Showing a passion indicates more than just your desire to work, all legal organisations want candidates with that extra spark and something that sets them apart from the crowd. Each interview will be different but try to appear confident and show you know what you’re talking about, showing you can keep cool under pressure is a massive attribute for the sorts of jobs you will be applying for.
“The legal sector is divided into large firms operating under strict procedures and are largely target driven. The trick to securing your dream job is to research and if possible, try different firms and choose what’s genuinely right for you. Sometimes you go where the money is or the perceived security. Understanding what drives you and what your weakness is and showing passion can help channel you into a dream job. However, finding out those things takes trial and error and willingness to change if you chose the wrong path.” Says Karen Holden, Managing Director at The City Law Firm.
5. Know your audience
It’s important to know who you are talking to when planning for your interview. You are talking to an experienced recruiter in the field you want to enter, so you need to make sure you use the right terminology and tailor your CV to suit the job specification. If you don’t know an answer to a question, that’s okay, the interview process is about them getting to know you as much as it’s about you getting to know the role.
If you know the company you are visiting then prepare a set of smart questions that you can ask at the end of the process, it’ll show that you have done your research. Find out how the internal processes work, ask about employer expectations and what insights they can share with you about working for the company. The best types of interviews end up being conversations rather than question and answer sessions, so don’t be afraid to sound passionate.
6. Trust your instincts
Usually, your instincts are correct, so trust them! Don’t doubt your knowledge because the majority of the time, your answer will usually be along the right lines. If you’ve done your research prior to the interview, then the information is stored and it’s just a matter of relaying it.
The long and short of it is, do your research, prepare appropriately, and trust your instincts. If you follow those simple rules and allow your passion and drive to shine, you’ll land your dream legal job in London in no time.