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Job seeking

  • By the time you've qualified and reached the stage of applying for jobs, you should have a clear idea of where you want to work. You'll probably have some relevant work experience from volunteering and your training contract.

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    Law Society careers clinic

    For: Paralegals, final seat trainees and qualified lawyers
    Where: Law Society’s Hall, London or via telephone
    Dates for 2018: 7 November
    Dates for 2019: 12 February, 3 April, 5 June, 10 September and 9 November

    • A free, confidential 45-minute one-to-one consultation with a career coach/legal recruiter.
    • Careers advice on applying for training, interview practice, changing career direction, returning after a break, transferable skills, alternative careers, etc.

    For more information and to book a place, email careers@lawsociety.org.uk. Appointments will be scheduled from 09:30-18:00.

    Before applying for a job

    Before applying for a job, look at your knowledge, experience and skills, and ask:

    • What are your strengths?
    • What are your weaknesses and how can these be improved?
    • What skills do you have - for example, languages?
    • What qualities can you bring to a prospective employer?
    • What makes you different from other candidates?
    • What activities outside of your work bring transferable skills?
    • What positions of responsibility have you held?
    • Where do you want to work in light of the wide range of opportunities available?

    It's important to allocate enough time for completing applications – time needed to research and prepare an application is often underestimated. If you're searching and applying for jobs, the tips in this section will help you manage the process.

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    Where to look for vacancies

    Legal publications

    The Law Society Gazette is published weekly and is also available online, where you can apply online and sign up for job alerts.

    Some newspapers have a particular day for legal vacancies:

    • The Times: Tuesday
    • The Telegraph: Thursday
    • The Guardian and the Independent: Friday

    Find out what other legal publications are available online, especially any used by potential employers in your area and by organisations in the area of law you wish to practise.

    Recruitment agencies

    Many recruitment agencies specialise in legal positions. You should discuss your CV with a recruitment consultant - they may be prepared to draft a CV for you and circulate it to organisations and firms. Even if they don't have a vacancy that immediately suits you, and keep in contact with them so they remember you when something suitable comes up.

    Networking

    Letting as many people as possible know you're seeking work is a good way of hearing about vacancies.

    Make a list of all your contacts, including former and existing colleagues, former bosses, business acquaintances, professional advisers, friends, relations and members of professional associations and groups. Then arrange to meet as many as possible to ask for advice about your career. During the meeting ask them to identify two other people you could approach to help you with your search. This helps build up a network of potential opportunities.

    LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is a global, business orientated networking database. It's increasingly used by employers to post jobs and source candidates. Users can create professional profiles and build professional contacts.

    Save yourself hours of research by using LinkedIn to create a target list of the firms and organisations you're interested in, then follow them to keep abreast of their news and to help you decide whether they're right for you.

    Treat your LinkedIn profile with the same care and attention you give your CV. Ensure it's interesting; you can be more creative than you would be on paper. It should provide prospective employers with information about your skills and experience as well as what you're looking for. Look at the key skills asked for in job adverts that interest you and create a tailored profile by including accomplishments and skills your have that are relevant to the role you are seeking. The more complete your LinkedIn profile, the more likely you'll be found.

    LinkedIn requires active participation to be effective. See our 10 tips for using social media and our social media practice note.

    Careers service

    A valuable source of information and advice is the careers service at universities, and those provided by some local authorities.

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    Speculative applications

    If you're uncertain about your prospects or you haven't seen any vacancies that meet your needs, think about applying speculatively to certain firms or organisations. Draw up a shortlist of firms or organisations in your area doing the kind of work in which you have expertise or an interest. You should also read the national and local press to find out if the organisations you're approaching have any new development in your area. You'll have the advantage of being able to apply even before they advertise any vacancies.

    When applying speculatively, always explain why you have approached that firm or organisation.

    If you're interested in a particular area of law, use the Law Society's Find a Solicitor service to search for firms by location and area(s) of practice. Your local Citizens Advice is also a useful resource for firms in your area.

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