Help help help(9 Posts)
Posting here for traffic. I have posted here before and have found it incredibly helpful. Please help me find a way out. I am unable to find a job. I have tried very hard, applying everywhere I thought I could ( going by the requirements of the job) but no luck. May I add that I have got a specialisation, although the have been out of work for quiet some time now. My ideal situation would be working in a Legal environment as a (paralegal, legal associate that sort) but not limited to those roles. Even having a starter position in a law firm would be ideal. I have applied through legal recruitment firms and directly to the law firms but unfortunately haven't had much luck. Any input from legal people out there who can guide me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated . I am a the verge of a break down.
My friend who is a lawyer has said people in your position often come in as admin staff/ secretarial roles sometimes as a temp and then have to make a fantastic impression. Is that an option?
Do you have a law degree? All the paralegals I know have one.
You could try applying for general admin roles in law firms and try to work your way up?
Volunteering somewhere like CAB might look good on your CV as well.
StrawberryQuik: yes, I have got Masters in law.
MatildaThecat: I am more than willing to do that but unable to find a way in
I don't know anything about being a paralegal, but I do know about getting a job as I am an employability mentor. There are a couple of things that you need to do.
Look at your CV. Where are the gaps? You said that your qualification was some time ago. Do your qualifications need updating? Are there any courses that you need to go on? What about experience? If you haven't done anything in that line of work for a while, why not find somewhere that you can volunteer that will give you recent experience. Volunteering also shows a whole lot of other things - such as drive, commitment etc, so definitely worth considering.
If you are not getting interviews, then the fault definitely lies with your application skills. If you feel that your qualifications/recent experience should get you an interview but they don't, go back and look at the way you are presenting information. If the job you are applying for has a person spec, you need to demonstrate that you have every single one of the qualities that they are looking for. I usually tell my mentees to copy and paste the specification into the Any Other Information part of an application, and use them as headings. for everything that they want, you then demonstrate how you match it. This is tedious, because it means that each application has to be individual, but it is worth spending the time. Employers can tell when you have given them a generic application, and if competition is fierce (which it sounds like it is), you won't get a look in.
If you are getting interviews but not getting the job, then you need to brush up on your interview skills. If you are the nervous type, try to do some relaxation type exercises before you go. Watching someone stammer and splutter their way through an interview can be excruciating for the interviewer and is unlikely to show you in a positive light.
There are two sorts of interview questions - questions about you, and questions about the job. If you get an interview, spend a good long time preparing for it. Go on the internet and find out the sort of questions that interviewers are likely to ask. Write down your answers to each question. Learn them, the way you would have done swotting for your degree. Each answer should be detailed, with examples. If your answer takes less than 5 minutes, it is unlikely to be detailed enough, given the sort of roles that you are going for.
Finally, you need to see each rejection as another step in the process. If you don't get an interview for a job you know you can do, go back to your application and examine it carefully from the employers perspective. Have you shown them what you can do? If you failed at interview, ask them to give you feedback. What did you do wrong? Where can you improve. Its a learning curve.
Think about the volunteering, though. I'm sure that there are plenty of practices that do community work you can get involved in.
So sorry you are funding it so difficult to find work.
If you're in the UK you could volunteer with the witness service who support witnesses and victims who come to court to give evidence. We are run by CAB - just get in touch with them or contact the witness service Team Leader at your local court. I'm one and I have a number of law student volunteers on my team, up to and including Masters level, who are using the experience to add to their CV but also to fill in time while they look for work.
It's worth mentioning that there are far too many law graduates chasing contracts and doing paralegal work/other related work instead. My DH is a lawyer and has advised both children not to do law as it is particularly tough at the moment.
What have you been doing while looking for a job and where are you based? I'm not in a legal field but have had 50 applications for a role that closes in a week so we could get up to triple figures. So far we have transferred five to the shortlist. A key criterion is attention to detail and excellent communication skills. When people make errors on the application, even when they address all the criteria the are moved to the "no" pile straight away.
The law is even tougher at present. DH's set doesn't look at anyone without a first, without another language, and a few other interesting strings to their bow.
As someone who regularly employs/interviews paralegals, I can only advise how the applications/interviews that stand out, get offered.
1. Time is money. Make this clear that you understand and put SPECIFIC examples of how you have experience of this in the past - and how you delivered successfully. Law is often a n income target driven environment.
2. Focus on a particular area of law you are interested in, and volunteer in that sector. Many paralegals I interview have generic career histories, and I need a specialist area - demonstrate that you are interested by doing something in that area.
3. Don't be too frilly/fluffy.
4. Give specific examples of how you are organised yet responsive to emergencies and how you draw on available resources appropriately.
I know it sounds vague but it is those who show those behaviour that ultimately succeed.
Thank you very much to all of you for your time and responses. You all are brilliant. I will try to implement all the suggestions that have been made. Will keep you posted of any positive developments.
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