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I need realistic career advice(5 Posts)
I am currently on a LLB course at a Russell Group University. I achieve decent grades, I have decent work experience (though not in a practice environment, but relatable experience) and extra curricular activities, as well as being disabled and have four children. (I am a mature student, who originally took the course as I have an interest in it).
However I feel all the advice I get is unrealistic. Its either shiny happy, 'click your heels three times and your dreams will come true' type advice, or depressingly negative (which I take to be more accurate but is of the 'give up now and go home' type).
I don't know what I want to do at the end of this degree. I am not sure I want to practice and I'm not sure what else I want to do. I go to careers fairs, and other events to talk to employers, but I sometimes feel that because university staff and senior staff are there, I don't get a realistic response to some of my questions. I would love to buy someone in the field a coffee and have an off the record no hold bars type conversation, but it seems impossible as I don't know any solicitors socially.
I have recently recovered from a serious illness, and just want to rebuild and better my life. During my time in hospital I swore that I would recover and build a career I could be proud of. I refuse to be defined by my illness. I have a supportive DH and my children are older, and I want to build a career. Albeit it from scratch. I just need help from women that have been there.
I have spoken to my careers advisor and felt the advice I got was very vague. I have listed my strengths and weaknesses, have made action plans on how to overcome my weaknesses, and am trying to think of ways in which professionally I would be attractive to perspective employers.
If anyone can give me some advice on the following I would be so grateful:
-Networking - any tips on where to start and how to go about it. What puts you off when people approach you and what do you find particularly impressive?
-What do you look for on cover letters and C.Vs. What would put a C.V straight into the rubbish bin? Any tips for interviews? What kind of experience stands out?
- Can anyone in the field give me a realistic insight into the industry? What are some of the biggest challenges you as solicitors are facing? What do you find challenging about your job?
- A few of the people I have spoken to said commercial awareness is really important, so I spend time researching this. Can anyone give any advice in this area?
- Any general advice about training, and building a career. I saw a thread about a nightmare intern and watched it with interest. I am desperate to impress and build something tangible with my career but would really appreciate some advice from people who have been there.
I am fully aware some careers in law are the holy grail therefore am looking into alternatives with a law degree. However if any advice that can be given would be appreciated. Even if it is outside of law, but any advice from people who hire graduates or work with them would be much appreciated.
Can you go and shadow a few people in the areas that interest you?
I think everyone's experience is different so what could be my dream job/situation could be your idea of a nightmare. I also think it's very difficult to know if something is right for you without submerging yourself in the situation.
I have a friend who was a community nurse who wanted to retrain to become a midwife. She recently took a step sideways (and down!) to get back into a hospital environment within the maternity dept. She's really happy to be back in a clinical environment but has decided that midwifery wasn't what she thought it was so has totally knocked that idea on the head.
You are doing a lot of thinking at the moment but a bit more action (and how you then feel) might be of more help.
What sort of law do you want to practice?
What modules have you enjoyed on your course?
In the end, you'd probably specialise into one area after a 2 year training contract somewhere so it's important to think what you want to do long-term as that would affect where you would apply to in terms of companies.
Are there any areas of your life that overlap with your studies? Do you feel passionate about any areas in particular? Does any of your previous experience overlap? That can very interesting to some employers and make a person with experience in another industry very appealing to hire. Two sets of skills/experience is always better than one Increases possibility of being hired no end.
There may be some companies that are keen to hire mature students into training contracts - that would be worth Googling.
I'm not in the industry anymore, I studied Law but that was it and worked in corporate for a long time. I did many things afterwards unconnected with Law but it is a well-regarded degree by employers so I don't think you will have wasted your time.
When questioning what to do with your life - I always ask my clients -
1) What would you do for free? Imagine you had a million pounds or 10 million pounds, limitless money. What would you do? (no one can sit by a pool forever, in the end we all want to take some kind of action - so what action do you want to take?)
2) What do you love to do that you lose your sense of time? Like time passes without you realising?
3) What did you like to do when you were a child? What passions and hobbies did you have?
Perhaps some/all of these questions are too broad for you, now you have specialised, but people tend to be happiest doing work they love to do and are good at.
I wish you lots of luck with your future!
The sort of thing you'd like to do - talk to an actual lawyer to get some found advice - is called an informational interview in the US, and is definitely worth trying. I'm in a different field, but if a student on LinkedIn from my old university sent me a polite message explaining what you did in your OP I'd try to meet them for a coffee if at all possible.
The askamanager blog has great advice on how to do an informational interview, and it's really useful for cover letters and CVs too.
Is there any way you can use your previous work experience to complement your degree? Depending on what it was you might have a great selling point over your fellow students in the right industry.
Failing that, compliance seems to be a growth industry...
What are your 'must haves' and what are your 'would likes'?
Do you need to start earning a salary or do have support that would allow you to gain practical experience e.g. internship ? How flexible can you be in terms of hours per week, commuting distance, time away from home etc?
Do you want to do a training contract or not? (not clear from your post).