This month, I have been researching and reviewing different ways to secure a role in the legal field, particularly during the digital age and the challenges that covid-19 has put before us. In particular, I have delved deeper into the world of recruitment and discovered some eye-opening and invaluable benefits that I want to share with you. Step-by-step, I have summarised the reasons that connecting with a recruiter today can help you get that job tomorrow (figuratively speaking, of course).
Step one – do your research
It’s important to allocate time to research recruitment firms and individual recruiters. Not all recruiters can provide relevant advice, so you need to find out what they specialise in and whose profile best matches your interests. When conducting this research, try to go beyond LinkedIn. While this can be a good place to start, you would be surprised at the breadth of information that can be found on a recruiter's home website, law firm sites, and forums such as LawCareers.Net (LCN). LCN in particular will always point you in the right direction, providing a quick link or explanation and distilling a high volume of information in an easily accessible place. For example, LCN’s Meet the Recruiter page provides a one-stop-shop of recruiter profiles to browse at your leisure. A bit like speed dating for a recruiter, you can find out what impresses these key players in the application game and find your match.
Step two – find a match
Once you have decided which sectors you are interested in and found a recruiter who works in those areas of law, you can make contact. Don’t just send an impersonal ‘DM’ on LinkedIn or throw a CV at them and leave it at that. Following the initial introductions, it is best to suggest a phone call or even a Zoom meeting to demonstrate how serious you are about engaging with their services. During your first conversation, don’t leave anything out. Give them a good idea about what jobs you are looking for and what you want to achieve. The recruiter will then be able to open a door into the legal profession not previously accessible to the typical external applicant. Many of them will have an established working relationship with law firms that they can connect you with. Before your application gets sent off, your recruiter can also help you to improve your CV, sharpen and focus your applications, and prepare you for interviews and assessments.
Step three – refine your CV
One of the first things a recruiter will explain to a candidate is that a good CV will demonstrate “relevant experience to the role” being applied for. This CV is the one that gets noticed and, ultimately, gets hired. Two points can be taken from this seemingly simple piece of advice. First, you should focus your efforts and applications on positions that you would actually enjoy filling. Second, if you have no direct experience in the sector you want to pursue, then ask the recruiter what courses you could take to gain further skills. It might be the case that the employer is looking for a candidate that has experience using a case management system, such as Relativity. There are free online tutorials on most of the common software you'll need, a quick and easy way to tick off another requirement. But don’t forget to use what you do have to your advantage. Emphasise the transferable skills that you gained from a part-time job during your A-levels. Elaborate on the essential qualities that you developed from your membership in a university society. Create clear links between what you have achieved and experienced, and why these things are relevant and contribute toward making you the perfect candidate for the role.
This, and much more, is the edge that a recruiter can give you before you click send. Essentially, if you come to a firm on the recommendation of someone professional that they trust, and with a CV that the recruiter knows will catch the employer’s eye, you will start the process on a much more confident footing.
Step four – keep in touch
Once you have established a rapport with your recruiters, they are more likely to send new vacancies your way. Before you know it, you might have a whole host of different positions to apply to as the recruiter sends vacancies directly to your email inbox that will be catered to your interests and experience. Then it will just be a case of working through them with your recruiter until you find the right firm for you. Whether you are successful or not in an application, report back to your recruiters and update them on your progress, as they are just as invested in the outcome as you are.
My hope is that, once you have followed these steps and connected with a recruiter, you might experience the many advantages of this totally free, completely virtual service. This, in my opinion, is an invaluable resource that any job-hunter should be making the most of during this time. What are you waiting for?