updated on 21 November 2016
One of the biggest barriers to success in finding a career in law is the trouble many candidates have in successfully translating what they have done in their academic, work and extracurricular lives into a set of skills and attributes that are attractive to employers and backed up by evidence. In the main, it's a question of technique - the actual process of looking deeply and dispassionately at oneself is both laborious and slightly unsettling, but look you must. The secret is to be systematic. Every part of your previous life is likely to throw up useful evidence of skills and behaviours that recruiters will see as relevant to your potential ability to succeed as a lawyer. Now you need to work out what they are.
First, let's look at the type of thing you are looking to uncover. Here are some examples:
Second, let's take a quick snapshot of an activity and how it can be used to demonstrate a variety of skills. I recently spoke with a postgraduate law student working part time as an overnight hotel porter/receptionist. We looked at his tasks: dealing with (sometimes difficult) customers face to face and on the phone (communication and resilience); dealing with orders and requests, and conveying these to other workers at the hotel (attention to detail, teamwork and commercial awareness); writing nightly logs and reports (written communication and intellectual ability); and working after studying during the day (drive and motivation). As you can see, with some thought, seemingly ‘normal' tasks can provide evidence of saleable abilities.
Finally, let's look at how to record all this. At LawCareers.Net we have created a section in your MyLCN account where you can record this sort of information for later use. It's called MySelf and you can make a note of and score your past activities, item by item. You can do it at your own pace and it is an excellent way of (i) having the evidence at your fingertips when you want to make applications, and (ii) identifying the areas in which you may have a weakness and highlighting the need to do something about it.
It will pay to start getting all the evidence written down now. The more you work at it, the more you will find, so get going now!