How to kickstart your future career in 2019
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January can be a slow month; it’s cold, it’s dark and some of us have exams, coursework and applications to worry about. This article explores what you can do to make the most of the new year and accelerate your legal career.
Check your deadlines!
Lots of deadlines for vacation schemes and open days are coming up over the next few months. Make sure you get your applications in before the deadlines or you’ll miss out! Lawcareers.net has a great deadline calendar tool. I also make a spreadsheet of when applications open and close, the dates of the scheme and the date I applied. Being organised will help you to keep on top of the deadlines. An application that has been hastily written the night before will be evident! Keep an open mind and apply for open days as well as vacation schemes. At least if you don’t get a vacation scheme this time around you will still be interacting with firms.
Attend your refreshers fair
Many universities have refresher fairs; check and see whether the law societies will be there and go along and have a chat about upcoming opportunities. I found that the society fairs were also a good place to find other law-related societies. For instance, joining a language society might give you an opportunity to practice a language with a native speaker. This will help you to improve your business language better than learning about how to describe your Christmas holidays. Other societies worth looking into include anything relating to business or finance, commercial awareness, artificial intelligence and public speaking or debate.
Make an effort to organise yourself
Good organisation and time management will improve your prospects. As well as being skills that employers look for, these attributes it will help you to manage your time when studying. Simple things like making a revision timetable will help now that we are coming into exam season!
Don’t leave it to the last minute
Whether it be deadlines, revision or coursework, it is a long-established principle that cramming the night before is not the most productive way to study. This is also true for coursework and applications. Tying into what was said above, organisation is your friend. Plan your workload and you will find that you will work smarter, leaving more time for the fun things!
Plan your summer
I’m sure we are all dreaming of warmer temperatures and longing for that time off over the summer. However, it’s also a great time to get work experience. You can start speculatively applying for small placements or organising legal-related volunteer experience. Your university may offer summer schools (some of which can be funded or part-funded) where you can study other legal systems, languages and cultures. If you are not taking a year abroad, this could be a great talking point for your CV and it will show dedication to bettering your career prospects if you are willing to give time up in the summer to study. Also, remember that your summer backpacking Europe may have to be put on hold if you get offered a vacation scheme, so it is always worth waiting until schemes close before booking anything.