When you’re looking for a new job, be it through a recruitment agency or directly, there are three key stages to focus on: your CV, the interview, and meeting the other associates at your target firm.
Here are my top tips to remember at each stage.
Maximising your CV
These three tips may seem obvious, and probably apply outside law too, but it is vital that your first impression is a positive one.
- Typos give a very poor first impression, so double check every line. This is a job that demands extreme attention to detail, and it is important to show that at this first stage.
- Try to present as much detail as possible, without breaching client confidence and privilege. Focusing the detail on the practice area you’re most interested in is a smart move. At Signature Litigation, for example, we’d expect to see a little more detail around your experience in your disputes seats.
- Don’t overplay your experience. No one expects trainees to have been running £1 billion cases, so don’t present your CV as if you have done! Focus on the substantial work you have done and your key roles, not a case where you only spent a few hours. At interview, you could easily get caught out on this when questioned further.
The interview process
- Know your CV inside out so that you can talk confidently about any detail the interviewer might drill down on. You should expect to be questioned about any part of your CV.
- Be prepared. If you’re prepared you’ll present a much better picture of yourself. This is a limited-window sales opportunity to pitch yourself and you’ll feel more confident if you have spent time preparing.
- Research the firm. It’s easy to find key facts online. What impresses us is when candidates show initiative and go beyond the headlines, researching some of our cases. We want to see that candidates have really thought about why they want to move here.
Meeting other Associates
Many firms have a final stage of the hiring process where they invite you to meet some of the other associates, so make the most of this opportunity. At Signature Litigation we don’t handpick the nicest ones or our best advocates, as we believe all our staff are great brand ambassadors. Instead, we let the candidate choose who to meet.
- Remember that this is still an important stage of the recruitment process and you may not have had an offer yet. Treat it accordingly!
- Ask the Associates anything you may have been reluctant to ask the Partners at interview. You need to be fully informed to be able to make the right decision should you receive an offer.
- Use this stage to really understand the culture of the firm - what makes it tick? Feel free to ask the Associates what kind of work they are involved in, and their responsibility levels.
By following these key principles you’ll ensure you stand out throughout the hiring process. Good luck in your job search!