Yes, you read that right.
For all of you law graduates that are out there and struggling to find even a paralegal position, I want you to read this post and think ‘This could happen to me!’ In a time when legal jobs are at their most competitive, you have to explore every opportunity in front of you. I chose Twitter to do this.
I found one mysterious tweet saying ‘A little birdie told me Eversheds has paralegal positions going…’ and an email address was given along with this tweet. I seized the opportunity and applied speculatively at first, inquiring if any positions were available and attaching my CV along with the email. I was told that it was the Litigation department that was recruiting paralegals and I thought ‘Perfect!’ – it’s where my background lies and the area in which my strengths are based.
I had a telephone call a couple of weeks later inviting me to interview, which I attended in November. The interview was fairly tough, over 15 competency based questions and many overlapped so I tried to expand every answer and give examples from every job I’ve had in law…along with trying to build rapport with my interviewer! A week later I was offered the position and I accepted, with no regrets yet. One thing about Eversheds was that I was completely surprised by the way everyone I met at the firm was so friendly and professional. Even now, two weeks into the job, I feel exactly the same way.
So I’ve now moved half way across the country, from Kent to Yorkshire to pursue a six month contract as a Litigation Paralegal with Eversheds, and I am loving it. I may joke about my social life being over since being given a Blackberry for my work emails, but in reality this is the job I have been working to for so many years and hopefully it paves the way to a training contract. I look forward to the late hours and putting in the effort because only I know how hard I have worked to get here….as I’m sure every one of you has too! And you know what, a job will not come and sit on your doorstep, you need to be dedicated and go out on the hunt, and not half-heartedly!
I don’t know about you but sometimes I really struggle to think of questions to ask at firms that I’m interviewing with. There’s such a vast knowledge base to research before you actually go in for the interview itself, that occasionally I draw a blank because I feel like I already know the firm and associates without having even entered the premises. (Please note: there’s a fine line between researching and stalking!)
So where do you do your research? Google is the obvious choice of search engine. The power of Google is almighty! But you will also need to think outside of the box, research online news sites, follow the partners on LinkedIn, connect on Twitter, read the firm’s blog (if they have one), newspaper articles, do the full works and it will help you be more prepared! It’s also become more and more important to have a social media presence online, so start making accounts but always remember to keep them professional! The law firm I worked at in New York would Google search any candidates that applied, digging for dirt and inappropriate pictures, so I know first-hand that it happens.
Last month I actually had the partner of a law firm I applied to send me a friendship request on Facebook only an hour after I had sent them my application. It’s a difficult situation to determine: on one hand the partner is doing his research on you and you wouldn’t want him to make a pre-determination about you based on Facebook pictures or comments you’ve made in the past. BUT, you also don’t want to hinder yourself from getting an interview! The way I dealt with it was to explain to an associate (who had emailed me to say they were considering my application, and had mentioned the partner’s Facebook request) that I was grateful for the request but that I use Twitter and LinkedIn in a professional capacity, and not Facebook. It was a risk that I took by doing this but I had to stick to my guns, although I am sure that some of you may read this and disagree. But I still don’t regret my decision and I think that’s the important thing.
So I also wanted to extend the offer to all of you who read mine, Greg’s, Liam’s and Mark’s blogs, that should you have any questions at all feel free to ask me. You can comment on any of my posts or tweet me here. I would love to have more interaction with all of you or even if there are any topics you’d like me to discuss then please do get in touch and let me know!
The legal world is a waiting game.
You wait to hear back from applications you’ve made, you wait to hear back from interviews you’ve been to and you wait to start your training contract (in the majority of cases, unless there is an immediate start for a lucky few!)
When I was in my final three months of my internship in New York I started making applications as I wanted to secure a job for when I returned home. I updated the CV, refreshed my covering letters and tailored them to whomever I was applying to.
One thing about me: I really believe that technology and technological mediums are the way forward. I applied to a worldwide innovative technology company for a paralegal position and obtained a Skype interview with them. It made me feel like I was making a move forward in some ways: 1) that a major corporation potentially wanted to employ me and 2) that they were happy to interview me via Skype and not in person. I waited three weeks for a response and was told that I would not be advancing to the next round because another candidate had more experience and was available at lesser notice [*sad face*]… However, the company told me to get in touch when I returned to the UK and that there may be another role at the company available to me, however it would be non-legal….I weighed up my options and decided to go for the interview, I figured at least I could meet those who Skype interviewed me in person, as it never hurts to network! With the role being non-legal though I had some doubts as I had undertaken the internship so my chances in the legal world would be greater rather than branching away from law. Needless to say I chose not to take this position (but to my advantage as I had greater things, more suited to my experience, to come my way!)
Ultimately, what I want you to take away from this post is to:
- Be patient;
- Be flexible;
- Be confident;
- Network your butt off!
- Take rejection as a stepping stone to learn and grow from your mistakes;
- Analyse the interviews you’ve had, always think how you could have answered the questions better;
- Don’t script your answers, be real in the interview and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not;
- Remember that sometimes it’s not you, it’s the company;
- Never underestimate your competition;
- And always remember that if you are called to interview that the company like you on paper, you need to prove to them you’re the right fit in person.
Currently, I’m waiting again. I interviewed with a small firm in Central London three weeks ago and was told not to be concerned if I didn’t hear back from the firm for 1-2 weeks for a second interview. But coming up to three weeks now I’m getting concerned! Questions such as, ‘Should I contact them? Maybe I interviewed terribly? Was I not enthusiastic enough? Were the other candidates better than me?’ all cross my mind, but you have to put them to rest. You need to have the confidence in yourself to believe in yourself. If you can’t believe then how can a potential employer believe in you?? I’ve never wanted to work for a company more than this firm, I think they are fantastic but what’s done is done. Hopefully I purveyed my enthusiasm for the position and all I can do now is cross my fingers. I have my fingers crossed for all of you as well!