Google Alerts; An Untapped Method for Finding Training Contract Vacancies

I’ve mentioned how useful Google Alerts is before but I want to go into a little bit more detail and explain how exactly it can be used to find new training contract vacancies. You can also use it to find vacation scheme vacancies, get notified about the latest news from a particular firm or find other legal opportunities in your local area. It’s really easy to set up and so underused.

Essentially you will get an email when when Google detects new content about a pre defined topic. But you can use a load of search parameters so you can get some really specific results emailed right to you. Let’s see how.

Using alerts

As I said, it’s very simple to set up. But lets go through it anyway. First go to Google Alerts, you should be greeted by the following page:

In the search query box you will type what you want to be notified about. This will be explained in detail below. In the result type box you can specify the sort of content that you want to receive.  For example news, blogs, web pages, discussions (forums), we recommend keeping it set as “everything”.

Next you can specify how often you are notified. This is completely up to you. Once a day is a good amount – if your search query is very broad this will stop you getting a flood of updates in your inbox throughout the day.

After that you may specify the quality of the results. Since the typical firm will have a high quality websites you can leave it at “Only the best results”. But if you want to make sure no opportunities slip through the cracks then you can set it to “All results”.

“Email” is self explanatory, if you’re signed in with Gmail your address will already be filled. Now click on “Create Alert” and you’re done. Alerts will take you to a page where you can view & edit all of your current Alerts.

Don’t worry if you’re not receiving alerts straight away. If your search terms are narrow then you might only receive one alert per month.

Finding training contract vacancies as soon as they become available

As we all know finding a training contract can be some what of a numbers game. We need to keep applying until we’re successful. The great thing about being notified is that it should be a new opening, and therefore there shouldn’t be as many people applying. This statistically increases your chances of getting a placement.

So what do we need to put in the search query box?

Obviously we need to start with “Training Contract” but we need to get more specific than that. Take a look at the following search query:

“training contract” “london” -jobs

This should find all new training contract vacancies in London. I included “-jobs” so it so you don’t get job websites or recruitment agencies. The term “jobs” doesn’t usually occur on law firm recruitment pages. Not all of the alerts you get will be for new vacancies, but if you find you’re continuously getting alerts from an irrelevant site you can edit the search term and add “-the site you don’t want included” to the end.  You can obviously chance “London” to suit your location. You can further tweak the search parameter by adding “commercial” or “family” in front of the current query to increase the relevance of the alerts.

Other uses

If you want to find out about new vacation schemes in Birmingham try this:

“vacation scheme” “birmingham” -jobs

Or for a new paralegal role at a firm in Manchester the following would be suitable:

paralegal vacancy “manchester” -jobs

If you have an interview coming up, and know quite a while in advance, it may be a good idea to keep tabs on the firm. Use this simple search term:

“Firm Name”

Remember to get all the variations in there like Firm Name LLP or Abbreviated Firm Name. This way if the firm releases some important news or information before your interview, you’re sure to know. Note – If you’re already working at a firm this is a great way to keep track of your competitors.

If you want to know about all vacancies then remove “-jobs”. This will give you results from jobs websites & recruitment agencies.

Just add the relevant terms to Alerts. You need to create a new alert for every new search query you want to be notified of. Then you just need to play the waiting game.

You can also use the above terms in a normal Google search when looking for pre existing opportunities.