Towards the end of final year at law school, we are divided into two camps. Those of us who have secured a graduate or entry-level job for next year and those of us who are scrambling for answers. I am in latter. Along with my peers, I have sent out countless applications, sought advice from supervisors and colleagues, but I’ve had no luck. By now I have held various part-time jobs, learnt different things about different industries and yet I feel no closer to figuring out what to do when I graduate. Managing the expectation, uncertainty and rejection, while maintaining the motivation to continue looking can be challenging. Here are some insights from my time working in recruitment:
- You don’t have to get it right the first time.
Scrolling through many LinkedIn profiles a day means I come across some interesting career progressions. There are lawyers who have previously worked in marketing, finance, teaching, government and so on. If lawyers can come from a diverse range of industries, then so too can young lawyers go on to do something else at a later point. A career change, and even multiple changes, is possible at any stage. There are always options to transfer across to a related job, or gain further qualifications for a different industry altogether.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Reading and writing job descriptions, I’ve noticed they can be vague and sometimes unhelpful. After a while, they can all start to sound the same. Questions arise as to an employer’s expectations regarding academics, experience, performance, and whether there are opportunities for progression. If you’re unsure about anything after reading an ad, call the number at the bottom and ask. That way you don’t waste time on applications that wouldn’t be considered, and you may find that you are suitable for some jobs that you might have ruled out.
- Reflect on your work experiences so far.
From talking to lawyers about their jobs and careers, I’ve learnt there’s to a job than just title, salary and responsibilities. Things like work culture, work/life balance, autonomy and organisational structure all come into play. There are many different aspects that people love about their jobs, just like there are many reasons people might want a change. It’s important to think about the various work experiences you’ve had and think holistically about why you enjoyed it (or didn’t). That will get you one step closer to figuring out what you really want out of a job.
Finally, ask for help. Young Lawyer Advisory is set up to help you pick the right career options. What firms to focus on, what to include/exclude from your cover, discuss whether law is for you.