Research the organisation prior to application
- Ensure you are aware of the areas of law that the organisation deals with.
- What are the values and ethics of the organisation
- Have they any standout achievements?
- Don’t just base your research on websites and company brochures. Check if the organisation has a social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Look at the networks and Groups the organisation has joined through LinkedIn. Who does the organisation follow on Twitter? What are they tweeting about?
These are a useful way to find out about companies and organisations. Some law fairs are open to anyone, others place restrictions on who can attend. For a list see:
Law Careers.net also have a list of www.lawcareers.net/Information/LawFairs law fairs as well as a guide on how to get the most out of attending a law fair see www.lawcareers.net/Information/Features/12102010-Time-to-face-up-to-face-time
Reports and Trends
Keep up to date with reports and trends. Useful sites include:
Law Society Gazette
Research and Commentary on the Legal Profession
Online job adverts
These are a useful way of finding out about the legal sector. Use the job adverts to find out about:
There are a wide range of job titles used in the legal sector. For example when you are looking for paralegal openings, job titles include conveyancing assistant, legal clerk, legal administrator, claims handler and litigation assistant. There is no standard term for someone training to be a chartered legal executive, so don’t limit your search to jobs for trainee legal executives because very few organisations advertise using that job title.
Duties and responsibilities
Job descriptions usually contain a list of duties and responsibilities. Compare the duties and responsibilities of jobs with different job titles. Jobs with very different job titles can have very similar duties and responsibilities.
Compare job roles and pay scales. What affects the pay scale? Is it location, type of employer and/or level of responsibility?
Alongside the job description there is usually a list of the selection criteria that will be used to select candidates. Selection criteria describe the qualifications, knowledge, skills, abilities and experience that are required in a job. By using selection criteria an employer is asking you to describe how you meet the requirements of the job. You usually do this by providing examples demonstrating how you meet the selection criteria.
Look at a range of jobs and see if you can you match your skills, experience and knowledge to fit the selection criteria? Are there any gaps? What would you need to do to fill these gaps (sometimes this is about thinking laterally – don’t just think you don’t meet the criteria, think about all your experiences).
Linkedin and Twitter
You can also use LinkedIn as a research tool, finding out about clients and organisations. This can be for current business dealings or for potential openings.
Use Twitter as part of your research into an employer, to see what they are tweeting about. Some employers use Twitter as a recruitment tool.