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Article Written by James Tonge, Philosophy Undergraduate at The University of Manchester.
Like any student, law graduates are left with the daunting task of entering the ‘real world’. Many law students, however, do not end up in traditional legal roles like barrister, solicitor, lawyer or paralegal. This article will explore the task of career searching and offer alternative routes into the type of careers law graduates and students may enter.
Getting Career Ready
Before looking for a career, one needs to lay down the groundwork. Starting with the CV, there are a number of resources out there which help with drafting a professional CV, and the likelihood is that your university will have a careers department whose job it is to assist in this process. Making use of the resources your university offers is the logical first step, but there are a multitude of websites, articles, and videos which provide useful information for this pivotal step.
Your CV should include personal details, education, qualifications, work experience, skills and interests, and references. With this detailed, then it is a case of ‘fine-tuning’. This involves formatting it in a professional font, appropriate font size, and ensuring it is clear and concise. Finally, any application is stronger with a cover letter. Again, there are a great number of articles and videos out there to assist you with this, but usually, they recommend you demonstrate your knowledge of the firm and the relevant sector, elaborate on key skills and an explanation of why you want to work there.
What Can I Do with a Law Degree?
This section explores four alternative careers away from the traditional legal sector that are still suitable for law graduates.
One potential job for law graduates includes becoming a chartered or corporate secretary. Company secretaries ensure businesses operate in accordance with corporate laws and rules. They are responsible for keeping track of an organisation’s records, creating reports, and updating directors on legal developments. They may participate in planning, finances, and insurance arrangements while working with directors and senior personnel.
Law graduates can find employment with construction and engineering companies. Graduates are especially encouraged to apply for positions as graduate access consultants at several engineering and construction companies, such as Arup. These positions involve designing buildings and landscapes accessible to all users, including people with impairments. Four graduate positions at Atkins, including surveying and facilities management, are open to law graduates. For these positions, candidates must possess the technical problem-solving skills, teamwork, and attention to detail taught in law school.
Employment opportunities for law graduates also include working with HMRC. Along with its regular tax collection duties, HMRC is also in charge of monitoring whether the national minimum wage is paid correctly, disbursing tax credits, and collecting student loan debt. Graduates are eligible to apply for the department’s graduate course, which offers a four-year training plan that leads to degrees in accounting, management, or tax inspector. You’ll need a logical mind and the capacity to apply the law to various situations to succeed in this line of work. You’ll also need a keen eye for detail and the capacity to detect contradictions.
Compliance officers ensure that firms adhere to laws and regulations. Compliance officers look over a company’s reporting (giving financial information to the regulator) and financial conduct (making sure it complies with rules and standards). You may see that graduates can find compliance employment with all types of financial institutions. Most businesses favour degrees with a math, business, or law focus.
The Application Process
With a strong foundation in place, and an idea of where you might want to launch your career, whether it be in a traditional legal role or one of the roles in the former section, then comes the task of applying. While there are specific tips and tricks which may apply to a legal-specific role there is common advice for applying to any job.
Firstly, it is useful to make use of job boards, university careers websites as well as sites like Indeed and LinkedIn to find job openings. Even while you might not be able to wait until a specific time of year to apply for a job, you can discover that you have more luck in different months. This is due to the fact that businesses frequently hire more people at particular times of the year. For instance, there are typically more job openings in the months of January, February, September, and October. Once you’ve identified a few positions you’re interested in applying for, you should learn more about each organisation to see if it would be a good fit for you. Check whether there are any fresh news items about the company in addition to reading the corporate website. But there are other reasons to research before applying besides figuring out whether the company would make a good employer. You can also use it to help you craft your cover letter. It will be easier for you to compose a letter that is more customised and will boost your chances of creating a positive impression if you are aware of the company’s values, culture, and products. With this research, you can then also edit your CV to suit the specific job role you are interested in, adapting skills and experience to align with the company’s values and requirements. After applying for a job, generally speaking, you should follow up on a job application two weeks after submitting it. This window of time makes sure that instead of coming across as aggressive or impatient, you come across as passionate and excited about the position. To draw attention to their application and LinkedIn profile, some job seekers prefer to message the recruiter or hiring manager on LinkedIn right away. Even if this isn’t a follow-up message, it might be a good method to demonstrate initiative and reaffirm your excitement for the position.