Debut share some helpful advice for graduates seeking a career in law.
Searching for your first professional job after graduating can be daunting and stressful. Having spent years studying and gaining experience, you’re finally ready to take that first step onto the career ladder. However, the pressure to succeed and land that dream role in the prestigious firm of your choice can be overwhelming, and unsuccessful applications can be disheartening and damage your confidence.
Yet, you are not alone in this situation. It is important to remember that the jobs market, particularly in the legal sector, is extremely competitive. Recruiters and hiring staff will be sifting through hundreds of applications for each position, so it’s important not to beat yourself up when you don’t quite make the grade. There will always be other positions opening up for you to take a stab at.
So, what can you do to ease the pressure of applying for graduate roles?
Coping with uncertainty whilst waiting to hear back from employers
Once you’ve applied to several positions, it’s easy to worry about their success, and waiting to hear back can be a stressful time.
Psychologist and Family Therapist, Dr. Kalanit Ben-Ari comments, “In terms of finding ways of coping, after sending an application, knowing that you did your very best will help you to let go, without any regrets, whilst waiting on an outcome. Accept that you did your best, the rest is not in your control. You do not know who else applied, or if the company might even have changed the role because of other business reasons that you are not aware of.”
If you’re waiting to hear back, the best thing you can do is to keep active. By occupying your mind you will keep yourself from pointless worry and anticipation that will only frustrate you and make you more anxious. Dr. Ben-Ari suggests that applying for more roles while you are waiting will not only distract you from the pressure of your current applications but could lead to more career opportunities that you might have overlooked.
This time between graduating and your first job can feel quite empty and directionless, but it is also an opportunity. There are few other moments when you will have so much free time all at once, so you might as well try and make the most of it. This could involve learning new skills, seeking new experiences and hobbies, or joining voluntary groups. By keeping your mind and body active, you can bolster your mental health and avoid the frustration and helplessness of waiting to hear back from employers.
Using your time productively while waiting for employers to respond
Create a schedule to give your day structure. You can decide how many applications you will send off each day, and dedicate time to a hobby or activity that will help to improve your mental health and keep you motivated.
Gain additional experience to reinforce your CV. This can be done by volunteering and completing pro bono work, or by court marshalling, where you sit with a judge for several days.
Improve your skill set by completing online courses. There are a wealth of online courses available which can help to build your skills in all sorts of relevant topics from English language and writing skills, to leadership and critical thinking. By continuing to learn and add to your skill set, you’ll be showing employers that you are committed to growing as a professional, making you a more attractive hire.
Visit a courtroom and sit through various cases. This is a great way of gaining courtroom experience without having to negotiate a placement. You can sit in on a wide variety of cases and become more familiar with court proceedings, which will demonstrate your genuine passion for the legal profession.
Keep up-to-date with legal news and developments in industries relevant to your applications. This will keep you mentally engaged and will be beneficial should you make it to an interview stage.
Follow your dream companies on social media such as LinkedIn. This will help you to keep up-to-date with any developments within those companies, which you can tap into in your applications and interviews. It will also allow you to spot any opportunities at your dream companies early, giving you the best possible chance to land that job.
How to cope with rejection and overcome the pressure of applications
What can be disheartening during this period is seeing your peers and classmates landing enviable roles while you continue to receive rejections. If this starts to get you down, there is nothing wrong with muting them or disabling notifications from social media entirely.
On the other hand, you can use their success to inform your own job search. Try asking them how they landed their new role, and compare your own methods of applying for positions.
Avantika Vaishnav, Marketing Manager at Debut, has commented:
“While graduates wait to hear back about the status of their applications, it would be advisable to invest their free time in preparing ahead! Resources such as YouTube and the Debut blog can help graduates understand where their application could improve. Make a list of common interview questions and practice how you would answer them at an interview much beforehand. This will take the pressure off an interview.
If you get rejected, try asking for feedback. Think about how you can implement the takeaways to avoid repeating your mistakes. If a lack of experience is letting you down, work on developing the experience being sought for your dream role. If you got told that your passion for the company didn’t come through, do more research the next time and incorporate what you have found out as points of discussion in your interview.”
Debut is the ideal place to find a graduate job as in addition to listing graduate schemes and internships across the UK, there are also guides and insight to make every part of the application process easier to tackle.