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Top 5 tips on securing your next legal job after some time out

Guest blog: Michael Bailey, legal recruitment specialist at Sellick Partnership

Are you struggling to find a new position as a lawyer after a gap in employment? You are not alone. Check out these suggestions on getting ahead of the competition and secure your perfect role.
The job market in law can be a daunting place. It is important to stay positive when searching for your next opportunity. If your search is becoming long and frustrating, a few changes could be all that’s needed.


1: Keep your legal knowledge fresh and up-to-date

The profession is constantly changing and demands candidates to be in the know. Having a broad and current intelligence of the law and your sector is essential. If you have been out of work for a while, recruiters will expect you to have completed refresher courses. This is true regardless of prior background and expertise.
I recommend going to networking events and keep updated with legal news to have your mind thinking as a solicitor should.


2: Ensure you have as much relevant experience as possible

You probably think this is obvious. But I regularly talk with candidates that have little or outdated experience. This puts them at a disadvantage. Your competition are people with a good understanding of the law and up-to-date experience under their belt. Without it your chances of landing a role are slim.
Speak to everyone you know within the profession and local firms to offer voluntary assistance. This way you can build up a resume of recent, relevant practice that will impress employers.


3: Seek specialist advice to prepare for interviews and write your CV

When applying, remember there’s plenty of help available. Certain sources can prepare you for interviews and have your CV ready whilst giving you specific assistance. Utilise this knowledge where you can. You could also contact previous employers and ask them for advice. It’s possible for them to highlight areas for improvement. Remember, take everything they say constructively.

4: Be realistic about pay and location

You need to think carefully about both of these and ensure you are seen as an attractive option to employers. Job seekers re-entering the market may have to take a considerable pay cut, or travel further to start off with.

It’s important not to worry. Once you have secured a role you will be able to showcase your skills. You may have the chance to re-negotiate locations (if the organisation has other offices). If you are unsure of your worth and where there are opportunities, speak to recruitment specialists who will be happy to assist.

5: Be persistent

The solicitor profession is highly competitive. You are likely to be disappointed and rejected a number of times at the beginning, middle and end of your career.
The secret is to be persistent, and never let it get you down. Keep applying, never stop looking and ask for feedback at every opportunity. It might be a simple thing that is not getting you past application stages. Identify what’s holding you back as early as you can.

You will eventually find the right position for you. I have helped many people get back into roles after years of being out of work – it can be done!

Still need some help?

Contact myself, or one of my team here at Sellick Partnership. We would be more than happy to discuss your needs, and support you in securing positions.

If you’re struggling financially, SBA The Solicitors’ Charity might be able to secure your place on the Renovo career transitional programme. This offers one-to-one coaching, access to online portals and other services. Read more to see if you’re eligible.

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