Picture this – it’s the year 2012, a year 12 girl with braces is watching Suits to procrastinate from studying for her final high school exams. “Being a Lawyer looks awesome!” she thinks.
Fast forward to 2019, my life didn’t turn out exactly how I had planned. I no longer have braces (woo!) and I’m not a lawyer. I did do a Law degree, though. After a very long 5 years of studying, I decided it wasn’t the path I wanted to take. I’m now a Recruitment Consultant, specialising in Legal Support.
Although the two may seem like completely different jobs, there are a lot of skills that I learned that I use every day:
1 - Knowledge of the industry
For someone who has never had much exposure to the legal industry, the many areas of law, job titles and firm structures may seem quite daunting. My background in both learning and working in law firms helped me to hit the ground running and really understand what the job seekers I was assisting would be doing on a day-to-day basis. It also helped me to identify highly skilled job seekers with both the hard and soft skills that would make them successful.
2 - Analytical skills
Studying law is all about being highly analytical. Refining this skill has helped me to really understand all the information I have in front of me, making decisions and be a proficient problem solver.
Recruitment is all about problem solving. When there’s a vacancy in an organisation, there’s a problem and by filling the job, you’re trying to solve it. For legal recruitment where quite specific experience and soft skills are usually required, this doesn’t just mean putting anyone in the role so that the job gets done. It means taking in all the information about the firm, the team they’d be working in, the skills needed, the level of experience required, and then matching all of these considerations with your available talent pool.
3 - Professional and clear communication
When you have 2 hours in an exam to write about 4 hours’ worth of content, you learn to write pretty quickly! This has helped me to write more concisely, while still conveying my message. It’s also given me the skills to write to my target audience, which is usually professionals in the legal industry.
Recent figures have shown that on average, people have three to eight career changes in their lifetime. Employment is not as static as it used to be and moving from degree completion to a career in your field of study is no longer a sure thing.
I’ve forgotten a lot of what I learned at law school, but I know I’ve held on to the many skills that my degree taught me. So if you’re not set on pursuing a career in your area of study, consider how you could apply what you’ve learned elsewhere – maybe even in Recruitment!