It’s horrendously hectic, furiously fast-paced and completely competitive. No, I’m not describing Formula 1 or Keeping up with the Kardashians. I’m talking about applying to paralegal roles.
While sending off applications left right and centre, you’d be forgiven for forgetting some things. But did you know there are 5 things you’ll probably forget which can cost you the job?
It’s important to remember that when an employer lists paralegal vacancies they’ll receive a barrage of applications – if you slip up you’re not going to get the job.
But here’s the good news: the Jump team works very closely with some of the Uk’s top law firms and we’ve got a handle on exactly what they want from their paralegal applicants and how to avoid your CV ending up in the waste paper bin.
So, let’s get down to it. Here are the 5 things that paralegals often forget when applying to paralegal jobs.
1: Apply to be an in house paralegal
This might seem obvious, but there’s more to life than law firms. This might just be the single biggest mistake you’re making when applying to paralegal jobs.
As you’ll know by now, paralegal roles at law firms are uber-competitive; the HR team at the top firms are inundated with applications and chances are you’ll suffer your fair share of rejections in pursuit of the paralegal dream.
For some reason, large companies often pass under the majority of paralegals’ radars. These companies often have their own in house legal teams. These in house paralegal jobs are often more numerous and less competitive, giving you a better shot at clinching the role.
The great bonus of choosing the in house route is that you’ll be working with an exciting interdisciplinary team and will, in all likelihood, have a better work-life balance than your friends at law firms.
2: Read the paralegal job description
Okay, this one does sound like a joke, but you’d be stunned by how many people are rejected for this reason, even when the firm or company has several paralegal vacancies.
The majority of these applicants simply didn’t pay close enough attention to the job specification. You need to ask yourself this question before you apply: what is this employer really asking for?
Make sure that you use your time wisely and only apply to the paralegal roles which you match the description for. It’s a little bit silly to be a graduate applying for an experienced paralegal position where the employer as clearly asked candidates to have at least 3 years experience.
In the same way, if you’re a seasoned paralegal with years of experience you shouldn’t be applying to entry-level jobs: those are obviously for trainees. This might blow your mind, but it is actually possible to be too experienced!
The key to landing paralegal jobs is to ensure that you are applying efficiently. In other words, don’t make assumptions and only apply for roles where you fit the job description to a tee.
3: Is this paralegal role logistically feasible for you?
Believe it or not, your work is going to fill up a large part of your life; so make sure that it fits with the rest of your life and expectations.
It’s all too easy to forget about practicalities, especially if you’ve just come across your dream paralegal job. Yes, it’s a cool job, but are you sure you want to commute 5 hours a day to Leeds?
The trick to finding the right paralegal job is by framing your search with what’s actually realistic. It’s worth considering how far you’d have to commute and what this journey will cost you. Luckily for you, Jump has a handy commute calculator which gives you a preview of your potential commute before you even apply for the job, increasing the likelihood of your job satisfaction.
You should also double-check that fits with your preferences. Is it full-time or part-time? Is the contract permanent or temporary? Again, Jump can help you out here by matching you with jobs that fit with your personal preferences.
By making sure that you’re carefully considering the logistics of the paralegal jobs before applying, you can tell straight away whether any of them are right for you. A task made a lot easier for you by Jump.
4: Location, location, location
As a prospective paralegal, you should definitely be asking this question: ‘is the salary on offer fair?’
The thing is, salaries for paralegal jobs depend on location. You should expect your salary to be in line with the market rate. This will depend on your seniority – if you want to get some ballpark figures take a look at this article all about paralegal salaries.
But the main basis for the market rate is location. And there’s no prizes for guessing which UK city offers the most lucrative salaries.
Paralegal jobs in London are highly competitive, but they pay more than paralegal jobs in Birmingham. Similarly, paralegal jobs in Manchester tend to have higher salaries than paralegal jobs in Bristol.
It’s pretty important that get to know the market average if you want to set realistic demands. And it’s especially useful when the job description only mentions that the salary is ‘competitive’.
But getting an idea of the market average doesn’t have to be hard. Did you know that when you view job posts on Jump you can see a market salary range based on the role’s level of seniority and location?
5: Get cracking! Aim to complete your paralegal job application ASAP
There’s no time to waste when it comes to paralegal jobs. For some reason, paralegals are inclined to take their precious time and by the time they’ve finally sent their CV, the job has already been snapped up.
HR are bombarded with applications, which means you want your CV to be sitting pretty as the top of the stack. This is because it will take a lot of time, effort and energy for HR to organise interviews: in most cases, they’ll simply hire the first suitable candidate they come across.
Make sure you’re in the mix by completing your application early!
Good luck! Applying to paralegal roles should be a breeze now
We all know paralegal jobs are competitive, but if you make sure to avoid the common mistakes you’ll be in with a very good shot! Good luck, I’m sure you’ll smash it. If you need a recap of everything, we made the ultimate paralegal guide, just for you
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