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Careers Newsletter Bloomsbury

February 2013 edition

Careers Centre opening times:

Welcome to the February edition

Monday 9am - 7pm Tuesday 9am – 7pm Wednesday 9am – 7pm Thursday 9am – 7pm Friday 9am – 5pm Saturday 10am – 5pm Sunday 10am – 5pm (teaching weekends only) To make an appointment, call in at the office on the ground floor of Ridgmount Building, or call us on 01483 216681

Some of you will be preparing for interviews and assessment centres for vacation schemes this month, so do read the following article on assessment centres, and sign up on Elite for the ‘Assessment Centres for legal positions’ and ‘Practical presentation skills for legal assessment centres and interviews’ workshops running this month. Also, we’ve got some top tips for securing a training contract or pupillage. In this month’s case study, we hear about a student’s experience of applying for, and getting, a training contract, and what she learned from the process. And finally, we wish the very best of luck to those of you who are preparing for, and taking, exams this month.

Candy Kobrak Editor

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Careers Service resources to help you prepare for assessment centres StEP 9 – Preparing for assessments (Future Lawyers’ Network) Interview feedback forms (Elite>My Employability>Employability Service Information>Organisations) Assessment centres for legal positions workshops – in-depth advice about assessment centres and group exercises (Elite>My Employability>Bloomsbury Employability Service>Careers events) Practical presentation skills for legal assessment centres and interviews workshops – gain advice about presentation skills and practise giving a presentation (Elite> My Employability>Bloomsbury Employability Service>Careers events) Book an appointment with a Careers Adviser to discuss assessment centres.

How to succeed at assessment centres Assessment centres can include a range of different tasks, but they nearly always ask the candidate to take part in a group exercise of some kind. The exercise might be a group discussion about a given topic, or a practical task such as building a tower from paper. Most common is a group task where you have to work together to make a group decision. Here are some examples of group tasks that College of Law students have been asked to complete at assessment centres run by law firms: Berwin Leighton Paisner: “The group exercise was a negotiations game. We were split into pairs and had a brief. Each team was then given further information. The aim was to agree terms on key points to be written down in a preliminary agreement. We were given about 20 minutes to prepare, and then 30 minutes to negotiate.” “At IBB there were group exercises of varying types, but mainly discussionfocused, leading up to presentations to the assembled partners and other candidates. There was also a task involving making a radio programme.” (Quotations taken from interview feedback forms, available to download Elite > My Employability > Employability Service Information > Organisations) Whether you have been asked to attend an assessment centre as part of the recruitment procedure for a vacation scheme or for a training contract, the following tips should help you to perform well in group exercises: • Generate your own ideas and express them clearly. • Listen actively to others (nod, smile) and build on their ideas. • Identify relevant material when getting to grips with lots of new information. • Evaluate ideas and options in terms of feasibility. • Ensure tasks are allocated and monitored for completion. • Manage your time and that of others. • Work out your objectives, make a plan and follow it. • Keep a balance between taking your own ideas forward, and helping the group achieve its task. • It is what you say, not how much you say, that counts. • Don’t assume shy or quiet members have nothing to contribute: helping them to participate will go in your favour. • Get involved! If you do not participate, you cannot be scored. Other exercises that may be included in the day are: • Case study materials • Presentations • Written assessments • In-tray exercises • Psychometric tests Have a look at StEP 9 ‘Preparing for assessments’ (Future Lawyers’ Network) for useful tips and links on preparing for assessment centre exercises.

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Top tips for securing a training contract/ pupillage If you still haven’t secured that elusive training contract or pupillage, don’t panic: there is still much that you can be doing towards achieving your goal. Now, it is more important than ever to be proactive and to seek out opportunities wherever possible. For example, making speculative applications, or thinking laterally and applying for paralegal positions. Remember that the route to a training contract/pupillage is a marathon, not a sprint! You need to be prepared for the long haul. First on the agenda is research. This should be a favourite topic with wannabe lawyers. It is not enough to be familiar with the selection criteria required. You really need to get behind these criteria and analyse whether you really match up. For example, look at the people already working there. Do you have any skills and abilities in common? Are there any organisations or committees that they might belong to that you could get involved with, such as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers or the Employment Law Bar Association? You really need to know what the firm or chambers is up to, and be sure you know why this interests you. The competition will be fierce, so think about ways to find the ideal firm or set for you. Get creative, look at the local press, and search for individuals, firms and chambers through the Law Society and the Bar Directory. Evidence is vital in the legal world, and you are going to need plenty of it if your applications are going to be successful! This is best shown in the form of legal work experience, although in the current climate it may not be so simple to land that week’s work shadowing opportunity or a formal work experience scheme. This means that you need to use your initiative. Think about gaining experience at a lower level in order to allow you to move into the firm/chambers of your choice. Once in position, you never know what legal opportunities will open up. There are a huge variety of jobs out there. Try to match your interests to one of these. For example, if you are interested in employment law, then knowledge of the inner workings of an HR department is going to be of benefit when dealing with future clients. Talking to people is important, too. Talk to those already in the profession to find out how you can get ahead. Place yourself in situations where you will meet the people that you need to impress: ie, legal recruiters and training supervisors. Remember that in these lean times, networking is key! Be sure to keep hold of any business cards and contact details that you collect along the way. If you have spent time discussing in-depth matters with a member of the legal profession, then be sure to follow this contact up and thank the person for their time - a little courtesy can go a long way to helping you stand out from the crowd. Finally, when it comes to making your applications (speculative or otherwise), make sure that you get these checked by a member of the Career Service. Standards are going to be even higher than before, and your application needs to reflect you and your experiences in the best light. Good luck, and stay positive!

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Quick Queries: Normally Monday to Friday at either: 11am -12pm and 2pm – 3pm or 12pm -1pm and 3pm – 4pm (these times are subject to change, so please check on Elite or with the Careers Service if Quick Queries are running, and for the times that day) Quick Queries are short 20 minute drop-in sessions for you to speak with a Careers Adviser face-to-face or by telephone. Sign up for these 5 minutes before the start of the session (unless you are a part-time student – in this case you can just sign up on the day). These are provided on a first-come firstserved basis.

Case study Cate McAndrew: GDL & LPC 2011-2013 (degree in Music from the University of Bristol) Training contract at Weightmans When I first started applying for training contracts, none of my applications were successful! On starting the GDL, I visited the Careers Service and received lots of help and support throughout my hunt for a training contract. The advice I received played a big part in my eventual success. I started out by thinking about which areas of law I was interested in and researching law firms that I could apply to. I went to a few sessions with one of the careers advisers to get some extra ideas and help re-writing my CV. I also found some of the careers workshops really helpful – especially the preparing for assessment centres workshop, which I went to in advance of actually being invited to any! Getting work experience is really important. I did this by approaching law firms near where I lived, and making use of anyone I knew in the legal industry. Be confident, and approach people who might be able to help you. Apart from looking good on my CV, work experience was something I could draw on when preparing for interviews. I remember feeling so pleased when I started getting invitations to interviews and assessment centres. Again, I went to the careers service to help me prepare. It’s hard being unsuccessful at the assessment centre stage, which did happen to me a number of times. But, don’t let it get you down. I did get there in the end, and I’m looking forward to starting at Weightmans in 2014! My top tips: • Don’t give up and don’t let rejections get you down. • Make use of the careers service. It’s a fantastic service that will be hard to find elsewhere once you leave college. • Spend time researching which firms you would like to apply to. Firms want you to be very specific about why you want to work for them.

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February’s careers workshops and employer talks Please go to Elite>My Employability>Bloomsbury Employability Service>Careers events for further details and instructions on how to sign up. Date

Event Type

Name of Event

Time

Mon 4th

Workshop

Assessment centres for legal positions

10am - 12pm

Mon 4th

Talk

LPC Law

5.45 - 7.30pm

Mon 4th

Talk

How to make successful applications - Mayer Brown

Tues 5th

Workshop

Interview skills for legal roles

Tues 5th

Talk

Application form skills - Baker TBC & McKenzie LLP

Tues 5th

Workshop

Mock interviews event Lloyds Legal

Weds 6th

Workshop

Assessment centres for legal positions

Weds 6th

Talk

Weds 13th

Workshop

Mock pupillage interview workshop

6 - 8pm

Fri 15th

Workshop

Mock pupillage interview workshop

10am - 12pm

Sat 23rd

Workshop

Interview skills for legal roles

11am - 1pm

Sat 23rd

Workshop

Assessment centres for legal positions

2.30 - 4.30pm

Tues 26th

Workshop

Mock pupillage interview workshop

2.30 - 4.30pm

Making applications for training contracts - Allen & Overy

TBC 2 - 4pm

5.45pm-8pm 1 - 3pm TBC

Save the date Law and Justice Fair Monday 25th March from 6pm

The University of Law Limited 14 Store Street, London, WC1E 7DE. 0800 289997 page 5 of 5

1V9033/0113

Further details will be available on Elite closer to the date.

Careers Newsletter - February 2013  

College of Law Careers Service Bloomsbury Newsletter - February