Graduate story: From lecture theatres to that dream job …

Tips and tricks to make yourself more employable

Emma Biliri, LLM Graduate

emma-biliriAsk yourself this; would you employ you? If the answer is yes, no need to read any further (but don’t say we didn’t warn you!). For me, the answer was a no – I had the grades, I was passionate, but who isn’t in our generation?

It has been 3 years since I graduated with an LLB degree from QMUL and 2 years since completing my LLM.  I have since worked in numerous firms as a contractor and for the past year I am an Assistant Vice President of Information Security at Barclays.

What my journey from starting at QMUL to where I am now has taught me is that you are not the only one competing for that dream job – there are hundreds out there! Getting it, however, is not as hard as you think … 

Network, Network, Network

You are probably already tired of receiving emails inviting you to different networking, panel or career events. Do not ignore them; invest in a nice suit, polish your shoes, do some research and go to as many as you can. Listening to what people of the field have to say is priceless. It gives you a perspective of the ever changing corporate world, and gives you the rare chance to shake hands with the people who could one day be reviewing your CV. Talk to them, ask them questions and tips. Don’t worry about looking over zealous – they were in the same position. When you graduate, having the card or the LinkedIn connection of the firm’s associate you met at one of these events could take your application a long way.

Stand Out

If you are not yet convinced that networking can do the trick, try and find the non academic skills employers are looking for. They will make your CV stand out. These could vary from mastering Excel, learning basic coding or picking up a new language. The good news is, you don’t even have to pay a fortune to do that – QMUL offers courses, YouTube has free tutorials, the Library has all the ‘Excel for dummies’ books you can imagine, and Duolingo offers over 21 languages. Even if you have the requisite experience and education for a position, you might go further in the interview process by showing that you are determined, passionate for learning something new and know what they are looking for. The less time a company has to spend training you, the better.

Diversify your CV

The definition of ‘dream job’ varies from person to person. I went through Law School thinking that the only options after graduating were either a pupilage or a training contract. They are not. And even if they were, the only way of landing these exclusive positions is by having work experiences that is beyond the traditional summer scheme. During University, but also after graduating, try and diversify the fields you are applying to, as much as you can. Want a pupilage but don’t have a mini pupilage? Email your local court, approach a judge, network with a barrister and get a Marshaling experience. Want a training contract? Work as a document reviewer or a paralegal for a year – you will get tremendous experience and prove that you are employable.

Use the Careers & Enterprise Centre or approach recruiters (it is as simple as googling ‘law recruiters’), and register with them. It is free and they will help you with the hard step of kick starting your career. Don’t be afraid to take on a temporary job that isn’t your dream job – see it as a stepping-stone to success.

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