Getting your next paralegal job

Posted on: 18 May, 2016

Getting your first paralegal job was always going to be tough. Paralegals are and will always be faced with the catch 22 of not being able to get a job without experience. Obviously you can’t get experience without a job. Often people take their first paralegal position to get that all-important first role with a view to changing later.

In theory it should be simple to move from one firm to another even if it is moving from a smaller firm to a larger firm. It is generally straightforward however you will need to make significant changes to your CV for this move. Your CV now has to show a lot of detail on the work you are currently carrying out. Include information on the type of work, examples of matters, the size/value of matters, the tasks you were asked to carry out, the level of responsibility that you were given and examples of meeting almost impossible deadlines.

Potential employers and recruiters reading your CV will initially skim read it and will be looking for a combination of academics and experience, be that paralegal experience or not. Make sure both of these are dominant on the CV. Consider whether you should remove other sections such as non legal work experience or internships. The more substantive legal or paralegal experience you have the more you can afford to cut off other things. The goal is to direct the reader to your most relevant experience and make sure they cannot miss it!

Moving from one area of law to another is not always as easy, especially within the paralegal sector. They key is to look at the skills that the new job requires and to push those on your CV as part of the experience. It may not be possible to move straight across from one area of law to another and it might take a bit of planning. For example of you want to move into corporate from real estate try to get involved in the property aspects of corporate transactions from your current role. Flag up the soft skills you have learned such as how to deal with clients, managing deadlines, working long hours with a view to applying them to a new role. If you have studied the area of law you want to move across to in your LPC or degree highlight this.