With Christmas now just weeks away some of the biggest dilemmas most of you will face over the next few days will be what to wear to your office bash and how many mince pies you can get away with eating before the guilt sets in?
But many final seat trainee solicitors will be confronted with a much bigger dilemma. Should you leave your firm on completing your training contract? Indeed, as the spring 2012 qualification process gets into full swing we’re already seeing a steady stream of CVs from candidates who are hoping to secure a newly qualified (NQ) role elsewhere because there was no room for them in their chosen departments.
If given the choice think long and hard before telling your current firm of your decision to leave. Though the jobs market is surprisingly strong for mid-level candidates the very junior end remains sluggish. And unfortunately we expect conditions to remain tough in the New Year especially since so many autumn 2011 qualifiers are still on the market.
But those of you who are determined or indeed have no choice but to move on we advise the following (these steps should be taken now and NOT on the day you qualify otherwise you run the risk of doing too little too late):
· Update your CV . At NQ level you should include A Level grades, a full breakdown of your degree/LPC and GDL results. Please note that we may also ask for your training contract appraisals so make sure they are readily available. If you have mislaid any of these documents now is the time to track them down - if necessary contact relevant institutions for copies.
· When you send your CV to us explain why you’re looking for a new role and which practice area(s) you are want to specialise in. We will endeavour to contact you to conduct a short telephone interview and where appropriate invite you in for a face-to-face meeting.
· Set up a linked account but treat it as a professional network and not a social one.
· Though it's tempting to register with lots of legal recruitment consultancies this is best avoided because from a logistical point it makes it easier to track applications when dealing with a couple of recruiters you trust.
· Be flexible and realistic about your next legal job as you may have to downsize or even consider relocating. Also, don't rule out paralegal or locum roles. For some of you a complete career change may even be the most sensible option.
· Stay in regular contact with us and keep an eye on the vacancies section of our website for any suitable positions. Browse the legal jobs sections on The Lawyer and Legal Week websites.
· And do not allow any consultants to send your CV to any firms without your express consent.
· Stay calm and be patient.