For those of you who needed convincing, I think last night’s storms proved without a shadow of doubt that summer is now well and truly over. But if you’re one of the lucky ones who got that eagerly awaited training contract offer letter on Tuesday (1 September) I’m sure the blustery downpours that marked the official start of autumn failed to dampen your spirits.
However, if all those hours spent on applications failed to reap dividends what should you do now? It’s probably quite tempting to seek shelter from the rain and hide under your duvet in the hope that a job offer magically appears through the post. But as we all know storms do pass. And in the economic context that means the recession will eventually come to an end bringing with it better jobs prospects.
And although as our blogger Nisha Beerjeraz likens searching for a training contract to playing the lottery, luck alone isn’t enough to secure a job, especially in such tough market conditions (read article). So if while reading my newsletter you’re still without a training contract then rather than wallowing in self-pity I suggest you throw your duvet to one side and start to take some positive steps.
Firstly, try to establish why your training contract search was unsuccessful. If you made it to the interview/assessment day stage then it’s definitely worth picking up the phone to the graduate recruitment team to get some feedback. Secondly, ask yourself if you were being realistic or were you aiming too high? Thirdly, once you’ve identified the gaps in your CV have a serious think about the steps you need to take to plug them.
For instance, if it’s a lack of work experience that’s letting you down then you should already be looking through the jobs pages because don’t forget work experience doesn’t necessarily have to be unpaid or even in the legal sector. Part-time or even temporary jobs also count especially if supplemented with pro bono or voluntary work – the most important factor is to ensure that you spend your unexpected gap year constructively.
Fourthly, if it’s your academics that are posing as stumbling blocks, have you thought about further study, such as an LLM? And if you really do prefer warmer climes then why not go travelling?
Last but not least, there’s no reason not to keep applying because not all law firms hire their trainees two years in advance.
But whatever you do don’t give up because as they say if at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again. Only then will the barometer move in your favour.