Written 5th November 2012
On Friday, I was made redundant, alongside a lot of my colleagues. We were working within a new start up firm which had opened during the first quarter of the year. They had progressed and grown massively, starting with one employee when I went for my interview in March to having close to 30 by last week. There was a range of different departments from Clinical Negligence, Debt Recovery, Healthcare, Financial Irregularity, Family, Employment and Commercial Litigation. As the firm had grown so rapidly, and opened new departments it was hard to see how 2/3s of the staff now find themselves joining the back of the queue to sign on – surely there was room for us to be moved around to a different department? Accordingly not, the firm was bought by a different firm who came in, performed due diligence and essentially got rid of people based on their salary. If you earn over a certain amount you were not kept on, if you earn below it you were kept and would be transferred to the other firm accordingly. Seems unfair to me, I have gone out there and worked for the last 5 years, within the legal sector, whilst continuing to study part – time and yet because I earn more than someone who is less experience I will be top of the list for redundancy? Pffft maybe next time I should just take minimum wage and be exploited for the experience I have?
But how exactly IS the legal job market doing during this recession? I can see a lot of firms are growing and expanding, mainly within Personal Injury and Consumer Credit, being PPI and financial mis-selling and Commercial Dispute Resolution.
How to get in there? The market is clearly saturated with more candidates for the roles available. How can you ensure you get that job?
For me, my process is simple. The first 24 – 28 hours are crucial .If you don’t act immediately, you will find it will take you a while to get into the process.Within the first 24 hours of finding myself unemployed, I have updated my CV, scoured the internet for all relevant jobs on all job sites that I have the requisite experience for. Should this have happened on a Friday, as it did this time, this would be how I would spend my weekend. As a lot of companies use recruiters nowadays, you will find you have a slow response or that the same job is advertised numerous times but with different recruiters. I then find myself applying to the jobs I don’t want i.e. the customer service roles or general admin – these are the roles which I will do temporarily but not what I would stick with. So over the course of the first 24 – 48 hours I will have applied to at least 50 jobs. Should there not be that many roles out there, I will begin on speculative CV applications where I will write to companies nearby and see if they are hiring. I will usually send about 10 of these applications a day depending on how well the other search is doing. The next working day, usually a Monday, I will ring all the agencies I am already registered with and make aware that I am available for both temporary and permanent roles.
The way I work has not failed me yet, the longest I have spent unemployed and looking for work is 2 weeks, well once it was 6 weeks but that was by choice as I had accepted a role but waited until my exams were over to start as it was unfair both to the company and myself to start and be in for a week and then take time off for my exams.
The best advice I can give, is to not limit yourself, be available for temp work, be prepared to do a role you don’t really want to do and the agencies will work that little bit harder for you. If you don’t have them on your side, then believe me, finding a job will take you even longer. Be prepared to travel. I have a radius of 50 miles where I am willing to commute to for work. Yes it may make your day longer should you be successful, but would you rather be employed or still sat at home watching re-runs of Friends on E4?
People who have seen my CV and know how much I am in and out of work, may think of it as being detrimental. I don’t see it that 1, Yes I have gone from job to job, within a 18 months I think I worked for at least 10 companies, but these were temporary positions. I would be assigned to work somewhere for a few weeks, then move onto the next assignment. I found that temping increased my confidence, going into a new company on a weekly basis – you cant be shy as you will meeting new people constantly. I also gained a lot of experience across different disciplines of Law, which has made me more focused and determined knowing what it is I don’t want to do.