To Get Noticed, Get Behind the System
Along with the “digitalisation” of all aspects of our economy, legal job vacancies are now almost always advertised online, together with an online application process. Employers generally like this because:
- They are likely to have an agreed corporate protocol for recruitment, and, once set up, a templated online recruitment ad allows them to tick a string of boxes in the protocol with the click of a mouse.
- It enables them to receive and handle large numbers of applications, even if the attention they give to all but a handful of them is cursory in the extreme.
When it comes to actually hiring, though, employers tend to regard online application as just one of many channels that will bring a selection of suitable candidates to their short list.
For the applicant, then, the online application model has some frustrating drawbacks – notably the experience of submitting applications for jobs he or she sees as exciting opportunities, and then hearing nothing back. So the convenience of the online process is also a wall between you and your prospective employer. But there are some ways you can get behind that wall.
As we have seen, while the online process may be the “public face” of any particular job opportunity, that doesn’t mean it’s the employer’s best channel for recruitment.
The ease with which an employer can grow a CV database means that unless they are particularly diligent (in which case you probably WILL have heard back from them, even if in the form of a rejection) a lot of its records will languish uninspected. Your application, unless the employer has a particular reason to pay attention to it, will simply be joining that graveyard.
So what can you do?
In the first place, the online “transformation” is far from complete, and many jobs, including those that are advertised online, are filled by other, more traditional methods. These can include internal placement, informal networking and the use of a recruitment service. So don’t rely on the online process alone to get you noticed.
Choose the right targets – look for well-written ads that speak clearly to a need for skills that you have. A sloppily drafted job ad is likely to attract a lot of speculative applications, making it even more likely that yours will be lost in the dross.
Research your target – hone your Google skills. Search for news and projects related to your target. Search for information and background on the key players in the field or department you are interested in. Mentioning a paper your interviewer has published shows diligence, particularly if it relates to an achievement in your CV. Check LinkedIn for connections you may have in common, and try to find connections who can give you useful information about key personnel in your target, or perhaps arrange an introduction.
Cold call – it’s very personally confronting, but can, if your research has correctly identified the person you need to approach, and if you genuinely have what the employer is after, be very effective.
Work with a Recruitment Service– good recruiters, well established in your field, will use any and all of these methods to match employees with vacancies. Our stock in trade is the body of relationships we have built up over the years, which offers our employees a short cut through the steps listed above.
At Burgess Paluch we work closely with our lawyers to assist them in achieving their long term goalsguiding you through the job seeking process and creating a successful partnership. If you are thinking about a move or just want some advice, contact us to arrange a confidential chat with one of our experienced consultants.