Traditionally, both in higher education and professional disciplines, there are specific indicators of success or ability. These days: our Australian Tertiary Admission Rank; grade point average; tertiary degree and the institution whereby such a degree is attained – are key markers of success. Additionally, with the sharp advance of individuals today with a higher degree qualification, the difficultly for graduates to find a job is intensifying. Which brings me to the question; do these markers of success matter?
The short answer is – yes. As Romanelli, an expert in professional success explains that employers are increasingly scrutinising candidates; this is due to a nationwide shortage of professional jobs with the proliferation of professional degrees and consequently, graduates. This turn of events causes employers to use greater scrutiny when recruiting, as hundreds (if not thousands) of university graduates compete to wedge their foot in the same, undersized, door.
So, you ask – ‘how do I stand out from the crowd – how can I get the job?’ Basically, each recruiter, employer or workplace seeks something distinctive, so never overlook your own unique skills and accomplishments. What matters is how relevant your skills are and whether they align to the job at hand. Don’t highlight your passion for fashion if you aspire to work at a Top Tier Law Firm! In the current climate it is not only vital that you attain the best results you can throughout your degree – but also enthusiastically seek experiences that may allow you to gain expertise in the field you seek to work. Employers these days can take their pick from the pool of candidates available to them. Therefore, don’t sink, swim. Make yourself the best you can be and standout from the crowd, below are some helpful hints to get you started.
Firstly, volunteer or attain practical work experience! Listen to the Dalai Lama: “The stupid way to be selfish is… seeking happiness for ourselves alone… the intelligent way to be selfish is to work for the welfare of others.” Prove yourself to your targeted employer by demonstrating relevant experience. There is no point in attaining customer service experience in a popular surf shop if you aim to work as a property lawyer; obviously, the more appropriate the work or volunteer experience, the better.
Secondly, get yourself a clerkship (or four)! More often than not leading firms employ their clerks directly, so do yourself a favour and BE THAT GRADUATE.
Thirdly, join the Law Student Society and recognise each brand-new friend as a brand-new link in your network. Additionally, don’t be afraid to attend networking functions and get involved with as many extracurricular activities as your time allows – be confident, be cool and be involved.
Finally, develop your mock trial and mooting skills. Such skills demonstrate confidence to an employer and reflect true experience in applying theory in real-world situations.
Is it all as easy as following the aforementioned four steps? NO WAY. Don’t stop there. Never stop there. Make calls, meet lawyers, don’t just take every opportunity that comes your way but make every opportunity come your way. Fuel your own fire and land yourself that job you never thought was possible.
 Frank Romanelli, Jeff Cain, and Kelly M. Smith, ‘Emotional intelligence as a predictor of academic and/or professional success’ (2006) 70 American journal of pharmaceutical education3.