Are you currently looking for a newly qualified (NQ) position but struggling to find a role that matches to your needs and skillset? We spoke to three qualified legal professionals to find out how they secured their NQ roles, why they chose their current firm, and get their views on what to look for in a legal recruiter. Securing an NQ position can often be a challenging and lengthy process for legal professionals. It can often be difficult to find the right firm, choose a recruiter that will listen and find the perfect role. I speak with candidates that are going through the process every day, and each has their own story to tell. I recently sat down with three legal professionals to find out how they secured their NQ positions and to find out how their experience was dealing with Sellick Partnership throughout the process. What were the first steps you took when beginning your search for an NQ position? Shehnaz Rahman Commercial Property Solicitor at Boyes Turner LLP said: The first and most important aspect of securing an NQ position in my opinion is getting your CV up to scratch, so I attended several CV clinics and spent time getting this ready for applying to roles. I then changed my LinkedIn status to let recruiters know I was open to vacancies and started looking for a recruiter that could help with my search. Rosie Deller, Family Solicitor at Rayden Solicitors said: Firstly, I spoke with a previous trainee from my old firm about the NQ process and how to structure CVs. Getting advice from someone that has been through the process is very helpful. After this I redrafted my CV in-line with a precedent received from an NQ information evening. Once I knew my CV was good enough I started having initial conversations with a couple of recruiters – ones that specialised in the areas I wanted work. Laura Jeal, Chartered Legal Executive at Doyle Clayton Solicitors said: I started by updating my CV, to ensure it reflected the diverse range of skills I had gained as a trainee. I had a vague awareness of other firms in the local area but used the Legal 500 to give myself a general idea of the types of firms I wanted to aim for. I also kept an eye on the legal job sites for NQ vacancies and followed up with any recruiters who contacted me about NQ roles. How did you decide what area of law to qualify into? How soon did you know? Shehnaz said: Before I started my training contract I had an interest in property law but wasn’t sure whether to specialise in commercial or residential. During my training contract I had experience in both and enjoyed commercial property the most. That is why it is important to try and gain as much exposure as possible while training as it will really help make your final decision. Rosie said: During my training contract there were two main practice areas – property and family. Personally, I found property incredibly dry and boring, but family law very interesting. I spoke with a couple of family solicitors that I knew about the profession and what it is like once qualified and it only reconfirmed my decision that family law was the right area for me. Laura said: I’ve wanted to work in employment law ever since I started studying. I worked in a call centre before I began my studies and every email from HR had me questioning whether what they were doing was above board (I now know it was, for the record). Since working in an employment law environment, it has underlined its appeal to me, as it has the perfect mix between contentious and non-contentious work. If you could go back in time, what do you now know that you wish you had known at the start of the process? Shehnaz said: When I first started looking for an NQ role I instructed three recruitment agencies, which was completely unnecessary. I think the best approach is to have initial chats with various recruiters to get an understanding of what they have to offer and whether there is a connection between you and the recruiter, if you like them, then instruct them. I found some recruiters pushy and tried to pressure me to interview with firms which were (a) not in my desired specialism (b) not in my desired location. My advice would be to find a recruiter that has your best interests in mind and stick with them. I also started my search in my final seat, however I would suggest starting your search earlier. Rosie said: Do not panic. The market for NQ solicitors was stagnant when I first started looking, and everyone’s situation is very different, so don’t get down about it. For example, my friend had found a suitable role about six months before he was due to qualify, which was very lucky. I decided early on that I did not want to stay at the firm I was training at and the lack of opportunities when I first started looking did not fill me with much hope that I would be able to move roles. Also, do not accept too many approaches from recruiters on LinkedIn. At the start I accepted any recruiter that wanted to connect with me. Rather than simply just accept, I should have researched into them and the company to determine whether they would be the right fit to assist me. I probably wasted more time having initial conversations with other recruiters who were not right to assist me. Laura said: Be patient with your search! Firms aren’t always hiring, and your dream firm may be just around the corner if you’re willing to wait. What attracted you to the firm you are working at? Shehnaz said: Boyes Turner has an extremely strong reputation in Reading and a lot of people from my training firm had moved there, so it was clearly doing something right! It also has an impressive line-up of developer clients. Having now worked here for almost a year, I can certainly say it was the best move/decision I made. It is extremely friendly, transparent and everyone is very supportive. The Partners here are keen to support and develop your knowledge and train you up. Rosie said: Rayden Solicitors is a highly respected and well-ranked law firm. I spoke with several family solicitors in London and they had all mentioned how great Rayden Solicitors was and that I would be happy and be able to progress with them. I had two offers from two firms on the table and decided to take Rayden’s which was a slightly lower salary due to the reputation and career progression that they could offer. Laura said: There were several factors. Firstly, my previous boss and trainee supervisor both came from Doyle Clayton. I respected both as incredible lawyers and knew that was in part because of the training and support they had received at my firm. In addition, Doyle Clayton are ranked as a tier one firm for employment law for the region, which to me means their advice is valued, and they have a diverse range of clients. When I interviewed there, I felt immediately at home and knew it was where I wanted to work. Why did you decide to choose Sellick Partnership to assist you with the search? Shehnaz said: Faith was the first person to contact me on LinkedIn, before I even started looking for NQ positions. Many recruiters sent generic messages to me, however Faith clearly did her research and her initial message was personal to my experience and location. Faith is extremely diligent and hardworking. In comparison to other recruiters out there, she is one of the best recruiters I have come across. Interview prep and understanding the firm you will interview for, are some of the main concerns NQs have. Faith provided extensive guidance on these, so you feel confident when going into the interview. The NQ recruitment market is highly competitive, so you need a recruiter who is proactive and persevering, and Faith can certainly deliver that. Rosie said: After having an initial chat with you, you completely understood my position and the type of role that I wanted. Other recruiters that I spoke with didn’t really listen to the practice area of law and location that I wanted and continued to press me to consider other roles that weren’t suitable. The market after I first spoke to you was stagnant and there was not a lot of vacancies. Rather than send these to me to try and make me consider them in order to place me as quickly as possible, you waited for the right opportunities. Laura said: Faith and I were already connected, and she posted on LinkedIn to say she was keen to speak to NQs in all areas. I arranged a phone call with Faith and we discussed what I was looking for. I knew from the first call that this would be a useful relationship to have. Faith wasn’t just putting me forward for any old vacancy – she considered the type of firms I was looking at, and was able to talk knowledgeably about each firm, their ethos and way of working. I never received anything less than a personal service. No other recruiter could compare. Next steps If you are about to finish your training contract and are looking for an NQ position they get in touch, Faith would be delighted to work with you to find your perfect role, or for further advice you can check out Faith’s blog here. Alternatively, you can check out our latest live legal jobs here.
Actuarial professionals need to keep up-to-date with relevant industry news to ensure they are always ready to deal with changes and developments across the sector, whether they are seeking a new actuarial job or are hoping to progress at their current firm. Here, we run down the top Twitter feeds that actuarial professionals should follow to ensure they remain in the loop. If you are an actuarial professional, then you know that staying up-to-date with the latest industry news can be vital in keeping ahead of financial and business developments that affect the sector. This is particularly important if you are on the lookout for your next career move. Today’s recruiters and employers increasingly want to make sure that their candidates are aware of current affairs and trends, so that they can apply this insight to drive better progression and development for the organisation as a whole. This is where Twitter can become your most valuable resource. Like many sectors, the actuary community is hugely active on Twitter in sharing news, analysis, data, good practice and commentary, as well as providing the opportunity for digital networking and connection-building. If you are new to Twitter or are not quite sure where to start, we have compiled a list of the essential accounts every Actuarial professional should follow. If you think we have missed any that belong on this list, please get in touch and let us know! @TheActuaryMag - The Actuary is the official magazine for the UK actuarial profession, and its Twitter feed is a must-follow for news, features and opinion. @actuarialpost - The Actuarial Post’s Twitter feed shares news, in-depth articles and analysis about the actuarial marketplace, covering topics such as investments, software, lifestyle, insurance and pensions. @actuarynews - The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries is the UK's chartered professional body, dedicated to educating, developing and regulating actuaries based both in the UK and internationally. Its Twitter feed is a mix of company news and events, as well as topical news and information affecting the sector. @CapEconUK - The official Twitter account of Capital Economics UK shares insights, data and research on the UK economy. It also offers commentary and analysis on issues ranging from social housing to manufacturing, the impact of Brexit, retail, oil prices and more. @FT - For all things financial, the Financial Times Twitter feed is the go-to for up-to-date news and information covering a broad range of issues that affect the actuary sector and beyond. @Forbes - Similar to the Financial Times, Forbes is an international publication with a Twitter feed that shares news, information, analysis and commentary relating to the world of business. @ReutersBiz - Sharing business news from around the world, the Reuters Business Twitter account covers finance, markets, tech, world news and politics. @ActuaryByDay - Stuart McDonald is an actuary specialising in mortality and longevity, demographics and pensions. His Twitter feed shares fascinating insights into how global health trends affect risk and decision-making. @gailtheactuary - Actuary Gail Tverberg shares information and data about energy and oil, the limits to these resources, and how these limits are affecting the financial system and our lives. @IntActuarial - This is the official Twitter account for the International Actuarial Association, the worldwide association of professional actuarial associations. The feed posts information about events and webinars, as well as information about relevant white papers and reports. @RoyalStatSoc - The Royal Statistical Society is a membership body that promotes a world with data at the heart of understanding and decision-making. By following its Twitter account, you’ll find out about its latest events, courses and training. @SellickGroup - No actuarial Twitter list would be complete without our own Twitter page! Be sure to follow us for the latest news, events, press and jobs within the actuarial sector. For further information on how to use social media effectively to assist you in your job search, check out our wide-ranging resources for candidates here. If you are ready to kick-start your career today, take a look at our latest actuary jobs. You can also speak to a member of our actuarial recruitment team by calling manager Austin Brislen directly on 0151 224 1480.
Chelsey Newsom, Senior Manager and Equality & Diversity Champion, sat down with Zanub Najmi to discuss how businesses can support staff who are fasting during Ramadhan. Zanub also discusses some top tips for those who are fasting during Ramadhan. Ramadhan is the holy month when Muslims celebrate the revelation of the Holy Quran. It is also a time when Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset, but it is so much more than just abstaining from food and drink. It is a time for spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship. The idea is to be on your best behaviour to attain high reward and carry on with these habits beyond Ramadhan. Ramadhan lasts around 29 to 30 days, and Eid is then celebrated upon the sighting of the moon. Zanub discussed her usual day during Ramadhan. She gets up early in the morning and the Sehri/ Fajr is the closing of the fast and morning prayers and this usually takes place around 4:40am on the first day of Ramadhan and thereafter it goes back 2 minutes every day. The Isha prayer and Tarawee begins at 10:00-10:30am and can sometimes last anything up to 2.5 hours. The Zohar which is the midday prayers takes place at 1:15pm every day and the Asr is the third prayer of the day, at the end of the working day at 6:00pm. Maghrib/Iftaar is the opening of the fast and evening prayer which is usually around 8:30-9:00pm. Zanub highlighted the importance of this part of the day as families usually come together to open their fast. What key things can businesses and managers do to support their staff who are fasting? Flexible working hours Allow those who are fasting during Ramadhan to ideally start later in the day. Those who are fasting will be awake at 4:30am closing their fast and engaging in morning prayers (Sehri and Fajr). Be conscious when booking in meetings When booking in meetings with those who are fasting, think about timings and try to be flexible around prayer times. Offer a safe space to pray While the five prayers are obligatory outside of Ramadhan, Muslims may be more particular about praying on time during this month. For those working within an office, businesses should try and accommodate their staff with a prayer room or some space where they can offer prayers. Be supportive and offer reasonable adjustments Understand that people who are fasting may be feeling tired or unwell, as many often suffer headaches within the first week due to dehydration. Ask them how you could support them through this month and implement any adjustments that may need to be made. Annual leave Some people may request extra time off during the last ten days of Ramadhan, as those are considered to be the most important nights. Many men confine themselves to the mosque dedicating them to worship and women can choose to do the same in their homes to achieve a greater reward. Businesses should try to accommodate these needs where they can, to allow their staff to have a greater spiritual connection. If you notice someone not fasting for the day, don't question it Many people may be exempt from fasting, they have their reasons for not doing so. It is not appropriate to ask or question why someone is or isn't fasting. Top tips for those who are fasting and working Communicate with your manager to let them know that you will be fasting during Ramadhan to see how they can support you. Get some fresh air and go for a walk. Being sat at a desk for most of the day can sometimes feel hard when you are fasting but this helps with keeping you energised. Hydration: Make sure you get your daily recommended water intake before sunrise and after sunset as an opportunity to rehydrate. Have coffee or caffeine at the closing fast gives you an energy boost and can sometimes help reduce the headaches you may get. If you would like some advice about supporting your employees during Ramadhan get in touch with our team today, we would be more than happy to offer some tailored advice.
I am writing this almost 12 months to the day since I packed up my laptop, my diary, a few bits of stationery and my office chair (which turned out to be a great decision) and drove home from our Manchester city centre office, after being told we were all moving to remote working ‘for a while’. My first feelings were ones of positivity – I wouldn’t miss the commute for a start! I was looking forward to a better work/life balance and felt safer working from home in those early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast forward 12 months and I still don’t miss the commute but I do miss my colleagues and the buzz of the office. Of course, home working is nothing new. Working in the legal recruitment sector I often speak with legal locums who advocate the benefits of working from home. However, many childcare locums haven’t been able to take advantage of working from home before because of the need to attend court hearings. Working as part of the legal public sector team at Sellick Partnership, we have witnessed increased demands on the childcare teams within local government as caseloads increase as a direct result of the pandemic; putting extra pressure on resource that is already stretched to the limit. Remote hearings have become the new normal and it appears for many this will continue into the future to varying degrees. The challenges of working from home For many, home working has made it more challenging to switch off in the evening or over the weekend. As a result, many people have found themselves inadvertently working longer hours. Some people also miss the social interaction of working in the office – not having that wider support network of the children’s team around them can be really difficult. There is no longer the opportunity to offload to a colleague after a court hearing or have an impromptu one-to-one with a manager to ask for their advice on a particular care case. You may even be missing being able to process the day’s events and switch off on the commute home. As home working to some degree is here to stay it is important to find ways to manage stress levels and learn to look after our own wellbeing; especially if you find yourself managing a very busy caseload of care proceedings and court hearings. I spoke with Maria Mander, Health and Wellbeing Specialist at The Growth Company and asked for her advice on how as a childcare locum you ensure you look after yourself. Top tips on how to look after mental, emotional and physical wellbeing Maria Mander – Health and Wellbeing Specialist at The Growth Company During a challenging period, your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing will fluctuate, so it is important to invest in yourself on a daily basis. To do this, check-in with yourself everyday to see how you are doing. What do you need right now? Do you have the right strategies to support yourself? Do you require support from others? Make time for yourself You are your greatest asset and you can’t run on empty. There are 24 hours in a day, so set aside 30 minutes into your day for you to switch off and relax, whether it is to watch your favourite TV programme, read a book, play a game, do some gardening, listen to music, cook a new recipe, or have a soak in the bath. Switching off and having time to yourself will relieve stress and help you to be more productive at work. Set daily limits If you are constantly worrying and feeling overwhelmed, set “worry time” to go through your concerns each day. Allow yourself to watch the news once a day to keep informed – that is enough. Tune out of social media and any negative conversations as this won’t serve you. Connect Connection is vital to support your mental wellbeing. Ensure you connect daily with your family, friends, teams and colleagues via video calls (e.g. WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype), phone or email. Schedule chats into your day to make sure they happen. Keep active Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety, plus it will make you feel good. Take a daily walk/run/bike ride during daylight. If staying indoors, there are plenty of online workouts. Keep moving around during the day and take regular breaks from sitting down at your desk/laptop. Take notice Be mindful of your thoughts and observe if they are negative. You are the controller of your mind and master of your thoughts. Focus on what you can control and let go of what you can't. Look for all the good and positive things around you. At the end of each day write down 3 things you are grateful for to cultivate a positive mindset. Learn Use lockdown as an opportunity to learn a new skill. Re-discover an old interest. Do an online course. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Be curious and seek out new opportunities to stimulate the brain. Learning something new also boosts confidence and self-esteem. Give Say thanks, be kind, look out for your neighbours and anyone who is vulnerable in your community. Acts of kindness increases life satisfaction and happiness. A huge thank you to Maria for all the tips above. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It may be as simple as sitting down with your manager and asking for support, making time in your day to call a colleague, friend or family member and catching up or seeking out professional help. You must remember you are not alone and there is support out there for you if you need it. As recruiters our job isn’t simply to help people secure new roles and to remind you to submit a timesheet, it is to also support our legal locums through the whole process and be there when needed if things start getting tough. We are an extension of your professional network and we love to talk! So please don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, we are here to help. Maria Mander Maria Mander is a Health & Wellbeing Specialist at The Growth Company. She is a renowned expert in employee wellbeing and provides specialist advice on the Skills For Growth Programme supporting SME’s across Greater Manchester to develop a healthy, thriving and productive workforce for business success. For the last 3 years, Maria operated her own company providing Wellbeing Consultancy providing strategic direction to SME’s and corporate companies (both private and public sectors) across the UK and globally. She was an award winner on the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme. Maria brings a fresh holistic approach to wellbeing in the workplace applying techniques gained from being a Life Coach, an accredited Mindfulness & Meditation Tutor and Reiki Master Practitioner. She is passionate about inspiring others to make positive changes in their lives, both personally and professionally.
Everyone experiences some form of stress in their lives. Be that stress at home or work, we all struggle from time-to-time. But stress isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, stress can be a benefit just as much as it can be a hinder – if you know how to manage it and use it to your advantage. Our Internal Talent & Wellbeing Manager Simon Briffa looks at what you can do to help manage stress and remain healthy and motivated.. When thinking about the benefits of stress it is important to view it as anything that alters our homeostasis (the state of steady internal, physical, and chemical conditions maintained by living systems). Good stress therefore is vital for a healthy life, but bad stress can have a hugely detrimental impact on our wellbeing and ability to remain motivated and productive. In order to counteract the negative consequences of stress we need to be able to recognise it, manage it and change our surroundings to help deal with it. I wanted to draw upon author Stephen Covey’s four dimensions of Human Needs and offer some tips on what you can do to help your own wellbeing. Stephen Covey’s four dimensions of Human Needs Steven Covey states that we need four things to “maintain and improve the implement that is you”, and in turn stay motivated and productive. He breaks these down into four dimensions: physical, mental, spiritual and social/emotional. Although not directly related to stress management, I do believe that we can greatly reduce stress in our day-to-day lives by working on these four dimensions. At Sellick Partnership, we truly believe this and spent time throughout the COVID-19 pandemic focusing on one of these areas each Wednesday in our ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ initiative. Here are some of the things we started doing to help our staff manage their own stress, and raise awareness of keeping healthy, physically and mentally at work and at home. Physical/Body – keeping fit, eat well avoid bad things This one is simple. If we look after our physical selves, our mental health will be in much better shape. It is therefore important to keep active and eat healthily. Even getting out for a small walk or getting some fresh air greatly helps to reduce stress. That is why we always actively encourage all our employees to take their full lunch each day. We also gave everyone one extended lunch per week and held regular incentives designed around getting people out and about. Getting away from the desk and switching off for a period of time each day is hugely important and will help keep your mind fresh and ensure you stay motivated. Mind – nourish your brain Engaging your mind and doing something that helps you use all parts of your brain is hugely important in reducing stress. If you are constantly working, remain on the go and only using your brain for work then you will burn out very quickly. Using your mind for other activities will help you relax and destress. Taking yourself away and doing something you enjoy is important here. You might want to read a good book, listen to your favourite podcast or music or simply catch up on your favourite TV show. Whatever you choose, make sure it works for you. Heart/Social/emotional – surround yourself by good people, take good advice, be kind listen to others Human contact and interaction is one of the best ways for us to de-stress. I am sure a lot of you will use socialising with friends at the weekend as a way to relax after a hectic week. This has recently become more difficult, but not impossible! If you usually go out on a Friday night, why not set up a video conference instead. Apps like House Party and Zoom make socialising virtually easier than ever. We see the benefit of this and are ensuring our teams are in regular contact throughout the day. We have set up a companywide WhatsApp Group, have given everyone access to video conferencing software and are holding regular companywide incentives to keep morale up. This is hugely important for us. We are one big family at Sellick Partnership, and not staying in touch would greatly impact our culture. Staying in touch helps us ensure our staff’s mental and physical wellbeing are catered for, and in turn reduces stress, and increases morale and productivity across the business. Giving back is also a great way of reducing stress. Getting involved with volunteering, supporting charities and general CSR initiatives are proven to lift moods, so get involved and help others where possible. This again, is something that is really important to Sellick Partnership and we encourage all of our staff to get involved where they can. Spiritual – who you are, your values and behaviours Looking after your mental wellbeing, and reducing stress relies on you being happy with who you are. Not everyone relates to spirituality, but everyone can take a few minutes just to be with themselves and relax, and that is what this is all about. To reduce stress in your day-to-day it is important to get in touch with your personal values and your mission which will be unique to you – so do this in whatever way feels most comfortable to you. Meditation, yoga and prayer are all great ways of doing this. You might also feel like taking yourself into a room to read a book or listen to music. Do whatever helps you to relax and get in touch with yourself, and spend some time de-stressing away from everything else that is going on. Doing something you enjoy away from your home workspace will help you de-stress and will be beneficial to your overall wellbeing. You might also want to read motivational books or listen to podcasts that will help you stay motivated. That is what we have done. We asked our Board of Directors to give us one thing they have read or listened to that has helped them recently and we have given our staff access to these materials. Some of these things can even be done while working. Having something inspirational playing in the background during the day helps so many people deal with stress. Those are just four areas we think are imperative to dealing with stress both at work and at home. There will be loads of other tips, so if these do not work for you then don’t worry. Visit the Stress Management website for lots of additional tools to help you deal with stress your way.