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.
The rising costs of childcare are forcing many parents out of work and mums who are returning to work after having their children are finding it more difficult after paying for their childcare - they have little money left and find themselves working for little to no monetary reward. According to recent research, in almost a quarter of families where both parents worked prior to their children being born, one parent had to give up their salary and a further quarter have had to cut the hours they work for financial reasons. With childcare and commuting costs forever on the up, parents have to seriously consider whether it's worth both of them working, especially if they have two children to pay childcare for. A recent move for government to increase tax relief will certainly make a huge difference with many families, also allowing parents to claim for five years and over, ultimately impacting on their decisions regarding work. It often feels that the system is against working parents; from school opening times, the timing of school events, parent's evenings, to the plays that our children participate in being held in the middle of the day, there can be little consideration for working parents. Here at Sellick Partnership, our culture pays attention to working parents and is different to other businesses in that every individual is taken into consideration in regards to their personal circumstances. We have many employees who are working parents and with the new flexible working initiative that has just been introduced, allowing for working hours to be more flexible together with part-time options, it gives the opportunity for a much improved work-life balance, which is so important to a lot of working parents and the demands put on them. This initiative has been put in place to help parents fit home and work commitments together with more ease. Children need to be able to see their parents and spend quality time with them. At Sellick Partnership you are given the opportunity to enjoy parenthood but balance it with your professional life. For more information and to see what we can do for you, visit our careers website here or contact me on 0161 834 1642.
We use energy every day in many different ways; the human body contains large quantities of energy which fuels our ever yday activities. There are many things that can affect our energy levels and 'zappers' are all around us. We've all noticed how the energy of an entire room can change whenever certain people enter it - one person inspires and uplifts you whilst another person can make you feel drained and exhausted, wanting to run to the nearest exit in order to escape them! When you come into a contact with someone you find drains your energy, you have a choice as to whether to distance yourself from the person or allow them to change your mood for the worse. Happy people attract other happy people and those who are moan and groan at the slightest thing will draw similar energy. Each of us brings energy to our family, friends, colleagues, clients and even the stranger we're sitting next to on the train. A way to think about it is that everything on the planet vibrates, including people, and we give out either a high or a low vibration. A high vibration will be generated from feelings like happiness, confidence and respect, whilst a low vibration comes from emotions such as stress, anger and depression. People who have the same vibrational level are magnets to one another. There are of course other factors that affect our energy aside from the people we interact with on a daily basis including how much sleep/rest we've had, the type of food we're eating and how active we are. All of these factors make a difference to how we feel, behave and perform. Below are some tips to help boost your energy levels and make sure your energy is a positive one; Eat a balanced diet and remember to have breakfast as giving your body some fuel at the start of the day will help your energy levels Take a brisk 10 minute walk if you are feeling lethargic during the day; this is guaranteed to lift your mood and your energy Drink more water; even slight dehydration can make you feel tired and lethargic Cut down on caffeine and sugary treats as, whilst they provide a short term energy fix, they won't benefit you in the long term Learn to relax and unwind! Find something that helps you switch off and escape the world for a while - this could be something as simple as reading a book, playing some music, or taking part in your favourite sport Take a break - stepping away from whatever you're doing, even if only for a short time, can make you feel more refreshed when you return to that task Make sure you have plenty of rest and do your best to ensure you have a good night's sleep Switch off your mobile and laptop/tablet about an hour before you go to bed Look at the colour red - this colour can actually kick you into high gear. Seeing the fiery colour makes your muscles move faster and work harder, giving you a burst of energy Surround yourself with people that you know give off 'good energy' - You will pick up on their vibrations and that in turn will benefit you If you have to deal with someone who you find draining, mentally prepare yourself beforehand, take some deep breaths, visualise yourself protected against their negativity, remain calm, take control of the situation and don't allow the situation to control you. Have you considered what type of energy you are giving out and how this affects other people that you come into contact with? Leave your thoughts and techniques for dealing with negative energy in the comments below.
I've known about lean thinking for five years and am starting to see it filter into many different sectors; my view is that lean is going impact on all sectors in the foreseeable future and will have a positive impact across the board. Lean thinking can be applied to any organisation in any sector - although lean's origins are largely from a manufacturing sector, the principles and techniques can be transferred to a range of other sectors such as healthcare, financial services, and even in recruitment. But what is lean thinking? Ultimately, it's about maximizing value minimizing waste, with the aim to produce a high standard outcome with the least amount of resources or waste. The first step is to define What looks good, what does the end user want, and how does it look in an ideal world? The second step is measuring Measure the current product to the 'what looks good' product, look at what's different and how the results will differ. You need to prove that the end product will be better - not just say it will. This stage involves a lot of data collecting and analysing to prove your theory, but it will be worth it! Then, analyse What you are currently doing and, most importantly, why are you doing it? What is the reason why the process is done in that particular way, is it a regulation? Is it a requirement? Or is it 'just because it's the way it's done'? It's at this stage where some processes will be classed as waste. You're doing them because that's the way it is done and has been for years but it doesn't necessarily make it the right way. Fourth step is to improve What can you improve and where? This is where blue sky thinking comes into play - think outside the box be daring and creative with your suggestions. I have seen regulations change due to this very method so don't be shy cut out all the admin, the extra clicks of a button, and the duplications on systems that don't actually have a purpose to the end user or the organisation. Fifth step - control Once you have identified the waste and created the new improved process you then need to control it. Review the process with these five steps each time get feedback from colleagues, managers and the end user and you will see the difference and the time you save not to mention the money that's saved. Have you taken part in lean thinking, or do you think there are more effective ways to create efficiency in the workplace? Leave your thoughts and experiences below.
We all know that teamwork is the buzzword of choice for many in the workplace, but how often do you think about why such importance is placed on it? With the upcoming Bank Holidays in May around the corner, I considered the affect teamwork has during times of disruption in the office... "Teamwork is important because it supports a more empowered way of working, promotes flexibility and responsiveness, promotes the sense of achievement and enables tasks to be accomplished at a faster pace." Here at Sellick Partnership, there is a true sense of teamwork within the entire business, coming from the people who directly work with one another on a day to day basis and the support teams such as payroll and marketing. As a prime example of this, whilst away on annual leave my colleagues shared my personal work load and made sure that everything was communicated and completed to the highest standard that is expected. With this in mind, the knock on effect is that you can actually switch off and relax during time away from the office, which is certainly needed as our industry is very pressurised, fast paced and demanding. To have a successful team culture, there are a number of aspects that need to be in place and continually be developed: Setting clear goals and a team vision Communication Organisation Listening to others Hiring the right type of people Team building projects and exercises Accountability. At Sellick Partnership our values are Passionate, Respected and Engaging - and this transcends to create a great team working environment which provides the highest quality and standard in what we do. If you would like to know more about our culture or working for us, visit our careers microsite.