By DebbieH 03 Sep 2018 7 min read

ILSPA: The key steps in securing a legal secretary role

We’ve collaborated with the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PA’s to bring you a special blog today. ILSPA has kindly provided us with an outline of the key steps to securing a role as a legal secretary.

Legal secretaries, that is, quality legal secretaries, are in great demand. If you have qualifications in the role, such as ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma, you’ll likely have an advantage in securing the job you want.

Securing a job as a legal secretary puts you on the path to a higher, and certainly more profitable position. But aside from qualifications, there are key steps you can take which ILSPA have kindly shared with us:


Prepare for the jobseeker process

Before you start applying for jobs, plan out carefully what information you would like to provide your potential employer with. Many people take for granted the content they include on their CV today. Including key skills related to the role, for example is essential.

Think of yourself as the product and the employer as the customer. How can you sell yourself to them? Include the experience and attributes that matters most to them.

Assess yourself honestly – you may have transferable skills from a past role that can be applied. You might even have some experience as a legal secretary already.

Recruiters can be choosy when selecting the right person for the job, but if you feel that you could succeed in the role you are applying for, take that chance and be prepared to explain what you think you could achieve in it.


Tailor your CV and cover letter

A CV is the first insight a recruiter gets of you. It should be easy enough for them to scan through it and find what they are looking for. Include key skills and words in your CV that the employer might be looking for. For example, preparing court forms, performing legal research, securing appointments with clients.

A high quality CV will boost your chance of making a good first impression on an employer, so ensure that it is tailored to the position. The presentation should be neat, professional and precise.

The same applies to your cover letter. Stick to the point and highlight the reasons why you wish to work at this particular organisation, in a legal secretary role. Recruiters receive a lot of applications for a vacancy, so your cover letter must catch their attention. An employer is interested in not only you, but also how they can benefit from employing you.


Honing a positive attitude

Searching for a job you love can be straining, and take up alot of your time. This can easily affect your outlook on job hunting – but stay positive. Have confidence in your ability, and welcome any feedback regarding your job search/interview process. ILSPA’s Legal Secretary Journal includes helpful articles on positive thinking, communicating assertively and gaining confidence – all skills which can aid your positive attitude while you look for a job.


Applying for positions

Whether you’re looking for a role to break in to the legal profession, or you are moving firms, you might want to look at the various legal secretary roles available to you. From junior and trainee positions, to those that require someone with secretarial experience, or a Legal Secretary qualification, any of them could be suitable, or unsuitable for you.

If you’re lacking experience, recruiters are very willing to employ people with recognised legal secretarial qualifications and good secretarial skills.


Consider what you’ll say at interview stage

If you’re CV is impressive enough, you’ll likely be asked to interview for the role you applied for. This is your first meeting with a potential employer, so you have to make the most of this opportunity.

Remember the purpose of your interview – the recruiter is looking to assess your suitability for the role and compare your abilities with other candidates. Think about the questions you’ll likely be asked about your experience, skills and day to day role, and make sure you’re prepared to answer in a positive and self-assured manner.

Interviews may differ depending on who is conducting them, so be prepared for various approaches. Don’t give the recruiter any reason to think you’re not interested – ask questions, and follow up on what they’ve said. Recruiters want to see that you are enthusiastic about the role. When the interview ends, ask about  next stages and when you can expect to hear from them.


Prepare for the aftermath

After applying for a role, or interviewing, you won’t always hear back. Recruiters receive a lot of job applications, so they may not have much time to respond to all applicants.

Don’t let this put you off – continue applying for jobs, even if you’re not 100% suitable for that particular role. There are likely plenty of vacancies you can apply for where you match the requirements.

The most important thing to reap from any experience is to get feedback. This will help you to improve future applications or interviews. Think about how you can change what you did/said previously to increase your chances of succeeding next time round.

Careful preparation is vital when preparing for a job, but provided you do it right, you will succeed eventually.


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About the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PA’s

The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) is a professional body who are dedicated to your career every step of the way. Whether you would like to become a Legal Secretary or you would like to advance your Legal Secretary career, they are there to support you through your journey.  For more information visit