Extra-curricular activities to set you apart from the crowd when seeking paralegal roles
Millie Swaby-Pritchard, an LPC graduate and paralegal shares how you can get involved in a number of extra-curricular activities to make sure you stand out from the sea of applicants when applying for roles as a paralegal.
Like many other applicants seeking paralegal roles, when I began job-hunting I had to understand what set me apart from other candidates. Paralegal roles can be very competitive, with lots of candidates applying to one position. This sometimes means that good grades or work experience alone doesn’t always ensure success.
How to standout from other candidates
I realised employers are usually seeking 2 key components to their candidates: character and knowledge.
- Knowledge includes your ability to perform the role and includes work and academic experience.
- Character defines everything outside of your ability to complete the role which defines you as a person.
On the most basic level, a law firm is a business whose greatest asset is their talent. Employers for paralegal roles will therefore be seeking the top talent for their roles. In this situation, standing out often depends on candidates successfully blending both character and knowledge.
Your character becomes important right from the start of the application process during the consideration of CVs. For example, an employer could have 200 applicants whose knowledge appears perfect for their role. However, the employer doesn’t have the time or resources to interview all 200 candidates.
This is when they will look for other valuable aspects to the candidates within their CVs, i.e. their character. On a CV, your character is often evidenced by your extra-curricular activities.
Paralegal job searching
When I was seeking paralegal roles, I sought out a variety of extra-curricular activities which I believe was key to getting through to the interview stage of the application process.
Below are some ideas of extra-curricular activities you could get involved with to help boost your CV.
- Additional certifications – For example research certificates or intensive short courses about legal areas you are interested in. Undertaking additional certifications evidences your eagerness to learn independently and to develop skills. Employers desire candidates who will become more valuable, and gaining or refining skills certainly contributes to this.
- Charity or volunteer work– this demonstrates a number of key attributes such as team work, empathy and a desire to help others (which is vital to client relationships). If you are seeking employment at larger firms this also shows alignment with any corporate social responsibility they administer.
- Legal blogging or vlogging – This could include featuring on an established site or creating your own. This would evidence knowledge of the industry and technological literacy which is becoming increasingly important within the industry.
- Participating in something you genuinely enjoy – Employers want to get to know you as a person to determine how you will fit within their firm. Displaying participation in activities you enjoy, such as sports or music, is often very good for showcasing your personality and your dedication to pursuing things you are interested in.
In turn making you more attractive to employers and hopefully increasing your chances of landing the perfect paralegal role.
Generally speaking, varying the extra-curricular activities you participate in is beneficial for demonstrating a broad range of qualities and transferable skills to an employer.
By being creative with what extra-curricular activities you participate in it is arguably easier to demonstrate a strong character.
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