Articles From the Team
I’m looking for a new legal job – how many applications should I make?
This is a tricky question with no straightforward answer. Interestingly, I come across two types of candidates.
Those who only want to apply for one particular job
At the beginning of your legal job search it’s important to have clear reasons as to WHY you’re looking to leave your current law firm. This helps you to identify what you do and don’t want from your next role. You may have seen a job advert that fits your requirements perfectly, and as such, you might be unwilling to explore other options until you know the outcome of that particular job application.
While it’s good to be clear about what you want, there are a few things to remember. Firstly, you may not get that particular job. While you can control your application to a certain extent (e.g. making your CV the best it can be, preparing well for your interview etc.), you can’t control who else is applying for the job at that time, and what the “ideal candidate” looks like to the law firm in question. You can do everything right, but there’s still a chance you won’t get that job and by limiting yourself to only one “perfect” option, you close the door on other opportunities.
While you can control your application to a certain extent, you can’t control who else is applying for the job at that time, and what the “ideal candidate” looks like to the law firm in question.
We always advise that where possible, it’s best to make a number of applications even if your heart’s set on one specific opportunity. It’s always wise to have a source of comparison; this can help solidify what’s important to you.
A good legal recruiter will always advise you on which firms to approach. In addition, by making the applications within a controlled timeframe, it can really help manage the process with timescales/offers further down the line.
Those who make multiple applications with no particular focus
On the other side of the spectrum, I see candidates who come to us when they’ve already made numerous applications; either directly or through a plethora of agents.
While it’s good to remain open-minded about opportunities and not limit yourself, if you apply to every single firm in a certain city (whether there’s a live vacancy or not) with no established focus or thought as to what you actually want, you can end up making it more difficult for yourself. In this situation, candidates lose track of what they’ve applied for and it never looks good if firms are receiving multiple applications from the same lawyer.
If you choose to use a legal recruiter they can keep track of your applications for you, provide you with details of suitable live vacancies, advise on speculative approaches, and ultimately manage the process for you.
There are no hard and fast rules about how many applications to make – it’s a situation-specific question and one a good legal recruiter can help you with!