How to stand out from the Paralegal crowd?

Recent LLB or LPC graduate? Or just thinking about a new legal job? Read on – we are busy, busy, busy! My inbox is bursting. Since the weekend, I have received far in excess of 500 applications; that is a lot of CVs to go through but I have a lot of roles to fill. We are recruiting for paralegals in-house and within private practice in London, Bristol, Bath and Cambridge, to name just a handful of locations in the South. Our clients are seeking motivated, capable individuals across a range of practice areas.

How do I deal with this volume of applications? I’m fairly ruthless – I have to be. Managing this number of emails on a daily basis is very time consuming – how on earth have I got time to write a blog?! As I walked back to my desk this morning after dropping my children at school, this was my exact thought. But here I am putting pen to paper – literally, typing it up after the old fashioned way!

Each day I think it’s good to spend some time reflecting, prioritising and regaining focus. I’m a list person, but sometimes it just needs action! Small steps in the right direction – the same can be said for looking for a job and progressing your career. Job hunting can be daunting especially if you haven’t really done it before and you don’t have much experience. Here are a few things to think about if you are looking for that elusive role:-

• What job do you want – practice area/type of firm, F/T, P/T etc? Why?
• What salary do you need/want? Is it realistic?
• What locations can you consider and how soon can you start?
• Do you have a career goal or is the job just for the here and now?
And remember – your first job may not be your dream job but hopefully a useful and enjoyable stepping stone.

Having worked in recruitment for the last 15 years, I have seen thousands of CVs and applications. I love helping people move forward in their careers and want to give people a chance but the initial CV screen has to be swift. I have to be realistic about who I can help. Don’t expect too much, I can’t promise you a job. But I will give you advice and talk through how I can help and what you can do to help yourself – how can you stand out from the crowd when you only have limited experience?

Here a few quick tips on your CV:-
• 2 pages is good, make sure it is up to date.
• Clients want to know your A Level grades and LPC electives.
• Showcase your work experience – 3 months is more valuable than 1 week so add dates. What did you do? What did you get out of it?
• Does it reflect you as an individual?
• Above all, is it a document you are proud of?

An initial glance at a CV and it has to engage the reader – let your education, experience and enthusiasm shine through. After you have applied to a role, feel free to pick up the phone – call me, tell me why you’re right for the role. People buy from people and it’s not all about what you have done so far – attitude, aspirations and ambition, they all matter. I can read people quickly, I get people and I find people interesting – their similarities, differences and what motivates them. I don’t judge, I listen – we all have a different story to tell. That story is what gets you a job – learning from what you have done so far, thinking about what you want to do going forward and putting it into a CV, an application and an interview.

Be the best that you can be. Create a first impression that lasts. I’ve never been speed dating but a minute is quite a long time to chat to someone if you have nothing in common; a bit like reading a CV full of mistakes, an application from someone who appears wildly unsuitable for the job and doesn’t demonstrate any transferable skills or enthusiasm, or interviewing someone who doesn’t seem to want to be there. This is certainly not the first time that recruitment and dating have been compared – we match jobs to candidates, candidates to jobs. Relationships matter, work matters – we give a lot to our careers and want to get it right and be happy. In recruitment we play a part in this and it’s a job that I take a great deal of pride in – fitting the missing piece into the jigsaw; wanting the best for candidates and clients. I’m honest about which candidates I can help and which roles we can add value to. Clients and candidates place trust in recruiters – not only to submit the right CV or application, but also in terms of organisational fit.

Chadwick Nott have a specialist paralegal division. Current vacancies in the South include:-
• Knowledge Paralegal – London
• Contracts Specialist Paralegal (In-house) – Bristol
• Commercial Property Paralegal (In-house) – Bristol
• Private Client Paralegal – Bath
• Real Estate Paralegal – London
• Claims Handler – Bristol
• Litigation Assistant – Cambridge

A number of the roles I am working on at the moment are suitable for those who have recently finished their LLB or LPC and gained some legal work experience, so if this is you or someone you know please do get in touch. I also have a lot of roles for very experienced paralegals and Legal Executives.

Not forgetting if you have a paralegal role to fill, Chadwick Nott would be delighted to help so please do email or call me. I can give you pragmatic and informed advice while working hard to find you the right person/people.

Sarah Boxall is an experienced Associate in the Chadwick Nott paralegal team focussing on the South. She can be contacted on or 0203 096 4545 / 07795 978232.

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