Landing that first internship – how to get ahead in law
If you’re studying law at university, you’re probably already well aware that employers will expect you to have completed internships throughout the course of your study. With a large number of undergraduate and postgraduate law students in Australia, how do you get that first internship with so much competition for spots?
The dreaded networking word
Everyone will tell you network network network. That’s great if you have family or close friends in the industry. However if you don’t, it’s extremely frustrating to hear. There are lots of other ways to make those connections if you know where to look.
Use the university resources you have available to you
Talk to your faculty advisor, lecturers or tutorial group leaders as they may hear more about opportunities than you do. Within your faculty there may also be alumni and career events that you should attend to build up your network and hear about potential opportunities.
Visit the university careers department. They will have a jobs board which may have opportunities on it, or know of firms that regularly look for interns. They can also help you with the resume and cover letter you’ll need when applying for potential internships.
Social media, yes or no?
Don’t be afraid to use social media here. Putting it out there to extended friends and family that you’re looking for an internship at a law firm is a great way to use that extended network to your advantage and also get the word out quickly to a larger group. A cautionary note here though – make sure your social media is only filled with the types of things you’d like potential employers to see and any old posts or photos don’t highlight what an asset you’d be as an employee are wiped.
Spread the net wide
When hunting for an internship think small as well as big. Obviously the big law firms will offer more students places, but smaller firms can offer different types of opportunities and responsibilities. The larger ones usually have a set internship program, whereas smaller ones often are guided by what work they currently have on and where they need an extra pair of hands.
Look online and at industry relevant publications. Some firms will put internship opportunities on the big jobs boards, some will place them on legal websites or in legal publications. If you’re interested in a particular area of law, know which publications or sites are relevant to it and explore any careers sections they have.
Always remember the resume basics
Don’t forget the basics. Just like applying for any job, make sure your resume and cover letter are tailored to each opportunity you’re applying for, that there are no spelling or grammar errors and that you’ve remembered to include basic contact details so they can get in touch.