Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to find a new job?

There are lots of ways of looking for work, and as the job market contracts, it becomes harder to find jobs.

In some professions it can turn into a hunt for a needle in a haystack. Not so long ago, the property market was booming and estate agents, solicitors and mortgage brokers were in great demand. Recruitment agencies reported that there was a large surplus of jobs and no candidates to fill them.

In early 2008, the property market collapsed and suddenly there were lots of conveyancing lawyers and estate agents looking for work and no jobs for them to go into.

This got worse in the months to follow as there were less and less jobs and more and more people looking for work. Redundancies were rife across the market and instead of having vacancies free, companies found themselves with lots of candidates applying for work.

This mirrors previous slumps in the market in other fields and is often the case when a large portion of the market suddenly stops being economically viable and lots of candidates are suddenly competing for very few jobs.

So where do you look for work in such a market?

1. Register with a recruitment agency

Registering with a recruitment agency can be one of the easiest ways of finding work as recruitment agents often have jobs coming into them that are not necessarily found elsewhere. A particular example of this is where the recruitment agent has a good relationship with the firm and the firm instruct them that they are just interested in seeing CVs coming through. When this happens there are plenty of possibilities for you, but of course, recruitment agents are operating in the same market as you are, and it does not follow that there will be lots of jobs immediately available for you to consider. However, when jobs do come up, it is important to be on the mailing lists because recruitments agents faced with lots of candidates will simply email or contact them all to let them know of a new opportunity and with plenty of choice, the vacancy will have gone within no time at all.

It is also beneficial to register with a recruitment agent because a recruitment agent can do some of the hard work for you, in that when a firm are advertising a vacancy, they will often advertise them with agents as well as on job boards.

2. Local and National Press

Again, a very common source of work. Most companies will first of all thing of advertising in their local newspaper which means of course that the job board will also have plenty of opportunities on as well as this is usually linked to local and national media job advertising.

These can be a good source and traditionally the strongest way of finding work.

Of course, it depends on your profession and area, but local and national press are usually a good indication of the job market and it is important to keep an eye on posts being advertised there.

3. Trade Magazines or Publications

This is really dependent on your profession and area, but for example, in the legal profession, the Law Society Gazette and The Lawyer are the two main publications and the Law Society Gazette accounts for a very high percentage of all job vacancies in the legal profession. It should be noted that this is job vacancies being advertised, and a lot of vacancies at senior and middle level are not advertised as firms simply contact recruitment agents or receive details off recruitment agents and recruit directly from them.

4. Networking

Networking is slightly awkward in the sense of finding work, and often people find work through their circles of friends as opposed to more external networks. External networks tend to be slightly more awkward to just go and find work in as you will be approaching strangers and effectively asking for a job.

5. Speculative Applications

If you can identify a niche or specific area or a certain type of company, it may be worth going and making direct applications directly to those companies and see what the result is. It is possible that you will find that for every application you make, particularly in a poor job climate, you may get a response every 30 letters or even every 100 letters but if you are in need of work, it is certainly worth trying.

In summary, there are plenty of ways to look for work, but it all depends on what you are looking for and where, as it is important to have a strategy formulated before you start. In a poor job market it certainly takes a bit of effort to be able to source work.

Jonathan Fagan is a legal recruitment consultant with Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. You can contact him at

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