Wednesday, 20 July 2011

MLitt - Master of Letters

Scandal is all around us. Police, politicians, billionaires, and even notable squillionaires have felt the sting following News of the World's ignominy. But to me, as to many, the greatest scandal of all is my lack of a job. Now, I've come close. Real close. A few times. And into my third year of trying I don't feel like chucking up the spongy sponge just yet. The real difficulty I have is with assessment centres; the big AC, the Colosseum, the Lion's den, the Savage Snake-pit, the..errr..old..Gruffalo Hut.

If I cherry-pick the various successes I've had over the four assessment centres I've been to, it jigsaws neatly into the perfect day. I sometimes wonder if I can put this fact on my CV, but I don't want to run the risk of having oily fish heads thrown at me. But whatever the weather in AC land, it's always sunny in application..ville! Oh yes, i'm a singing whippoorwill when it comes to getting my foot on the first rung of that knackered old ladder. That's because I know how to do it. I especially know how to write covering letters and CVs. I do you know. I wish I could make a six figure salary out of it. I could you know. And to my mind, the numbers game shouldn't be discouraged too much, as long as you know what you're doing. Possibly to the dismay of those law firms who consider themselves the cat's meow, the numbers game is very necessary in this most trying of years.  

So I manufactured me some rules! What are them rules? If i'm interested in a particular firm, I'll give the application the time it deserves. I reckon I can fire out an on-line application in about four-ish hours, including editing etc. A covering letter shouldn't take quite as long. But this, of course, isn't the numbers game. Last November I sent out twenty CVs and covering letters and I have six interviews lined up this summer. Some are for my dream firms. Some are for firms I hadn't heard of until I did a bit of snooping around. Using the numbers game, 20 applications can be sent out in a week easily.

CV - 2 pages maximum.   
Unless asked to state all grades, I only mention the ones i'm most proud of.

For the covering letter.
One page only.
Include my address, their address, date. I find the name of the person i'm writing to.
The sir/madame thing doesn't fly any more.
Header in bold under the 'dear whoever' bit.
5 short paragraphs.
Para 1 - where did I hear about the firm - two lines.
Para 2 - Why that firm. Size, their wonderful training scheme, the practice areas and what made me interested in those areas - five/six lines.
Para 3 - My degree, my skills, my suitability to law, my passion for law - four/five lines.
Para 4 - What i'm doing now, any extra skills I've picked up - four to six lines.
Para 5 - Closing line. 'I love you so much, that's why I'm the bacon to your butty'.

For the numbers game its only really Para 2 that I might change. But only for the numbers game shall I do this.

So my approach to applications has two limbs- The focussed limb, and The numbers game limb. I know others who have received TC offers by employing about as much effort as I have in writing this post. It can be frustrating. But I can see an end. Its the toughest year on record for getting a TC so it should be the most triumphant of triumphs when it finally comes. That's what i'm aiming for.

On an unrelated note, do you like how petrol smells?

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