Landing first paralegal job

How To Land Your First Paralegal Job

Whether you are a recent graduate or going through a career change, landing your first paralegal job can be incredibly draining and frustrating. With most roles requiring some form of relevant experience, making the prospects of securing a role looking impossible. So what steps can you take to secure your first paralegal job? Today we will share with you our top tips and advice on how you could land your first paralegal role with no previous experience.

Keep an open mind

When you are applying for paralegal jobs you are always bound to be competing with experienced candidates, which unfortunately means they are likely to be prioritized over inexperienced candidates. It is important that you keep an open mind with regards to location, the area of law and indeed firm size or type. Remember the aim is for you to get your first foot in the door, which will subsequently open many other doors for you in the future.

Be proactive

It is important to remember that when you are searching for your first paralegal role you are competing with experienced paralegals, as such being a proactive job seeker is crucial. If you have your sight set on a firm but the firm is not currently recruiting, lay the initial ground work and contact the recruitment team to enquire about speculative applications. Recruiters will appreciate your effort and your interest in the firm. Be aware, some firm explicitly provide on their site that they do not accept speculative applications, so make sure you check before you contact the recruitment team or indeed apply.

Apply for entry-level jobs

As an inexperienced job seeker, your focus should predominantly be on entry-level jobs as you stand a much better chance to secure a role. Be sure to also consider contract-based paralegal roles some of which can be quite flexible with regards to the level of experience required.

Pro Bono Work

You cannot underestimate the value of pro bono work on your CV, even if is a short placement. As a recruiter when I receive CV’s from paralegals with no work experience, but evidence of pro bono work, I always mark those candidates as a ‘maybe’ and set it aside to read it further. The commitment and the steps you have taken to gain pro bono legal experience will always be appreciated and it puts you above other candidates with no experience. Consider volunteering to gain some form of work experience through the free representation unit or the citizen advice bureau.

Less is more

When searching for your first paralegal job it can be tempting to send as many applications as possible, but this strategy is unlikely to pay off. Your efforts should be on less applications and high emphasis on quality. This strategy will also ensure your applications do not come across generic, which remains one of the main reasons’ recruiters reject applicants. I would also advice that you are realistic as to the vacancies you are applying to. As tempting as it may, if is quite clear from the job description you do not meet the criteria, focus your efforts on other more suitable vacancies.

Be social

Companies nowadays utilize social media not to solely promote their brands but also to recruit and attract talent. Legal recruiters are particularly active in recruiting through social media, so make sure you have an active presence online. Using social media is also a great way to get your name out there and establish your personal brand, which could be crucial when job searching. Make sure you keep your social media profiles clean and professional and do not hesitate to interact with prospective employers via social media.


Professionals often network to establish contacts and find out more about new opportunities at various firms, so if you are new to the legal sector and looking to break into it, networking is a no brainer. This will give you an opportunity to make yourself known to employers but crucially even get inside tips what it takes to successfully secure a role with a firm.

Be unconventional

You often hear from recruiters and other career experts the need to stand out in a job search for various reasons but the chief of all due to the high competition. Well, more recently we have seen a somewhat increase in unconventional ways people promote their profile and land jobs. Glassdoor has recently put up an interesting article on the most unconventional ways people have landed a job and you could use this to get some ideas and inspirations. However, word of caution, be sensible and do not go to the extreme to ensure you do not set a wrong impression.

Serg Sakarov
Legal recruiter & CEO @ PureLegalJobs

This article has been contributed by UK’s first and the only legal job board exclusively for law support staff and direct employers only.

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