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Career Overkill

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It’s no secret that this isn’t exactly the ideal time to be a law graduate. The competition for jobs is fierce and it begins long before graduation. In such an environment, it’s easy to start evaluating all of your law school decisions through the prism of whether it will help your career. But that’s not a great idea, and here’s why…

You could change your mind about the career you want

You might be absolutely sold on the idea of becoming a litigation lawyer, but there’s a good chance that you’ll change your mind about your career path. Of my law school friends, only one of us is pursuing a career in the area we said we wanted to work in in first year.

I recently read an article about how to choose electives in order to maximize your employment prospects. I think it’s better to consider electives based on whether you’re going to enjoy studying them – any possible career benefits of choosing a particular elective are really just a bonus.

The same thing goes for extra-curricular activities. I’ve heard plenty of law students sign up to mooting because “it will look good on my CV” or because “law firms like it”. But if you change your mind about your career, you could find yourself with a lot of experiences that aren’t exactly relevant to the new path you’re pursuing.

If you are going to choose activities with your future employment prospects in mind, pick something that interests you and that offers transferrable skills, not just niche knowledge. Subjects and activities that foster teamwork skills, leadership, good communication, confident public speaking, problem solving and critical thinking are always good choices.

Only thinking about law things is kind of unhealthy

I say this from personal experience. At one stage during my degree, I was studying law full time, working as a paralegal, and involved in the law students’ society. Even in my spare time I’d find myself watching law-related shows and reading books with a legal theme. It was hugely stressful and I never really had a chance to relax because I was always thinking about something that related to my degree. Trust me, making time for interests and activities outside of law school is really important.

You could miss out on other opportunities

Unis offer a huge range of extra-curricular activities, and being a uni student is also the ideal time to try new things, like internship or volunteer programs in areas that you may not have considered before. If you’re always focused on making sure that everything that you do is career-relevant and goes to making you more employable, you could discount or ignore other activities that you’d actually really enjoy.

Employers are looking for diversity

Don’t stress if your resume is a mishmash of different experiences – diversity is a good thing, and employers are interested in candidates with varied backgrounds. Plus, being the student with the unusual extra-curricular activities will help you to stand out from the crowd. Just follow your interests and it will all come together!

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