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I often hear family members, friends and colleagues complain about the lack of help they received from their sixth form careers service.
Theres no denying that the quality of pre-university careers services is patchy and some are definitely better than others. Thankfully, university careers advisers are a much better breed and in most cases are worth getting to know.
However, a frightening number of you have admitted to never visiting your careers service and those of you who do dont seem to be getting the most out of them. As the president of Manchester Universitys law society Kyle Soo puts it: The saying 'You can take the horse to water but you can't make it drink' rings true when youre talking about making students take advantage of their careers advice."
University careers services can provide a wealth of information and are a great starting point for anyone who is thinking about training as a solicitor or barrister. Warwick for instance has an extensive library (paper-based and online) containing up-to-date information on both professions including information about key employers and ideas for postgraduate courses such as the LPC and BVC.
Your careers services also runs, either on its own or in conjunction with the university law society, a programme of seminars, skills workshops and employer presentations to help you to plan your career and to introduce you to potential recruiters. LSE, for example, hosted a law forum with speakers from the solicitors and barristers profession to help its students prepare for its annual law fair.
Additionally, careers advisers can offer tips on how to improve your CVs and application forms and provide up-to-date lists of any firms that might be hiring outside the normal recruitment cycle.
For more tips on how to make the most out of your careers service check out, What your careers service can do for you. It has been written for us by Dick Lidwell who has many years experience advising would-be lawyers at Oxford University.
The most important factor is to make contact with your careers service early rather than at the last minute when youre about to embark on your finals. Also, make sure you put your trust in your careers adviser. Most know what theyre talking about. So copping the idea theyre just careers advisers not lawyers. will not do your jobs prospects an awful lot of good.
So what are you waiting for make your way down to your careers service now and pick up a copy of the Winter 2008 issue of Lawyer 2B magazine at the same time.