How to leverage jobs and past experience in applications

October 22, 2021


3 min read

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It’s a tale as old as time, you’ve been working part time since you were 16 and now, you’re applying to law firms and wondering if it actually has any relevance. Everyone talks about transferable skills but what does this even mean? Well, look no further because this article will talk through all the pros of having a part time job (even if that means you haven’t had time or opportunity to undergo a lot of legal work experience) and how to talk about it in your application.

Now, more than ever your part-time job shows a higher level of resilience that many candidates may not have. Especially if you worked during COVID-19, you have had to adapt to a new way of working. Whether that be maintaining a new procedure of cleanliness, or wearing an abundance of PPE, in record time you have adjusted (and you’re most definitely a key worker/were vital in keeping our nation running). This is especially necessary for working in a *drum roll please* fast-paced dynamic environment where commercial activity is constantly changing, so make sure you write about how the pandemic affected your work

So, buckle up as we tell you 5 ways to leverage jobs in your application – those Sundays at your local cafe are about to get a lot more exciting! 

1. You understand the inner workings of a business

Although it’s pretty far removed from the big dogs in the commercial world, a part time job means you’ve experienced what it’s like to be part of a business. Something like having a paper route means you understand client relations and the ability to deliver to a client on a tight deadline. If you have ever been part of an independent business you know how important budgeting is in order to gain profit. On the other hand, working for a chain store or big brand can provide you with more classic knowledge regarding how every store feeds into the overall success of the company. Either way, you have a heightened sense of commercial awareness and we know legal employers love that. 

2. You can work with and for a variety of people

Furthering the point of understanding client relations, it is clear that serving 100s of people daily speaks volumes about your ability to manage people. You can cater to many different personalities and work through problems like getting orders wrong or running out of stock. You have the ability to build a positive rapport with customers whilst also dealing with difficult people. All these are vital for lawyers who deal  with all kinds of clients and must communicate advice to them in an accessible manner. Within your application you should link every strength you have gained from part time work to being a lawyer. 

3. Financial responsibility

This one is pretty specific but if you’ve ever had to cash up for a job, you can clearly be trusted with a significant amount of money. This is especially prevalent in a law firm where you will have to deal with large cross border transactions on a daily basis. Beyond this, your ability to manage your own money will inspire confidence in your clients and your colleagues at work that you can get the job done.

4. Time management

You can meet deadlines, show up for work on time and work efficiently under pressure. Think Friday night at a takeaway, or rush hour at a coffee shop or restaurant. You know how to produce quality work in a stressful environment. This is key for the commercial world especially in moments where deals may fall through or clients require urgent advice.

5. You know the importance of hard work

Committing countless hours of your time from such a young age allows you to develop grit. You understand what it takes to remain calm and collected in difficult situations that could only be posed to you in a working environment. 

So, if you were thinking about leaving your part-time job out of your application, this article hopefully made you reconsider because ultimately, you have this gold mine of real life experience that can be translated quite easily into the commercial world and after years of hard work, you should make it known. 

Report written by Rida Ahmed

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