A Quick Guide to Finding Training Contract Jobs (including those not many people know about!)
Most training contract jobs are offered by law firms as part of a structured recruitment process. Ordinarily, these are offered between one and two years in advance of the training start date.
The majority of candidates will know how to find these training contract jobs, on the large law career websites such as Lawcareers.net, Chambers Student and All About Law.
However, there are also plenty of other training contracts on offer that many candidates don't find out about. These might be smaller firms that recruit on a more ad-hoc basis or larger firms, the public sector, or in-house legal departments that recruit every now and then when their recruiting needs include adding more trainees.
In this post, I'll set out how you can find out about these other training contract jobs. And the beauty of these is that, because fewer people find out about them, they are often less competitive than those training contracts offered via traditional channels.
Build Your Own Training Contract Jobs Search System
There are a few tools you can use to build your own system which will ensure you find out about those new training contract jobs that are advertised:
1. Job search site email alerts
2. Google alerts
1. How to Set Up Job Search Site Email Alerts
I recommend you set up email alerts from the following websites:
Most of these seem to use the same back-end system for their email alerts. There are various search parameters you can choose. I recommend you select the following settings and leave everything else blank or unticked:
- Location - unless you want to find out about training contract jobs anywhere, in which case leave this blank
- Job Title = "Graduate/Trainee" or similar (for example, Position = "Trainee and graduate" on Law Society Gazette Jobs)
You will then receive an email every time a new job is listed that meets your search parameters.
If you find you are getting job alerts you are not interested in you can always go back to your alert settings and change them accordingly.
2. How to Set Up Google Alerts
Many candidates don't know about the power of Google Alerts.
Simply put, it's a way to have an ongoing google search set up for training contract jobs and every time a new vacancy appears on a website you will receive an email from Google to tell you about it.
To set up Google Alerts you will need a Google account (which you will already have if you are registered for Gmail, Google Chrome or any other Google service).
Once you have your Google account go to the Google Alerts page.
Once you signed in you will see the following, where you can input the search terms you want to be alerted about.
I have found the following search terms to be the best ones to set up to ensure you get to hear about all the latest training contract jobs:
- "trainee solicitor" job
- "trainee solicitor" vacancy
- "training contract" job
- "training contract" vacancy
- "trainee solicitor" jobs
- "trainee solicitor" vacancies
- "training contract" jobs
- "training contract" vacancies
If you click on the pencil icon next to each of your alerts you can adjust the settings. Here are the settings I find work best:
You will see the last setting is "Deliver to". I have this set for an email alert but you can also set this up as an RSS feed if you use these to capture your information.
3. How to Find New Jobs via LCN
Some firms choose to advertise on an ad hoc basis via lawcareers.net rather than post annual training contract vacancies in the LCN training contract database.
To find these training contracts (and other legal roles) you should check out the main LCN jobs page.
These jobs are often advertised for very short windows so make sure you bookmark that page and check it regularly (at least once a week as part of your weekly TC task list).
A Word of Warning
You will see various jobs advertised along the lines of paralegal role, leading to possibly training contract. If you decide to go for these roles, proceed with caution.
Unfortunately, some firms exploit the fact that there are many candidates who are struggling to secure a training contract. So they dangle the carrot of a training contract to fill their paralegal positions - when they have no intention of ever offering a training contract to them.
Some of these roles will be genuine and a training contract may well be a possibility. It is your job to do your own due diligence of the role and firm to form your own view as to whether a training contract is a possibility.
Certainly, at interview I would ask how many of the previous paralegals have gone on to be trainees at the firm. You could also go one step further and ask to meet with one of the trainees to discuss their experience of being a trainee and paralegal at the firm.