Skip to Main Content

Career Planning and Advice Program

Resources to support job applications, including resume and application letter writing and preparing for interviews.

Job Boards

Careers in International Law

Keep up to date


Legal Careers and the Job Search

"You need information at all stages of your career planning and job search, from your first tentative musings about what sort of job might be a good fit for you to your preparation for a big interview or the decision about whether to accept an offer.

Note that you might use the same source or type of information for different purposes. For instance, legal directories can be useful when you are:

  • gathering information about a type of practice or community
  • looking for lawyers who might be willing to talk to you in an informational interview
  • looking for employers to apply to
  • preparing for a job interview."

- Mary Whisner (2014). Learning about Legal Careers & the Job Search. [see link below]

Learning about legal careers and the job search

This guide suggests resources for learning about legal careers and the practice of law.​

Career Tips

This guide offers tips and information relating to the Bar Exam, getting a job offer, law practice and quality of life.

Build Your Brand

"Know first who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly." Euripides.

It is important as a law student that you build your 'brand', and with that, your resume. Learning doesn't just occur inside the classroom. It is important that during your time as a student, you participate in outside activities that will increase your practical knowledge and experience and help you to develop important leadership and other skills. 

Demonstrate your ability to go beyond the classroom and participate in the life of the profession. 

Tailor Your Resume

Landing a job within the legal profession can be quite a feat. Recruiters say a critical part of the hiring process is a well-crafted resume. The resume is the key document for any hire. So, how can you ensure your resume makes you a contender for the job?

Legal recruiters give the following tips:

  1. Highlight leadership experience. Recruiters say it's increasingly vital for a potential candidate to highlight any leadership experience. You should aim to show that you are a leader and not a doer.
  2. Get to the point. It's also crucial that a resume illustrates why you're right for the job without being too long. Recruiters and HR departments often spend very little time initially looking over resumes, meaning you have only a brief window in which to show you're right for the job. So there needs to be a balance between articulating your successes and showing that you recognise what's important. The best legal resumes get to the point. You need to make your resume explain what you've been doing and why you are qualified, but it should be done in a short and digestible way.
  3. Tailor your resume. Recruiters say that in-house applicants should customise their resumes. Be thoughtful about the resume you put together for a particular position. A generic looking resume will give the impression that you are shopping around for positions and haven't spent much time researching the company you are applying to.

Monitor the Job Market

Review job posting periodically. This will help you develop a list of organisations and firms to target. It will enable you to discover growth areas where opportunities are likely to be found.

If you are not on LinkedIn, get on it and keep it up to date! You never know when an internship or other opportunities will come up.

Keep your resume up to date and be conscious of adding to it. For example, writing a blog, entering an essay competition, and getting involved in the Law Society are all things that will help boost your resume.

Practice your 'elevator pitch'. You should be able to clearly express in 1-3 minutes why an employer should hire you.

Think long and hard about what makes you most excited . What best matched your experience and skill set? What industries are you most interested in? Try to align your career accordingly.

Top 10 Skills Lawyers Need

The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System carried out a study looking at what skills are required for successful legal practice. 

The study involved over 24,000 lawyers from all 50 states who indicated what they regard as skills required for legal practice. The study also found that only 23% of respondents felt entering lawyers have sufficient skills for practice. 

The top 10 skills, in order, considered necessary in the short term include:

 Keeping confidentiality

 Arriving on time

 Honoring commitments

 Integrity and trustworthiness

 Treating others with courtesy and respect

 Listening attentively and respectfully

 Responding promptly


 Having a strong work ethic

 Paying attention to detail 

Read the full article HERE.

Common Questions Firms Ask

The following are examples given by of the kinds of questions firms are increasingly asking, taken from the Australian Financial Review, 15 April 2016 p. 33:

  • Why do you want to work in a commercial firm?
  • What does commercial acumen mean to you?
  • Describe a difficult challenge you have overcome?
  • Tell us about a short 'light-bulb' moment when you thought outside the box to achieve a solution.
  • What is the biggest mistake you made and what have you learned from it? 
  • How do you build trust with teammates?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing Australian commercial practice?
  • What is the 'value-add' that you bring or have provided to the last employer?
  • Tell us when you have provided excellent customer service.

Useful Links

Additional Resource

Copyright © 2019 Australian National Institute of Management and Commerce (IMC) Registered Higher Education Provider TEQSA PRV12059 | CRICOS 02491D
Top Education Group Ltd ACN 098 139 176 trading as Australian National Institute of Management and Commerce (IMC)

All content is subject to change.