Learning how to get a job as a paralegal involves researching the options and pursuing the best route for you. Some people decide getting a degree is the best and most direct path. Most school internships lead to part-time or full-time jobs, which also include a ground-up training from the people you will be working with. You don’t necessarily have to go to paralegal school. While getting a degree might be a traditional option, it is not always necessary. Another common practice if you already have some paralegal knowledge is to get certified before looking for a job.
Some states require certification, some don’t. But to set yourself apart from the herd, having a volunteer credential program such as a Paralegal CORE Competency Exam can show a recruiter or potential employee that you know what you are talking about and ready to jump in head first.
Figuring out how to get a job as a paralegal can be daunting, considering there is a lot of competition and qualified candidates all vying for the same opening. Sometimes setting yourself apart can be as simple as a powerful resume, or nailing the interview by connecting with the employer. Most likely what will differentiate you from everyone else is your experience and credentials. Many people would agree that it’s all about whom you know. Remember to utilize your existing contacts. Networking is the most effective tool when concluding how to get a job as a paralegal. Having a contact introduce you to the employer, as someone they know, will always leave more of an impression than the joe-schmoe inquiring about a classified ad. In other words that employer will be way more likely to hirer from within his existing social network even if it’s a friend of a friend of a friend.
If you are completely new to paralegal work, you need to do a few things in order to get any recognition walking into a new job interview. Few people want to hire someone who has no professional experience, so in order to add that to your list of accomplishments you’ll need to get out there and volunteer, or find some entry level freelance work. When figuring out how to get a job as a paralegal, it can feel like the last thing you want to do is work for free, but volunteering can be a powerful experience to add to a resume as it shows character, determination, and humility. It is also important to maintain a professional image. It goes without saying that showing up to an interview with a suite is a must, but there are other ways to make sure your image is squeaky clean. Always keep tabs on your social network presence; making sure that your reputation is respectable. Another task, more obvious but commonly overlooked, is making sure that your resume and interview skills are polished. Spend time revising your resume, asking others to look at it, and making appropriate corrections or additions. Practice your interview skills with a friend to make sure you are ready to answer the tough questions and appear competent. Practice always builds towards perfect, and behind every great lawyer is a great assistant, who figured out how to get a job as a paralegal.