Deciding to embark on a career as a Legal Secretary can be a very exciting process, filled with myriad emotions. Alongside undeniable enthusiasm, it is perfectly normal to feel slight trepidation when writing out your first CV and coming to the conclusion that you have no experience in the position you are hoping to land. What a lot of people don’t realise is that their career history is likely to hold a wealth of transferable skills which can be applied directly to their new role, even if the two professions seem completely unrelated. It is vital when writing your CV that you are able to accurately identify and link previous experience to the position in hand by pinpointing the skills you possess that are relevant and transferable. If you’ve found yourself staring at your credentials and wondering how you can make them work for you, then this is the article for you.
The first step when preparing your CV is to dissect and scrutinise the role of a Legal Secretary, writing down the skills, experience and traits that are required. The next step is to write down your career history and to carefully analyse what you learnt within each role. You should then cross-reference between the two lists to form a basis for your CV. The skill set required of a Legal Secretary encompasses the following criteria:
Customer service and interpersonal skills
Legal Secretaries are often the first point of contact when approaching a firm. As a result, they need to have excellent communication and customer service skills. It is obviously important that a Legal Secretary has the knowledge to answer queries that are directed to them, but it is equally important that they be able to deal with queries in a professional and confident manner. People from a customer service or retail background excel at this aspect of the role, having had experience working with the public.
A wide variety of roles require meticulous organisation, many of them not the classic office roles that you would expect. If you have ever been self-employed, worked with children, been part of a large team or had to travel a lot with work, you will have needed a certain level of organisation to make your day run smoothly. An organised Legal Secretary is an efficient Legal Secretary, so make sure to highlight this skill within your CV.
Administration involves a great deal of multi-tasking and is required in a multitude of roles. Organisation and efficiency are key in this skill. If you have ever dealt with the management of a certain area within a workplace, answered telephone calls, scheduled meetings, sorted post or maintained office equipment, then you will have acquired a collection of worthy abilities that will help you in your new career.
Part of the role of a Legal Secretary could include working with a difficult colleague or client, or coming across a problem that needs your input to be resolved. Problem-solving skills allow you to use powers of logic, rationality and analysis in a calm way to find a solution to any problem that may occur within the workplace. If you’ve ever worked in a school, within healthcare or in a management role, you will have used your problem-solving skills regularly and can apply these to a Legal Secretary position.
Word processing and IT skills
Having top-notch IT skills is paramount in the life of the Legal Secretary, as the bulk of the role involves efficient document production. Teachers, receptionists, typists or even writers all use word processing.
Many jobs will require the individual to work within a team, from Human Resources to roles within the arts to being a part of a café structure. Teamwork within a Legal Secretary role involves working towards a common goal as part of a unit, discussing clients’ needs and handling the overflow from fellow colleagues. Another important element is to boost morale in the workplace, learning skills from other people, strengthening bonds and having performance and ideas reaffirmed by others.
Attention to detail
Legal Secretaries have to produce legal documents to a faultless standard. This requires an exemplary level of attention to detail. Accountants, architects, proof-readers and pharmacists, among others, will have developed the excellent observational skills required for the role.
We hope this article will help you see the value of your experience. Use it to its best advantage and show prospective employers what a desirable candidate you are. Good luck in your new career!