4 October 2013
We have just received an invitation to address students at the College of Europe early in the new year. This follows on from our very successful session earlier this year and is now becoming an annual event. We hope that it will soon become an institution!
Despite some initial concerns that we were only there to harvest the latest crop of Bruges' finest, we soon allayed any fears by informing the students of issues they will face in the Brussels legal market, as well as providing some practical advice, the most important of which is: do not use recruiters – even us! – at this stage of your career, especially Shotgun Sam!
What did we tell them? Well, we split the presentation into three parts: the first covered a brief introduction to the Brussels legal market and the issues they will be facing there, including market conditions, firm expectations, current and future developments, and so forth; the second introduced our six top tips for lawyers (see below); and finally we conducted a no-holds-barred question-and-answer session that lasted more than two hours!
So what were our top tips? As with most advice, sometimes the simplest is the most effective:
Tip 1: Avoid the temptation to work with recruiters at the start of your career. Recruiters only begin to add value once you have a couple of years experience in Brussels.
Tip 2: Presentation, presentation, presentation! You only have one chance to make a good first impression.
Tip 3: Social media: Facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. all have privacy settings. Use them!
Tip 4: CV hints and tips: provide the essentials of your background and experience and do so in a clear and informative manner, avoiding trends and fashions. Coco Chanel was right: "La mode se démode, le style jamais."
Tip 5: Interview preparation and techniques: dress appropriately and remember manners.
Tip 6: The secret to success? Follow your bliss!
As you can see, I've paraphrased our top tips, but don't worry. We'll be doing individual blog posts on each of them!
We will be updating our presentation over the coming weeks and months and we would welcome any additions or examples you may have. Please use the comment box below to send us your suggestions and experiences!