Expanding on Your Paralegal Career
2 June 2017
For many Paralegal professionals, there can several times throughout their career that call for an important decision to be made. Whether that be about moving on, career path, further training or joining a professional organisation.
Whilst hiring managers won’t ask if you belong to a professional body, there can be many benefits to joining an organisation that has the interests of your market at heart. When recruiting, firms will typically look for candidates who are a good personality fit for their business, as well as having the right set of skills to do the job well.
So, does joining a professional body add value to your CV? Will it make you stand out in a sea of similarly-qualified candidates? Why pay to register somewhere if it’s not a job requirement?
Organisations such as the Scottish Paralegal Association state that there are many career benefits to registering with them.
They list just some of the benefits as being –
- Working to an agreed standard.
- Working according to general competencies which apply to all registered paralegals irrespective of practice area and competencies specific to their own area of practice.
- Adhering to a Code of Conduct aligned with Scottish solicitors’ Code of Conduct
- Career enhancement opportunities; identifying them as a qualified paralegal with significant expertise in their area of law.
- Career satisfaction: The opportunity of developing skills and knowledge by undertaking CPD.
- Membership of the Scottish Paralegal Association: An organisation serving the interests of all paralegals.
- Free subscription to the Journal magazine
Whilst not all of the above are career defining or ‘game changers’, it does provide a lot of food for thought. Being seen by employers as adhering to a high standard of work or being able to develop your skills set is surely an attractive offer?
Being part of a professional body that seeks out the best interests and working standards for your market is ideal in an industry that is notorious for long hours and heavy workloads. Even the small matter of being able to keep up to date with industry developments through specialised publications can do no harm – especially with the potential changes to UK law under Brexit.
Employers may not specifically seek out Paralegals who are registered to professional bodies, but it will certainly stand out on a CV as someone who is dedicated to and passionate about their industry. If you are already a great personality fit and have the relevant skills, perhaps this will be the ‘added value’ that will set you apart from similar candidates.
There has been much talk in the market lately of having experienced Paralegals register to the Association, but not NQ candidates. It perhaps is something to consider once you have firmly found your place in the industry and have clear career goals in mind.
If you would like to speak to me about the many opportunities I have for Paralegals across Scotland, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. All roles will be discussed confidentially. Click here to see my details.
Written By Ashley Smith