When should I start applying for NQ roles?

Read our latest instalment of our blog series ‘Ask a recruiter’, where we share questions we receive about interviews, CVs, the application process and really anything our candidates might be concerned or curious about. 

A soon-to-be NQ solicitor from the South East recently asked me “When should I start looking for an NQ job? Is it too early to be speaking to recruiters?”

There’s a myth about qualifications that a lot of people are told. NQ jobs are only released at certain times of the year – in the run-up to March and September qualifications.

Of course, there are lots of solicitors who qualify at other times of the year. However, there are plenty of trainees who wonder if they’ll have to wait longer to find an NQ role. This is because firms will be waiting to release their roles at a more traditional time of year.

This is simply not the case.

If you keep an eye on the market like I do, it’s clear that NQ solicitors are in demand all year round.

There are, of course, a flurry of roles which present themselves when qualification is coming up. However, it’s definitely not a one date fits all sort of market for trainees/NQs. In the same way that there is demand in different departments at varying times of the year for more senior solicitors, the same can be seen for NQ solicitors.

So, now let’s answer the question of whether you could be too early to get in touch with recruiters.

Getting in touch with recruiters or looking for roles 9-10 months before you qualify, means you’re right on time.

I understand that 9-10 months might sound like a long way off from qualification (especially if your training contract is the typical 1 ½ – 2 years). Getting in touch with a recruiter early gives you a good amount of time to discuss your wants and needs. This means we can look at how we can help you find the right position.

You won’t typically be in touch with your recruiter every week for 10 months. However, you’ll likely be in touch with us more as you come to the end of your training contract. Knowing you and your interests earlier means we can be in contact as and when there are NQ job openings. Looking specifically at roles which suit you. It means we’ll have time to really discuss all options when it comes to alternative approaches.

Having an experienced recruiter to walk you through the application process can free your attention to focus on getting ready for interviews and how you want to present yourself.

For many trainee solicitors, there are a lot of questions going forward with the process: where to look, how to apply, and what are firms looking for. These can all be answered by a recruiter who knows the industry and crucially, knows you.

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For expert advice on how to get the best out of your Legal career, contact Hayley Rose for recruitment of jobs, both in-house and private, within the legal sector, predominantly across the South East and beyond.


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