Six months ago I finished my undergraduate degrees in Laws and Psychological Science. I graduated with First Class Honours, a High Distinction average, and three years of firm and mooting experience. But somewhere around month 4 of unemployment, job application number 87, and rejection email number 43, I’d had enough. I had done everything I was told would make the perfect resume, but it didn’t make a difference amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and it seems I just can’t compete as a new graduate. So as I sat in my room putting together a 3000 piece puzzle and listening to a true crime podcast, I decided it was time I said f*** it, I’m making my own job.
1. I started cold emailing
So I started cold emailing podcasts. It was weirdly out of the box and my family were confused when I told them I got work researching and writing for a true crime podcast. It was not something I had ever thought of working in, but as I sat in isolation listening to podcast after podcast, I realised they were in high demand, surely they needed help! Plus I was slightly overqualified (just because many are made by everyday people without legal knowledge, yet I was writing to them with degrees in both law AND psychology!). So I got one job. Then two. Then three. Then four. I was amazed.
2. I reached out to four contacts
Now, after spending five years gaining a law degree, writing somewhat dramatised true crime was not exactly what I’d envisaged for after graduation (even though I LOVE it!). So the next thing I did was reach out to a handful of the contacts I’d made throughout university and work experience. I don’t have years in the legal industry. I only emailed four people. Barristers who I’d had the privilege of following to Court or working for. I asked if they had any casual, remote work, or knew of anyone who did. By this point (just a couple weeks ago), I’d spent a couple hours throwing together this website so that I had something to link to. It remains a work in progress and is simple, but I’ve found that it’s something for them to forward to others so they can see a little about me before they jump into a call. It turned out that two of them had work and then they knew of two others who also needed some help! Bam, four clients just like that. They each may only have an hour or two of work to give me, but add it together and that’s one full day of work each week from just four emails.
3. I asked for advice
I’m figuring out what I’m doing as I go, that’s for sure. So I asked for advice from a fantastic group of lawyers on Facebook. I hadn’t intended to get work from them, I genuinely just needed a little help! Several answered my questions, then one after another others started asking me if I could do something for them or if they could book a call with me. I’m not suggesting you use asking advice as a guise to find work, especially in those Facebook groups where promotion is prohibited, but this also meant I got my questions answered and as a bonus gauged the market.
I know all of these are outward facing – talking to people and for ultra-introverted me, that wasn’t an exciting prospect. But I put my big girl pants on and told myself the worst they could say was (and is) no. That’s it. Even if they say no, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. They now know what I’m doing so when they’re talking to that other lawyer in Court next week who needs what I do, I’m on their mind!
The biggest, scariest thing I did, though, was I jumped. I wasn’t ready. The business wasn’t ready. I’m a perfectionist and a procrastinator, but I was beyond done with boredom and job applications. Maybe I should have done the paperwork before I published my site, but I believe there comes a point where we have to just say, ‘okay, it’s not perfect, it’s not even ready, but it’s good enough for right now and it’s good enough to start’.