In this series, SuccessGoGo interviews successful professionals from banking, consulting and law to provide helpful insights on climbing the corporate ladder. In this interview, SuccessGoGo sat down with Amanda, a corporate lawyer at a Big 4 law firm in Singapore.
What's the best part about being a lawyer?
The satisfaction of working on a big deal and seeing it to completion, the camaraderie with colleagues (sharing the pain!) and having good bosses.
Did anything at school help prepare you for the job?
The rigor of NUS does help you get a taste of the pressures of working life, and you start to learn how to get good at being productive. Similar to figuring out "how to study", figuring out "how to work", i.e., how to churn out tasks effectively is very helpful during life as a junior associate. The friends you make are also important as the legal community is small and your classmates are often also your colleagues or opposing counsel.
What advice would you give to an undergrad to help maximize internships?
Do as many internships as possible. I think law firms are much more willing to give you a chance if they see that you have prior work experience. It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation.
At the internship, always give it your all. Even if you are assigned menial tasks, do them well and with a positive spirit. Making a good impression can lead to a job offer.
What are 3 things during your interview preparation process that made a difference?
Really researching the firm, the nature of work and the people in the team. Also, coming prepared with intelligent questions to ask at the end of the interview, and keeping abreast of the latest developments in the legal community.
Some interviewers may be intimidating, there may be a good cop bad cop dynamic. I think it's important to be stay calm and level-headed and never pretend to know something you don't.
How do you approach CV writing? Do you have any tips?
Keep it to the point and focus on the big things. Impeccable grammar and basic things like spelling and formatting need to be perfect, especially if you're trying be a corporate lawyer. If you have a cover letter, make sure it's personalized to the firm.
What do you feel made you stand out as a candidate in the hiring process?
Having lots of internship experience helped. Also, having study abroad experience made me a more well-rounded candidate. Being genuine and earnest in the interview also goes a long way.
Check out other installments in this series: Interview with a Litigation Lawyer, Corporate Lawyer, Private Banker, Portfolio Manager and Management Consultant.
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