I recently sat down with our Careers Team to gather some information for the group of mature students I represent at my university. Apart from the university specific support, which isn’t generally applicable, a few really important points came up which I thought were worth writing up briefly. This is in the hopes that anyone who doesn’t realise it: your mature student status is an asset.
Here are a few reasons why…
- Mature students often have had previous careers or undertaken other degrees, making them more experienced and well-equipped when they come to studying and job-hunting.
- Even if you have other responsibilities (a mortgage, a family, etc.) which you feel narrow your options or put extra stress on getting a paid and stable job, mature students are likely to be more focused, and therefore more likely to succeed in reaching their goals.
- If you have been a carer, parent, etc. this can be put in the ‘Work Experience’ section of your CV to show an impressive set of skills you may not have realised you had. It’s worth remembering that just because you have a ‘gap’ in your CV, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a void where you learned nothing and showed no abilities.
- Generally, there is no need to address/justify an ‘alternative route’ into a legal career; that’s the beauty of law – it attracts a range of people, with a range of backgrounds. People often come to the law later in life, and progress quicker through the ranks because of their previous life experience.
- Mature students are often more self-aware as to their own experiences, skills and attributes. This helps when you reach the stage of (the often relentless and energy-sapping) applications and interviews. Draw out those innate abilities and recognise the importance of ‘soft-skills’.
- This one is a biggie – start thinking of yourself as offering a better investment. A 32-year-old trainee/pupil costs the same as a 22-year-old, but the 32-year-old probably offers a bit more value from the get-go. If you want to be a solicitor, City firms spend (ballpark) about £250,000 training someone. That’s why mature students, if they sell their experience and skills with confidence, are providing better value and firms are getting more ‘bang for their buck’.
These are just six reasons why being a mature student is a big plus when it comes to getting on the job ladder; there are countless others. Everyone – mature or non-mature – has lived their own, unique life. The key thing to take away is that it’s all about identifying the valuable experiences and skills you’ve picked up along the way which will help you to reach your goals. Chances are you have a lot more transferable skills and positive attributes than you realise.
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