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Planning ahead for when you finish your LLM

Date:24 November 2021
Cristiana Zamfir (image courtesy of C. Zamfir)
Cristiana Zamfir (image courtesy of C. Zamfir)

So you’re presently pursuing your LLM and are thinking - what am I going to do next? This is a question everyone asks themselves during their studies; many students face this dilemma.

In today’s world, most employers are looking for people with expertise and a skill-based degree. An LLM is a specialised degree that should allow you to get a job that is subject oriented. Thus, completing an LLM degree is an important step towards finding the job that you want, in the field you want. In this post, I will go through some steps that I think can help in making the decision of what to do after you finish your LLM.

Firstly, you might want to ask yourself if finding a job straight away after finishing your studies is what you want. Some people might want to go on with their studies and do a PhD or another LLM, for example. Some are also content with doing an internship and see that as helpful for career building in their specific field. I already pursued an internship while studying in the LLB programme. Personally, I am convinced that I want to enter the job market after I finish my LLM and have already started to investigate myself what job possibilities there could be for me.

Secondly, if you have decided that you want to find a job, you may want to consider contacting the Career Services department that the University of Groningen, which offers support services to students. Career Services offers students an important first step of guidance, by helping students connect with relevant parties such as faculties, study and alumni associations, and employers. Finding a job or internship through Career Services might be the best option whilst still being a student in Groningen, before you graduate from your LLM. Besides consultation services and informing about job opportunities, they  also offers a plethora of workshops that are meant to prepare students for future jobs. Some of the workshops offered are intended to guide students on how to prepare a successful CV or how to write a compelling motivational letter, aspects which are of utmost importance when applying/ looking for a job. In addition to Career Services, the Faculty of Law also has a Career Services Law department that students can consult as well for advice on job hunting preparation and opportunities.

Lastly, as you finish your LLM, you should also be considering about where you actually want to work, in which country, more specifically. As an international/ EU student with an LLB in International and European Law and soon with a LLM in European Law in a Global Context, the possibilities of where to find a job are quite broad. You should be able to find work in international contexts in different countries with these types of degrees. Naturally, language skills pay an important role in finding a job. Language skills are especially important for any type of legal work, so focusing on countries where you have strong language skills in might be your starting point. For example, my two main languages are Romanian and English, so naturally I would search for work in an English speaking country (or a company that’s main language is English) or in my home country, Romania. Personally, I will try to first find a job, possibly in the Netherlands in an English speaking multi-national company or in my own country, Romania, in an institution that deals with European Union law.

To conclude, the career possibilities for graduates of specialized international law programmes are quite good, and graduates can search among many of the cross-border career opportunities that fit their expertise profile and language skill set. Job opportunities can be found in (Member State’s) national governments, European Institutions, multi-national corporations, Non-governmental organizations, transnational law firms, or EU member states courts. If you know where you want to work, its really a matter of then preparing how to get there, and there are resources you have at your disposal here in Groningen to help you.

- Cristiana Zamfir, Romania, International and European Law LLB graduate and European Law in a Global Context LLM student

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