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How early talent decides: Meet Natalie

Why beating The Great Reshuffle requires understanding - and hiring - career transitioners.

An interview with Natalie Addis, PR professional and future Trainee Solicitor at Clifford Chance

How many of us ‘fell into’ our careers? Here’s a hint:

  • 84% of the audience to our ‘The Future of Early Talent Recruiting’ webinar stated they are not where they thought they initially thought they would be in their career.
  • More broadly, only 46% of college grads currently work in their field of study.

It's a truism: nobody ends up exactly where they thought they'd be, especially in their careers. Arguably it's a driver of The Great Reshuffle, where the workforce is reassessing what they want out of their careers.  

But where does that leave the early talent emerging from their early career experience with a renewed vision of their ambitions?

Meet Natalie.

Natalie Addis has cut a unique career path. With an undergraduate degree in foreign languages, she “fell into a job in PR” that was meant to last for four weeks - and ended up sticking around for a little over four years.

It wasn’t a career I’d ever envisaged for myself, but I met some brilliant people, learned a lot, and came out the other end with a much clearer sense of what I want out of my career going forward.

In 2021 she started a postgraduate diploma in Law, and has already been scooped up by Clifford Chance to start as a trainee solicitor in 2024.

With a thriving backing in PR and a new career on the horizon, Forage asked her about her journey.

How did you decide on the career you wanted to pursue - especially since it’s different from what you studied?

Coming from a family of solicitors, Natalie gravitated towards law but didn’t want to choose the field “by default”.

Over the years, it became more and more apparent that the things I loved about my PR job - drafting, proofing, strategy, building relationships with clients, project management - were all directly transferable to a legal career.

What guided your career switch to law?

The lockdown was a turning point - her chance to attend ‘introduction to law’ classes and online law fairs alongside her full-time job.

I spoke to friends doing law and picked their brains about exactly what the career involved, and I did online work experience to make sure it was definitely the right decision.

Not wanting to make a career jump without first “testing the waters”, Natalie used Forage.

Forage ended up being a bit of a godsend during the pandemic… The virtual internships were a brilliant way to get to know different firms, test out different practice areas and really get a feel for the day-to-day work of a lawyer. They also ended up providing some really helpful talking points for training contract applications and interviews…

So you’ll be training with Clifford Chance - congratulations! What led you to apply, and accept the offer when it came?

The first ever Forage virtual internship I completed was actually with the firm I’ll be joining in 2024! Out of all the firms I tried, theirs stood out as by far the most interesting and comprehensive and prompted me to sign up for an online event with the graduate recruitment team to find out more… By the time application deadline season rolled around, I knew they were my first choice for a training contract.”

Key takeaways

Career transitioners come out experienced and ambitious

LinkedIn finds that Gen Z are switching jobs at a rate 134% higher than in 2019, compared to 24% more for millennials and 4% less for Baby Boomers. It’s a scary figure for any early talent team worried about retention.

But it’s a symptom of a young generation’s desire to find their best career fit.

For too many early talent candidates, the first time they experience their chosen career is after they’ve been hired. That’s why over 2.6 million have enrolled in Forage virtual job simulations: because they allow students to roadtest careers, turning career leaps of faith into informed decisions backed by workplace experience that feels real. 

Career transitioners have been through this journey and therefore hold greater, more informed intent in their career choices.

  • Through her career in PR, Natalie’s exposure to the gamut of industry gave her great exposure to the world of work.
  • Now, her motivation for law is strong - a certainty afforded by her experience.

Open-access virtual experiences can be your first - and most pivotal - touchpoint

A career jump is no small feat.

Natalie and others like her turn to accessible, open-access sources of information to evaluate their options - talking with their networks, attending webinars and introductory classes, and engaging in virtual experiences like Forage programs - before taking the plunge.

For Natalie, virtual job simulations were key to her journey. They gave her scope of different firms in the industry, and allowed her to test out areas of practice with no barriers to entry. And further down the line, they gave her talking points to show her interest during training contract applications and interviews.

From [the virtual experience], every interaction I had with the firm - from law fairs, to webinars, to chats with current trainees - just left me with such a positive impression.”

Virtual experiences differentiate Clifford Chance on more than just candidate experience. They're a key part of the firm's commitment to radically lower the footprint of their recruitment activities as a founding partner of the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance. Laura Yeates, Head of Graduate Talent at Clifford Chance, speaks more on crafting an industry-leading sustainable early talent recruiting strategy here.

Virtual job simulations enhance your early talent strategy, leading valuable candidates like Natalie to find and choose your organization. To learn more, talk to one of our talent strategists.

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