Why I chose the Civil Service?

Riarn Mahmood's experience.

By Riarn M

Report 19 Mar 2021

Getting into the civil service.

My initial plan when I began my law degree was the typical route of any law student; get some legal experience with the hope of graduating and securing a training contract. However, what is important to note is that sometimes things don’t always go to plan.

What did you do before getting into Civil Service?

I completely enjoyed my first year of studying for my LLB Law degree, at the time I believed at the time that the only employment route for me after completing my degree was to become a solicitor. I attended various workshops that my university put together to prepare students for gaining practical experience in the legal field and for vacation schemes. The workshops provided me with an insightful overview of how life would have been as a solicitor, so that summer I decided to apply for a vacation scheme and I was successful in my application.

On completing my first year at university I started my vacation scheme, and it was here the outlook of my dream job of becoming a solicitor changed. Although I enjoyed the vacation scheme, I began to doubt whether I wanted to pursue a career as a legal professional. Life as a solicitor just was not as I imagined it to be. This was where the panic set in, if I wasn’t going to be a solicitor, what career was I going to pursue?

How did you decide on Civil Service?

At the beginning of my second year, I decided to get speak with my universities Career Advisor and seek career advice. After I expressed my concerns, the Career Advisor reassured me that this was a common occurrence and provided me with alternatives to a career as a legal professional. I was honestly shocked at the different careers there were available to utilise a law degree, and the alternative that stood out to me most was becoming a Civil Servant.

After conducting further research on various career opportunities, I decided that on completion of my law degree I was going to apply for an employment role in policy, which is closely linked to law. Nonetheless, I remained focus on completing my law degree to the best of my abilities. In 2018, I graduated with an Upper Second-Class Honours and was the content of my decision of not pursuing a career as a solicitor.


In the summer of 2018, I applied via Civil Service Jobs for many positions in the policy. One role that particularly stood out to me was a Brexit Policy role. I applied for the position, and was successful in my application/interview and given the job. Although the route I chose was not the typical route that a law student would take, I am most certainly happy with the outcome. It may be that you were like me and had a change of mind with the career path you wished to take. But, believe me, a degree is a powerful asset and can be utilised in more ways than one.

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