Updates and advice for attorneys and law departments.

Resumes…and peeking behind the cyberspace curtain

Hello.  I am Elissa Outtrim.  As the Senior Recruiting Attorney for the Delaware Valley office of Assigned Counsel, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking and meeting with many of you over the past five years.  Rest assured, I genuinely enjoy our conversations.  I’ve been asked to set “pen to paper” with a blog entry.  I hope you find it informative and useful, and hopefully, a little entertaining.

Every day I hear from talented people, seasoned and junior attorneys, and new law school grads, seeking work.  Many have very impressive (and sometimes eclectic) resumes, reflecting careers interrupted due to the grim, on-going, economic storm.   As a recruiter, I look at each resume as a resource to be cultivated.  I read them.  I really really read them.  Many resumes are quite straightforward.  They make it clear how the author progressed from one position to the next.  However, some require more forensics from my side of the computer in order to reveal hidden gems!   Attorneys tend to be very careful in how we word things.  Subtleties in wording may lead me to ask probing questions.   Your wording may provide additional clues as to your potential for a particular assignment, or, it may give me pause.  Suspected omissions may raise questions as well.  I may read a resume and then think, “hmm, this person probably did XYZ as an in-house attorney at BIG CORPORATION,  but, why isn’t that listed here? ”    More often than not, my candidates tell me that they omitted skills and experience (that I could use), because they needlessly worried about the length of their resumes.  Believe me, I really need  some detail to find you, and, to make the right  match!

However, aside from laboring over (or worrying about) composing a heck-of-a-resume, candidates should give equally serious thought to something big that is “lurking out there” in this modern techno age.  What is lurking, you ask?  SOCIAL MEDIA.  Social media outlets can greatly supplement a more static or staid resume.  There, you may instantly up-date your web presence, and, sometimes, such sites are interactive.  As a child, I longed to be a detective.  For a while, anyway.  Really!  I made a homemade detective kit, and a business card (one!) and “solved” a neighborhood case or two.  Now all grown up, I still “play detective” as part of my job.  Especially exciting is uncovering something really useful, outside of a resume, that helps me help you become an even more desirable candidate for my clients.  I am not alone in this enterprise.  Make no mistake, recruiters like me DO conduct Google searches, and DO search out our candidates on various social media (e.g., Twitter and Facebook), including professional networking outlets.  A recently published LinkedIn HR Recruiter poll shows that this is DEFINITELY so.

So how do you harness the power of social media, to your advantage?  First, find the right ones to use.  Ask around!!  Read about them!!  Assigned Counsel has a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, and, has a newly launched upgraded website where you can search jobs, submit your resume, register for mailings, and, respond to our blog entries.  Second, use them wisely.  Don’t post things, in haste, that you may regret later.

Of course, some social media sites are far more “professional” in tone than others.  For example, I utilize LinkedIn, a great instrument in my recruiter’s tool kit.  Through it, I sometimes locate new candidates, and definitely review already-found candidates if they have a presence at the site.  I follow companies to see trends in hiring, and, read the news releases of companies I follow.  I belong to and comment in practice-specific and career-specific groups at the site.  Moreover, I probably look at a potential candidate’s LinkedIn page far more than I look for them at other sites and websources, because it allows me to do things like look at a candidate’s reference comments, or compare the resume I’ve received to the one posted on-line.  And, of course, candidates sometimes find me there as well, and contact me after reading my profile.  Again, all these things help me to help you.

So now you know that I really do read your resumes, and, that I do want to know more about your professional experience to make you the most attractive candidate to my clients.  As such, I urge you to take a hard look at how you present yourself, both in your resume and via cyberspace.  But remember, once you post something on the internet, it is likely “out there” forever.  Even when erased, your postings remain “cached” somewhere, and _are_ accessible.  Believe me.  I’ve peeled back the electronic curtain and found them.  Think hard about where you share, and how  you share, information about yourself.  But most of all, remember that the best way to get to the head of the line for Assigned Counsel job postings is to actually send in your resume.  Do it.  Do it today.  A phone inquiry or email is not enough.  I need to see what you have done in order to best consider you.  I look forward to learning about you and finding you work with a great client of ours!

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