Attorneys fresh out of law school have years of intensive legal education behind them. Most also have on the job experience formed in an internship, clinic, or other setting. After a few years on the job, attorneys also have a wealth of real-world experience to help them perform their jobs at their best.
What most attorneys lack, however, is a thorough understanding of the job market – leaving them vulnerable to certain key mistakes when seeking a new position. If you are not prepared, you may find yourself making one or more of the following attorney job search mistakes:
1. Failing to consider all your options.
In most cities, law firms and corporate legal departments abound. Even mid-sized cities may have several dozen-law firms of varying sizes, along with the legal departments of local businesses. While not all of these organizations place job postings at any one time, most will consider the right hire if he or she comes along. Examine all the local opportunities, then send targeted application materials to those that seem like the best “fit” for you.
2. Skipping the preparation of professional application materials.
Whether you apply to a law firm or a corporate legal department, you are applying as an attorney – a representative of the organization and its interests as well as those of its clients. Yet many attorney applicants fail to give their application materials the time, care, and scrupulous attention to detail expected of attorneys. Make sure yours are impeccable before you send them.
3. Failing to market themselves well.
This mistake is particularly common among young attorneys, who come out of law school with a desire to practice a certain type of law or to practice in a certain area of the country without an honest inventory of their skills, abilities, and career goals. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and create a “brand” that puts your strengths forward while giving you the chance to work on your weaknesses.
4. Fearing vulnerability.
Putting yourself on the job market requires a certain level of vulnerability. You are making a request of companies, and they have the ability to say “no.” Some attorneys experience this fear so strongly that they limit their own opportunities – in effect saying “no” themselves before someone else can say it to them. When you accept that a certain number of “no”s may be inevitable, however, you put yourself in a position to seize innovative opportunities, which means that the actual number of negative responses you get may be much lower than you fear.
Protect yourself from the most common job search mistakes by working with a recruiter. The experienced team at Assigned Counsel will help you find a legal position that fits your skills, experience, and career goals. Contact us today.