Four Job Search Deductions You Can Make On Your Taxes

tax-deductionsConducting a job search can be costly in both time and money. Fortunately, you can get some of those expenses back by making appropriate deductions on your taxes. Below are four job search deductions you can make on your taxes:

  1. Training. Many attorneys searching for work will invest in additional education and training by returning to school or attending workshops. Keep your receipts because the expenses associated with furthering your education while looking for work can be deducted from your taxes.
  2. Travel. Whether you’re traveling across the country or across the city, you can deduct travel expenses from your taxes. Keep a record of mileage you put on your car while attending networking events, interviews, and conferences related to your job search. Also, keep the receipts for any air/bus/train travel associated with looking for work. But be careful, you can only deduct from your taxes travel costs directly related to your job search.
  3. Childcare. It’s expensive having someone look after your children while you’re on the job hunt, but you can deduct the cost.  If you’re hiring a babysitter while you engage in job search activities, keep thorough records and deduct the expense from your taxes.
  4. Moving. Oftentimes finding a new job means that you’ll need to move. Fortunately, you can deduct moving costs from your taxes if they are related to finding a new job and the move is at least 50 miles away from where you currently live.

As long as you’re looking for a job in the same profession you worked in previously and you haven’t taken a substantial break from work, there are many job search deductions that will reduce your tax liability.

Recruiter Corner: Growing A Loyal Client Base

Attracting_candidatesEvery business needs a loyal client base, because without customers your business will eventually wither on the vine. So how do you grow and nurture a loyal client base? Below are a few tips:

  1. Communication. You must be consistently available to your customers. This doesn’t mean that you can never have times that you’re not available but that you should have business hours and at least a few modes of contact.  You should also quickly respond to client inquires. And if you’re unable to respond quickly, have an “out of the office” message that lets them know when you’ll get back to them.
  2. Anticipate their needs.  As a legal recruiter you must be able to anticipate the hiring needs of employers. Did they just open a new office? Then maybe they’ll need you to find a few good attorneys. The only way you can accurately anticipate the needs of your clients is to watch their business for changes. Being attentive and responsive to your client’s needs will help foster a sense of loyalty.
  3. Ask for feedback. No matter how good of a recruiter you are, things will inevitably go wrong. When they do, be receptive to feedback.  Find out what you can do better to help the client reach their goals and put a plan in place to improve your process.
  4. Create a client profile. As your recruiting business develops you will begin to recognize which clients are the best fit. Create a client profile and seek out only those clients who closely match it. Doing business with the right type of people will make it easier to build a loyal client base.

No matter what stage you’re at in your business, growing a loyal client base is critical for sustainable success.

Surefire Ways To Organize Your Attorney Job Search

organize-file-foldersLooking for work can be an overwhelming process that leaves you unsure of what jobs you applied for, when, and why you applied for them. And that’s a serious problem if you want to have an efficient job search. Below are a few tips on how you can effectively organize your attorney job search:

  1. Write it out. Create a list of 10 – 15 things a job must have before you consider applying.  Consider location, management style, compensation package, company culture, practice area, specialties, and opportunities for growth. Now that you have your list, you should keep it handy when vetting potential employers. Are they offering what you want in a job?
  2. Build a master resume. While you should customize your resume for each employer, base this customization on a master resume that includes information critical to the type of job you want. For example, if you want to work for a company that values attorneys who are skilled at working on teams, then your resume would include proof that you fit that profile. This master resume will make it easier for you to find the right kind of job.
  3. Set resume submittal goals. When it comes to finding work, you must set goals, or you simply won’t succeed. Decide how many resumes you want to submit per week and day, and schedule time everyday to complete this task. This goal is critical to organizing your job search, because even if you’re unable to meet your goals every time it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll meet them sometimes and by extension be far ahead of the average job seeker.
  4. Create a tracker. No matter how much you hate spreadsheets, you must create a job search tracker. This tracker should keep a record of 1) the company to which you applied, 2) the name of the contact you emailed, 3) their contact information, 4) a copy of the job ad, 5) important keywords, 6) the file name of the resume and cover letter you submitted, and 7) notes on any interview you had with the law firm.

Keeping your job search organized is critical to success.

Recruiter Corner: Four Foundational Skills Required For Success

skillsWhen you think of recruiting success it all comes down to the ability to source the right candidates for the right employers willing to pay your fee. But how do you get there? What are the foundational skills required to become successful as a legal recruiter?

  1. Relationships. No recruiter can succeed in this business without strong relationships with both hiring managers and job candidates. These relationships are the foundation of securing quality job orders and quality talent.
  2. Talent wells. Even with the best job opportunities in the world, your sourcing efforts will be wasted if you’re looking for talent in the wrong places. To find success you must seek out, create, and/or cultivate talent wells that you can dip into when looking to fill job orders.
  3. Matchmaking.  In some culture good matchmakers are sought after and highly valued for their ability to pair couples that go on to have successful marriages. In a sense, legal recruiters are matchmakers for employers and job candidates. If you can consistently make good matches, you’ll be sought after and compensated for your skills.
  4. Sales. Last but not least, your ability to sell is critical to success as a recruiter. But sales isn’t about getting someone to buy into something they might not really want, but it’s about helping them understand why that job (or candidate) is a good pick. If you can do that, you’ll find much success in your career as a legal recruiter.

Build a strong, solid foundation, and you’ll have no trouble becoming a successful legal recruiter.

How To Play and Win The Game of Office Politics

office-politic-1Many lawyers, especially recent grads, may balk at playing office politics. It seems petty, insincere, and in some people’s minds dishonest. But the truth is that all interpersonal relationships are “political.” People have their agendas, their wants, and their needs, and a plan to get to where they’re headed. If you want to succeed in your law career, you will need to play and win the game of office politics. Below are a few tips on how to do it:

  1. Know what you want. Have clear career goals and objectives for what you want to achieve at your current law firm. Everything you do should be in the service of reaching those goals and objectives.
  2. Join the right network. Don’t be deceived about stories of individual achievement, in order to reach great heights you’ll need other people—the right people. So don’t waste time trying to be a “lone ranger” attorney, identify the networks that get things done and join them.
  3. Be trustworthy. Unfortunately, in the game of office politics trust is rare. If you want to become a respected leader in your organization, become the person who doesn’t gossip, who keeps secrets, and who does what he/she promises.
  4. Become an expert. At every law firm there’s always some skill or expertise missing. Find out what it is then become the person who fills in that hole. Once you can become an expert problem solver for an organization, you gain power that others will want to tap into.
  5. Never grovel. Winning at the game of office politics is never about brown nosing or begging for crumbs. It’s about recognizing your unique talents and offering them to the people who can help you reach your goals.

If you want to achieve your career goals, you must make mastering the game of office politics a priority.

Recruiter Corner: Five Soft Skills To Look For When Sourcing High-Level Candidates

soft-skills1-390x250Recruiting senior attorneys is a unique and sometimes challenging task. If you want to get it right, you’ll need to seek out only those candidates who have the soft skills necessary to get the job done.  Below are five soft skills that high-level candidates should have:

  1. Work efficiency. Most senior attorneys are slammed with an impossible amount of responsibilities. If you want to recruit the right candidates for the job, look for talent that has a unique ability to work efficiently. They should be able to get the job done in less time and with fewer resources than the average person.
  2. Persuasive. High-level new hires need to influence others to understand their perspective and follow their lead. This is why people with well developed persuasion skills are important. Find a job candidate who can influence others and you’ll get the employer the new hire they need.
  3. Big picture thinking. Senior attorneys must be able to do their specific jobs, but they must also have the ability to see the entire picture. Pursue only those attorneys who can understand how sales, marketing, and the day-to-day legal work fit together to make a law firm successful.
  4. Persistence. No matter how you look at it, only job candidates with a dogged persistence can survive as senior attorneys. Attorneys in positions of power will face many challenges, disappointments, and failures.  If they’re unable to persist, they won’t succeed on the job.
  5. Perceptive. No matter how good of a lawyer a candidate is, if they want to thrive as a senior attorney they’ll need to be perceptive—able to read the moods of people and the industry trends. This ability to perceive trouble before it comes is critical to heading off problems before they get a serious hold on the law firm.

As you source talent for senior attorney positions, look for the soft skills that will make it possible for them to succeed in their jobs.

Five Tips For Acing The Second Interview

meetingIf you’ve been asked for a second (or third) interview, pat yourself on the back, you’ve obviously made a good impression. But don’t slack off now, this is just the beginning, and you’ll need to really impress the interviewers if you want a chance at snagging the job. Below are five tips for acing your second, third or even fifth interview with a law firm:

  1. Keep it professional. Don’t get too relaxed with your attire just because you’ve been called in for a follow-up interview. Talk to law firm insiders and ask what type of attire is expected of candidates after a first interview. If you’re not too sure, play it safe and stick with purely business attire.
  2. Brush up on dining etiquette. Some follow-up interviews may begin in an office and end up at a restaurant. To make sure you continue to make a good impression, familiarize yourself with proper dining etiquette and avoid ordering smelly or messy dishes.
  3. Ask questions. Asking the right questions will give you the insight you need to decide if you really want to accept an offer from this law firm. In essence, you want to know if this law firm is offering the things that are important to you.
  4. Talk to staff. Don’t waste your time checking your phone while in the reception area. Chat up the secretary and see how they’ve enjoyed working at the law firm. The way a law firm treats its support staff is often reflective of how they will treat their attorneys. Just make sure that you don’t ask probing questions, keep it light and casual.
  5. Stay consistent. Interviewers at your second interview (and other follow-up interviews) will often ask the same questions that were in asked at your first interview. Keep your answers consistent. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re wish washy, or worse—insincere.

If you’re having a follow-up interview, be prepared and don’t get too comfortable. Remember, second impressions can have an even greater impact than first impressions.

The Top 10 Family Friendly Firms

Top-Ten-logoThere is some appealing news for family-minded attorneys in Biglaw: policy improvements are being made across firms to accommodate the working parent. That’s the word from Yale Law Women, a non-partisan organization at Yale Law School, which conducts an annual survey to determine the most family-friendly firms.  The newly published list of Top 10 Family Friendly Firms for 2015 is:

  • Arnold & Porter
  • Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft
  • Duane Morris
  • Hogan Lovells (U.S.)
  • Hunton & Williams
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Munger Tolles & Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • WilmerHale

To measure these results, YLW invited firms ranked in the 2015 Vault Law 100 to participate in a survey where questions fell into four broad categories: 1) billable hours and compensation; 2) leadership and promotions; 3) part-time and flex-time policies; and 4) parental and family accommodations.

Notably, seven of the firms are returning from last year, including Arnold & Porter, Hunton & Williams, Orrick, Hogan, Kirkland, Morrison & Foerster, and Munger Tolles.  Encouraging news for attorneys seeking a family friendly culture with a proven track record.

However, not all the findings were so friendly. The YLW concluded their report on the survey by stating, “Notable improvements have been made in policy offerings relating to parental accommodations, but the usage rate of family-friendly policies remains stagnant.”  This obviously begs the question, why aren’t lawyers taking greater advantage of these policies?  The report suggests the reasons are twofold. First, “Even with family friendly policies on paper, attorneys can face pressure to devote extreme hours to work…” And sometimes that pressure is entirely self-imposed, “many attorneys felt they sacrificed professional achievement when making use of policies to accommodate their family lives.”

So while the findings show progress, most importantly that firms now recognize how much family friendliness matters to attorneys, “there is still work to be done in creating an industry that truly supports families.” Hopefully surveys such as this one help to propel that good work forward.

http://yalelawwomen.org/top-ten-list

 

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Sadie Madole Founder and owner of Madole Legal Search

Sadie Madole
Founder and owner of Madole Legal Search

Sadie Madole has been recruiting associate level candidates for law firms and in-house positions in Washington, DC since 2006.  A licensed attorney, Sadie previously practiced law for ten years as a litigation associate at a boutique firm, and as an attorney advisor with the Treasury Department.  Sadie is the owner of Madole Legal Search (www.madolelegalsearch.com).

Recruiter Corner: How To Set Your Fees When You’re New To Business

art_moneywheelbarrowIf you’re a new independent recruiter you probably feel a little nervous about charging what your more experienced competitors charge. But if you want to make a profit, you’ll need to avoid charging too little for your services. Below are a few tips on how to set your fees when you’re a new recruiter:

  1. Calculate your costs. The cost of running your business includes rent, utilities, phone, internet, supplies, and labor. Even if you’re the only one working your recruitment business, you’ll need to calculate the value of your time. Is your time worth $100 an hour or $50? Whatever the value, you’ll need to multiple that by the time you spend working your business.  Your business costs are the bottom-line figure you’ll need to earn to break even.
  2. Costs plus profit. Your fees must cover the costs associated with your business plus bring in a profit. So, let’s say that it costs $70 an hour to run your business, and you spend 20 hours on a job order, that job order would need to earn you at least $1400 to break even. This is why it’s important that you track how much time you spend on each job order. Tracking the time will give you a good estimate of how much you should charge.
  3. Watch the market. Whatever fees you charge, they must be in line with the rest of the market. Your fees shouldn’t be too far below or too far above what the rest of the market is charging. Of course there are exceptions. If you’re offering a service that can’t be found anywhere else and employers desperately need that service, then charging a premium is not only allowable it’s expected.

Do yourself a favor by charging fees that won’t leave your recruitment business in a losing position.

Five Not So Obvious Job Search Tips For Millennials

millennial_job_searchMillennials have had quite a rough time in the job market, especially with an unemployment rate hovering around 14%. But what can the Millennial attorney do to improve the odds of finding a sweet gig? Below are five not so obvious job search tips for Millennials:

  1. Vanquish resume gaps. Even if you’ve been out of work for a year, don’t let a gap sneak into your resume. Keep working—at any job. It’s important that you stay busy and that you continuously improve your work experience no matter what. Even if you can’t find the exact job you want, get something else in the meantime.
  2. Castaway the schooling crutch.  Don’t keep going to school just to stay busy.  One of the biggest mistakes some Millennials make is going back to school just because they can’t find a job. Doing this can cause problems 1) it can create unnecessary debt, and 2) it can put you a few years behind in building your career.
  3. Abandon your security blanket. Are you looking for certain jobs because you think they’re secure? Don’t do it. In today’s economy there are no “secure” jobs out there. You can be let go for any reason or no reason at all. So make sure you’re taking work that combines your passions with a paycheck that can afford you the lifestyle you want.
  4. Get help from your university.  College career services aren’t just for currently enrolled students. You Alma mater can help you find work if you’re willing to reach out and accept the assistance.
  5. Don’t rely solely on job ads. Send out resumes and cover letters to the law firms you’re interested in before they list the job. This will take a little legwork on your part. Find firms that have recently expanded or who you suspect may need your skills and experience, and then send them a resume and letter of interest before they list a job.

While the employment market is tough for Millennials, there’s no reason why you can’t work smarter to get an advantage in your job search.