If you’re an attorney who’s serious about your job search, then you already know that the majority of jobs (up to 70%) never get announced to the public. With that in mind, if you want to improve your chances of finding work quickly, you’ll need to tap into the hidden job market—work opportunities that usually are filled via personal networks. Below are a few tips on how to tap into the hidden job market:
- Write a letter. If you’ve already put together a list of target law firm you want to work for, then you should consider writing a letter expressing your interest. Try to get a contact person (not HR), someone who heads the practice area in which you’re interested. This letter should be similar to a cover letter in that it describes your skills and how you would bring value to the company.
- Pick up the phone. Cold calling isn’t just for business owners. Job seekers who want to get an edge on the competition, should also consider cold calling law firms. But make sure your pitch is brief and informative. Once again, don’t contact H.R., contact the person who heads the practice area for which you want to work. Also, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a positive response right away, 90% of the people you contact won’t be interested. But don’t worry, 10% is what you’re after. A matter of fact, if you can get 5% that would be a good response rate.
- Reach out to your personal network. Many attorneys, especially those fresh out of law school, mistakenly believe that they don’t know the right people. But everyone knows at least one person who could potentially connect them to an opportunity. Reach out to your network and let people know that you’re looking for work, but be specific about what it is that you want and make it easy for them to pass along your resume.
Tapping into the hidden job market will give your job search the advantage it needs.
Stuck in a cold calling rut? If hiring managers aren’t returning your calls it may not be because of a bad economy, it could be your sales pitch. If you want to stand out from other recruiters, you’ll need to make sure your sales pitch highlights your unique value proposition. Below are a few tips on how to present your value proposition to new clients:
- Core value. The most important part of your pitch is the core value you deliver to hiring managers. Why should an employer work with you? How do you make their life easier, save them money, and help them reach their goals? When presenting your core value, use simple but powerful language. Being vague won’t help you land the best clients.
- Working process. Next, you should clearly and briefly explain your working process. How do you go about sourcing the talent employers need? And what about your process brings extra (and unusual) value to the experience? For example, do you help hiring managers perfect their job descriptions? Your pitch should make it clear that your working process brings exceptional value to the employer.
- Services provided. A recruiter that is a jack of all trades brings a different type of value than a specialist. It’s up to you to make it clear which type of service you’re delivering. Do you have experience working in their niche and can therefore dip into your massive network for talent? Do you offer recruiting services that help them identify personnel holes and fill them? Or, do you only offer limited recruiting services—sourcing talent for specific roles only? Letting potential clients know what type of services you provide will help them move closer to a “yes.”
The next time you pick up the phone to pitch your services, make sure your sales pitch delivers your unique value proposition.
Want to get the best law firms to give you their most important job orders? Then become an indispensable recruiter. Below are five things you can do to make your unique skills absolutely necessary to the hiring process:
- Fill the most important jobs. Legal recruiters who are known for their ability to fill the most important jobs in a law firm are sought after again and again. By focusing on finding talent for critical jobs (positions that impact the bottom-line), you’ll become indispensable.
- Specialize in rare talent. No matter how rough the economy is, super talented attorneys are always difficult to find and recruit. If you can build relationships with the most talented attorneys in the industry, you’ll become the go-to attorney for many law firms.
- Build strong bonds with hiring managers. Becoming an indispensable recruiter isn’t just about building relationships with good talent, you’ll also need strong bonds with hiring managers at the type of law firms talented attorneys want to work. Take the time to build these relationships even when you’re not looking for job orders.
- Offer recruitment solutions. Recruiters who can do more than just fill a job order will always be in demand. Many law firms are looking for legal recruiters who can offer solutions that help them meet all of their hiring needs.
- Understand the industry. By thoroughly understanding the industry in which you’re working, you’ll be able to offer insights into the hiring environment that employers may not see. Remember, as a recruiter you bring a unique and fresh perspective.
As you aim to become an indispensable recruiter, remember that you’ll always have to work to remain one step ahead of the competition.
For most attorneys, a job search is done alone. But there are benefits to sharing some of the workload with others. Job search teams can help you practically and boost your morale when your hunt for work seems to drag on too long. Below are a few guidelines on how you can build an effective job search team:
- Build a tight team. Get together with no more than five other job seekers. Small groups are agile and productive, while larger groups can become cumbersome—bogged down in the logistics of trying to accommodate too many people.
- Partner with job seekers like you. By partnering with other attorneys in your niche (i.e. family law, litigation, bankruptcy), you can leverage the experience of the entire group for your benefit. Since the legal industry is constantly changing, task each member of your team with keeping up with trends, opportunities, and networking events. For conferences that are pricey, you can even share the cost of one person attending and have that individual share with the group the information they learned.
- Create action items. Each person on your job search team should be responsible for putting together a plan of action for their search. And everyone should be responsible for keeping each other accountable. By having others hold you accountable for taking action, you’ll make better progress on your search.
- Meet at least once a week. To be effective, your job search team should have weekly meetings. These gatherings can take place online, over the phone, or in-person. Choose the method that works best with everyone’s schedule.
Don’t worry about losing opportunity to other members of your job search team. Since it’s impossible for any one person to find even a fraction of the job opportunities out there, pooling your efforts means that you’ll become aware of opportunities you would not have otherwise discovered.
Recruiting is sales, but it also requires a high level of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence isn’t just your ability to control your emotions (that is important), but it’s also about your ability to successfully navigate difficult social situations. Below are three things you can do to improve your emotional intelligence:
- Know yourself. We all have our sore spots—things that are a third rail in our emotional lives. As a legal recruiter, these emotional third rails can have an impact on your performance and the way you interact with clients and job candidates. Knowing what can set you off emotionally gives you the power to control your reactions.
- Empathy. The irony of developing emotional intelligence is that it requires that you look externally to understand where other people are coming from. If can you have empathy for an overbearing client who demands too much or the anxious job seeker who won’t stop calling, it will become easier to regulate your emotional reactions to the people who get under your skin.
- Practice control. We are emotional beings. We love, hate, feel sad and happy. But we’re also reasoning beings with the ability to use logic. It’s up to you as a legal recruiter to use your reasoning mind to regulate your emotional response to stimuli. This can only come with practiced control. Knowing your third rail issues, you can practice having a controlled response to them. Most people do this without realizing it—such as rehearsing their response to a comment they expect from a friend or loved who they’ve confronted about a problem. By practicing how we will respond to situations/people we can be in more control of our emotions when faced with an emotionally hot issue in our real lives.
Improving your emotional intelligence can give you have the power to approach difficult situations with a cool head.
The job search process is tough enough without having to also waste time applying to fake job ads. Below are five signs that a job offer isn’t real:
- No company information. A real company understands that they’re not just selling you a job, they’re also selling you their company. With that in mind, be wary of any job ad that doesn’t include at least some basic information about the company to which you’re applying.
- Unrealistic compensation. Job ads that offer dream salaries that have no relation to reality probably aren’t real. In this case they’re most likely after your bank account information or trying to run some other type of scam.
- Limited information about the position. Employment ads that have vague job descriptions are likely fake. The only thing they offer are promises of a huge salary, bonuses, lots of free time, and timely promotions with no details about what you’re required to do to get those perks. But be careful, these enticing ads are there to lure you in for a scam.
- Request for bank account information. While it’s not uncommon for employers to ask for bank information so that they can process direct deposits, that only happens after you’ve been hired. Any “company” asking for your bank information before you’ve had an interview is probably running some type of scam.
- No screening. Any company that promises to hire anyone who responds or some other nonsense is probably not a real employer. Be careful of any job ad that emphasizes a heightened sense of urgency. They may be rushing just to lure you into a scam.
Identify and avoid fake job ads and you’ll save lots of time on your job search.
For legal recruiters working independently, time is a precious and fleeting commodity. That’s why it’s important to vet every job order before you take it on. Below are three questions you should ask before accepting a job order.
- Did someone work in this position before? If the role is a new one, be sure to carefully question the hiring manager. Ask: What are the day-to-day duties of the job? Will this person have support staff? Will they work more independently or with a team? Who will they report to? Basically you want to ask any question that the average candidate would ask. If someone held the position before, find out why they left. If they didn’t work out, find out how they failed to meet the employer’s expectations. If they did work out, find out what made them an excellent hire.
- Are candidates currently interviewing for this position? If a hiring manager is already knee deep in recruiting efforts—taking resumes and lining up interviews, then you may not want to prioritize this job order. The last thing you want is to spend time recruiting for a position that’s already close to being filled.
- What are the employer’s expectations for the position? Will the person in this job take on important responsibilities? What type? How will the new hire’s actions impact the rest of the law firm? Is there room for growth, promotions, and raises for someone in that position? By understanding the law firm’s vision for the job, you’ll be able to pitch the job to the right kind of candidates.
Ask the right questions when vetting a job order and you’ll get more out of each position you fill.
Ever thought of taking your law degree and venturing into a new field? If so, you’ve probably wondered which of your lawyer skills are transferable. You may even fear that your skills and qualities aren’t that transferable at all. The good news is that there are many highly transferable lawyer skills and qualities. Let’s take a look at a few:
- Sales. Even if you’re not actively selling attorney services directly to clients, you’re probably quite persuasive when winning cases or getting settlements. A lawyer’s sales skills are transferable into almost any field. Remember, every business needs sales.
- People skills. The ability to manage people—clients, opponents, judges, and your fellow lawyers, takes a lot of high level social skills. If you’re a competent attorney you’re probably head and shoulders above the rest of society when it comes to handling people.
- Communication skills. Both oral and written communications skills are the bread and butter of every lawyer. This skill can be transferred into most fields, especially those that need to deliver complex information in a simple and understandable way.
- Dependable. Setting a goal then reaching it is something few people do. But attorneys must constantly set and reach both long and short-term goals. This quality is highly sought after, especially by companies launching complex and difficult projects.
- Endurance. As the world becomes more complex, companies must create solutions that solve difficult problems. To implement these solutions they need employees who have endurance—the ability to plow through issues even at the toughest moments. A lawyer’s ability to tough it out, is an asset other businesses are willing to pay a premium for.
Lawyers who are at least competent in their niche, have many skills that will make them hot commodities in other fields.
As applicant tracking systems (ATS) gain popularity, some attorneys on the job hunt may find that their resumes end up in a black hole. For a variety of reasons—improper formatting, wrong keywords, or just computer error—perfectly qualified candidates may be excluded by an ATS. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to avoid the ATS black hole.
- Simplify formatting. In a nutshell, avoid getting fancy—no borders, graphics, photos, or special characters such as using arrows instead of bullet points. Use standard fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman and the ATS will have an easier time reading your resume.
- Avoid PDFs. While PDFs are popular with some employers, they may be difficult to read when using an ATS. Use .rtf or .doc files to decrease the possibility that your resume will be kicked back by the ATS.
- Use the right keywords. Check the job description and incorporate into your resume the most important and relevant keywords. But don’t overuse the keywords, but make sure that you use them in a way that will make sense to the ATS and a real person.
- Make your resume longer. While conventional wisdom suggests that a resume longer than one or two pages should be avoided, an ATS won’t weed out a longer resume just because of length. But if you’re going longer, just make sure that you’re doing so because you’re adding important information—detailed accounts of your accomplishes as relevant to the job.
- Use a good file name. Your file name should include at least two basic components 1) your full name and 2) the word “resume”. If you can, you should also include the title of the job for which you’re applying.
Since more employers are using applicant tracking systems, getting pass this electronic gatekeeper is your first step to finding the perfect job.
In the realm of sales, every legal recruiter is looking for all the help they can get. But what if you could create a brand that continuously delivers sales to your door? Building expert status is just want you need. Below are four ways becoming an expert can help your sales soar:
- Reputation building. Experts are respected leaders in their field. People come to them because they trust the information they’re getting and they know that the expert has a history of delivering on their promises. Without expert status you’re building a reputation from scratch, and that’s challenging, especially if you want to work with the most valuable players in your field.
- Create a sales pipeline. Experts who deliver valuable information consistently will get others to come to them. For example, a legal recruiter who can deliver valuable information about trends in certain practice areas won’t have any trouble getting hiring managers to give them job orders or finding qualified candidates to fill them.
- Get attention. Sales is an attention game. The more eyes on you and your services the better. Recruiters who can build a reputation as an expert in their field will always remain on the front burner of employers even when they’re not ready to hire.
- Build a platform. By becoming an expert, you can build a platform from which you can sell your current services and expand to other services and products. Expert status gives you the opportunity to grow in ways you may not imagine.
Build your reputation as an expert and gain the power to increase your sales exponentially.