Attorney Job Search: How To Battle The “Not Enough Experience” Blues

Are you a talented but relatively green attorney looking to break into a job that offers more responsibilities? Well, as you’ve probably already discovered, getting past the “not enough experience” zone can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Below are three tips for getting the job you want when you have the skills but not enough experience:136850302_business_desk

  1. Highlight your hidden experience. Most of us have experience in other areas of our life that could be easily applied to our jobs. It’s just how you package it. Let’s say that you’ve managed a volunteer group for ten years. Your years managing other people count even though they weren’t paid. Bring that up in your cover letter and emphasize how you used skills learned in your unpaid work to succeed on the job.
  2. Get personal. If you’re relying on H.R. to see past your thin resume, then get prepared to send out hundreds of resumes before getting an interview. If you want to get past the “not enough experience” gatekeepers, you’ll need to connect directly to a partner (or senior attorney) at the law firm you interested in and get to know them. If you can make a meaningful connection, they may be willing to give you a chance while H.R. won’t.
  3. Apply to smaller law firms. Let’s face it, everyone is trying to break into the large, prestigious law firms. But if you’re stuck in a “not enough experience” feedback loop, approaching small law firms may be your ticket out. Many small law firms are willing to take a chance on less experienced attorneys especially if they have a passion for their work.

Don’t let your lack of experience limit your job search goals. Remember, there’s always a path to your dreams even if it’s one that requires extra work.

Recruiter Corner: Four Things You Need For Business Success

bigstockphoto_Business_Success_2672498_171x281If you’re an independent recruiter, you probably already have what it takes to successfully source top job candidates. But do you have what it takes to make your recruitment business a success? Below are four things you need to succeed:

  1. Systems and processes. Life as an independent recruiter means that you’re wearing many hats—recruiter, accountant, secretary etc. Fortunately, putting in place repeatable systems and processes can make wearing many hats tolerable.  It also makes it easier to hire someone to do the job the way you want. So make sure you establish written systems and processes as soon as possible.
  2. Revenue projections and a budget. Running your own recruitment business requires that you have a head for numbers. Don’t operate on guesses, hunches, or feelings. Put together a profit and loss statement, a budget, and revenue projections so that you’re aware of your business’ financial health.
  3. Written contracts. Even if you’ve worked with an employer in the past, written contracts protect your interests and put expectations and responsibilities in writing. Disagreements and disputes are an inevitable part of this business, so you’ll be glad you had a written contract when problems arise.
  4. Results tracking. Time is a scarce resource, that’s why tracking what works and what doesn’t is important. Make a habit of tracking which of your efforts help your bottom-line and reduce or eliminate any tasks that don’t produce results.

Developing critical business skills is the cornerstone of success for independent recruiters.

Attorney Job Search: Four Tips For Closing An Interview

475967953_HighResJust like in sales, when you’re in a job interview you need to be prepared to close the deal. Below are four things you should do when closing an interview:

  1. Reiterate your strong points. While first impressions are lasting, final impressions will stay with the interviewer even longer. That’s why it’s important that you remind the employer of your most unique skills. Remember, at this point most candidates have the basics down, so you need to reiterate what make you special.
  2. Ask for next steps. Make sure the interviewer has everything they need from you to make a decision. Ask if they need additional information about your background or if they would like you to provide references. Asking for the next steps can help speed up the recruiting process and hopefully help you get hired.
  3. Restate your interest.  While this may seem obvious to most, it is often overlooked. You need to let the interviewer know that you’re interested in the job, but most importantly why you’re interested.  A candidate who applies for a position because they respect the company and see it as an opportunity to learn is more likely to be hired than a candidate who is just looking for a high paying gig.
  4. Ask for a timeline. If you’re worried about how long the recruiting process will take, now is the time to ask the interviewer when they plan to make a decision. If they’re not sure, don’t press the issue; just take it as a sign to keep looking for other opportunities.

By reviewing the right points at the close of your interview, you’ll leave a lasting and positive impression.

Recruiter Corner: Three Ways To Become A Mobile Friendly Recruiter

telephoneWhen looking for the best talent, legal recruiters must make it easy to find and apply for their jobs. And in today’s job market, being mobile friendly can get you a lot of “that was easy” brownie points from job candidates. Below are three ways you can become a mobile friendly recruiter.

  1. Accept social profiles. While resumes are still the gold standard for hiring, social profiles such as LinkedIn are quickly growing in popularity and gaining respect in the legal industry. And it’s a lot easier for job candidates to forward a social profile when using their phone than it is to email a resume.
  2. One click access. Your recruiter website should allow job candidates to easily access job opportunities in one click when using a mobile phone. At the most, job candidates shouldn’t have to click more than twice to access your opportunities. This is also true when applying for a position. In one or two clicks a job candidate should be able to apply for a job or at least inquire about more information.
  3. Design for the mobile eye. Using a dynamic website that adjusts to a computer browser or a mobile browser will make it easy for job candidates and employers visiting your site. Many legal recruiters lose the attention of high quality contacts because their website isn’t mobile friendly. Even if you suspect that few people visit your site, having at least a basic mobile friendly website is just good business sense for legal recruiters.

Recruiters who make it easy for mobile users to access information about their services and job opportunities are more likely to attract the type of candidates and clients they really want.

Attorney Job Search: Four Ways To Go Above and Beyond With Your Cover Letter

letter-writing1It may be surprising, but many attorneys applying for high-paying jobs fail to make their cover letter appealing. But you don’t have to make the same mistake. Below are four ways you can craft a cover letter that really stands out.

  1. Customize it. Simply customizing your cover letter will go a long way in letting the employers know that you’re serious. So many attorney job seekers send out template cover letters because it’s efficient and easy. However, it sends the wrong message to hiring managers and recruiters. Customize your cover letter to make a lasting impression.
  2. Address their concerns. Every law firm has its pain points, goals, and challenges. It’s up to you to address those issues, make it clear how you will work to alleviate them, and help the firm meet their goals. Look through the job description, what are the concerns that are repeated? Address those first. Remember, things that are repeated are important to the employer.
  3. Provide proof. Don’t simply pat yourself on the back in your cover letter telling the employer about how great you are. Prove it with stories about your successes and accomplishments. By the second paragraph, your cover letter should tell a story of how you helped former employers reach goals and avert crisis.
  4. Make it clear. Your cover letter should be written in a simple but professional style. The hiring manager or legal recruiter shouldn’t have to work too hard to understand what you’re trying to say. Before sending out your cover letter, have someone else look it over. And without explaining your intentions, ask them what they think of it.

While going above and beyond in your cover letter takes time, it can pay off by making you stand out from the competition.

Recruiter Corner: Three Questions To Ask Candidate References

reference-checkDespite the growing importance of the internet and online relationships, personal references are still a powerful tool when selling job candidates to employers. But how do you get the information you need from a job candidate’s references? Ask the right questions. Below are three questions every legal recruiter or hiring manager should ask references:

  1. Can you please confirm the candidate’s employment dates, salary, responsibilities etc.? The first thing you should do when checking a candidate’s references is confirm that the information they provided is accurate. Did they really do the job they claimed they did? Did they work there for three years or only one year? While small discrepancies aren’t a big deal, everyone forgets or remembers things incorrectly, big errors (or lies) are serious red flags.
  2. How would you describe the candidate’s competency in the following skills…?  Choose a handful of the skill sets most important to your position and question the reference about the job candidate’s competency. If one or two of the references are unable to discuss the job candidate’s competency level in important skill sets, that’s okay. However, if none of the references can confirm the job candidate’s skill competency, that’s a red flag.
  3. What challenges did you face when working with this job candidate? And how did you overcome them? While many people will hesitate to discuss negative aspects of working with their former employee, some may be willing to discuss problems that were resolved amicably.  The answer to this question may give you insight into the negative qualities of the candidate. As long as those negatives don’t prevent the candidate from effectively performing their duties, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Checking references isn’t just about fact checking, it’s also about discovering information about the job candidate that won’t be found on a resume or discussed in an interview.

Attorney Job Search: Three Ways To Tap Into The Hidden Job Market

hidden-job-market-970x451If 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Recruiter Corner: Infusing Your Pitch With A Powerful Value Proposition

Businesswoman taking telephone callStuck 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Five Ways To Become An Indispensable Recruiter

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Attorney Job Search: How To Build A Job Search Team

careerFor 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.