Q: I’m stagnating in my current legal job, and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to look for another position. But it’s been many years since I’ve been in the job market. How can I maximize my chances of success?
A: When your current job doesn’t allow room for career advancement, you’re smart to seek a new challenge rather than settling for the status quo. Here are some ways to get the most out of your upcoming job search.
1. Revamp your resume. Sounds like it’s been a while since your resume has seen the light of day, so start your job search by overhauling this important document. Highlight the skills hiring managers want to see: tech literacy, stellar interpersonal abilities and expertise in hot practice areas such as litigation. Be aware of resume sins, such as embellishing expertise and including unnecessary information. Then have a grammar-savvy friend proofread it and give you feedback.
2. Step up networking. Now is not the time to be an introvert. While job boards are fine places to look for vacancies, nothing beats the personal touch. Reach out to friends and former colleagues, and quietly spread the word that you’re seeking new opportunities. Print up some personal business cards, polish your elevator pitch and be prepared to network during holiday events. Take every opportunity to enlarge your circle of contacts.
3. Research prospective employers. The last thing you want is to jump from one unhappy job situation to another. Find out more about the organizations you’re interested in before applying for any openings. Start by really scrutinizing their website, paying special attention to what it may tell you about the corporate culture. Then check out their social media presence and see what a search in Google News turns up.
4. Know your worth. Demand remains strong for mid-level legal professionals, especially those with expertise in high-growth specialty areas. As part of your job search, know what the going rates are for people with your experience level, which you can find in the most recent Robert Half Legal Salary Guide. Use our Salary Calculator to customize the results for your city.
5. Work with a recruiter. Since you’re currently employed, you may not have much time to devote to a job search. Partner with a specialized legal recruiter, who can help with tasks ranging from reviewing resumes to connecting you with openings that match your expertise, interests and salary expectations. Best of all, this service is free for job candidates.
Companies are eager to hire skilled legal specialists, and the new year is an ideal time to climb up the ladder. Good luck as you begin another chapter in your career.