It’s that time of the year once again. We may be enjoying what we once affectionately called “Spring Break,” or merely planning a weekend getaway, but this is also the time to do a bit of spring cleaning, both personally and professionally. With this series we will discuss both aspects of this spring cleaning within the context of the job search.
It is well-known that during this time of the year firms, corporations, and non-profits begin finally putting into action their New Year’s resolutions and plans. With that in mind, it also means that hiring is going to ramp-up, something that we here at Legal Authority call the “Spring Bump”. That should act as your cue to start thinking about your career path and where you want to be at this time next year.
If you are simply locked in a job that you are no longer enjoying or if you are still on the job hunt, now is the time to get your house in order and solidify your plan for securing the employment that you WANT this year. But how do you do this? Where to start? Well, here’s a helpful list of things you should focus on as we continue our weekly discussion about stepping into the job search:
1. REFINE THAT RESUME: You have undoubtedly gained more experience over the course of the past year, and you need to make sure that all your experience from this year is included in your resume. Here are a few overlooked portions of your resume that you should include as well:
- CLE Classes: These classes are especially helpful to put on your resume when you are transitioning between practice areas. By highlighting your attendance at an “Entertainment Law” CLE when you are trying to transition into entertainment law, you are showing that you are interested and committed to that field of law. It’s all about marketing yourself.
- Volunteering/Law Clinics: Have you volunteered somewhere and provided legal services to those you were working with? Then include it! That is quality experience and shows your dedication to your community. Stability and personal investment in the community are two things employers are always looking for.
2. NETWORK NOW: You may have been hibernating for the winter, but as spring is upon us, this is your opportunity to kick your networking into high gear. You need to get motivated so that you can connect with decision makers before the summer vacation season starts up. So schedule those coffees, lunches, and cocktail hours now! There is no better way to secure a job than through a great networking connection. Here are a couple of sources to look toward for networking:
- Local Bar Associations: Only you know if you have actually networked consistently. In order to network properly you don’t merely show up once – you attend the events consistently, schedule numerous meetings and make an impact. Be charismatic, confident, and ready to mingle.
- Your Law Fraternity: Speaking from personal experience, Phi Alpha Delta has been one of the best networking tools in my arsenal. PAD has a list of attorneys on their site that are open to networking with other alumni and I am certain the other Fraternities do as well. Be sure you are putting that investment to good use. Not a part of a law fraternity? It might not be too late! Look into it now.
3. FIND A MENTOR: Beyond networking, and above all else, you need a mentor. A great mentor is someone who can provide you with the guidance required to navigate the legal employment market. Try to connect with older alumni from the law school you graduated from. Most law school career service centers maintain a list of alumni willing to serve as resources. If you cannot find an attorney who is in practice, refer to a law school professor.
4. UTILIZE LINKEDIN: You may be marketing yourself and you don’t even know it. LinkedIn® is a great way to introduce yourself to other professionals online. If you have been neglecting your profile then continue reading this series – I will be speaking directly about your LinkedIn profile in the coming weeks.
5. KEEP APPLYING: I know what you are thinking. Among the hundreds of submissions you’ve made, you have only heard back from a handful. This is frustrating and at times deeply upsetting, but you have to keep at it. If you continue to apply, you are putting your name out there, and you never know if the next submission might be your last. Even though postings may seem sparse, there are still great opportunities out there if your materials are well prepared.
6. ENJOY THE SPRING: Most importantly, this is a time of rebirth NOT remorse. If you feel that your job search did not bear fruit last year, leave it in last year. You need to take care of your spring cleaning and start getting out there.
So there you have it, a brief overview of what you need to think about over the course of the next 7 days before we start our discussion about developing your career path. If you haven’t started your spring cleaning already, don’t worry. It’s never too late to start. If you need any further guidance or you want to speak with me further about the job search, schedule an appointment with me at www.legalauthority.com and I will help find the right approach for you.
All the best,