Tips for Success on the Job Hunt
I was laid off from my legal job during the pandemic. I’m looking for a new position, but so much has changed. Do you have any insights about the skills and experience that are in demand today? And any tips that can help me conduct a successful job search?
Re-entering the legal profession after being laid off is always challenging. However, with the economy picking up again, firms are looking for new talent. To get on their radar, follow these tips:
Do your research
Most openings will be in hot practice areas like contracts, litigation, healthcare and privacy. You need to measure your current skill set against what hiring managers in those fields are looking for. Think beyond job-specific and technology skills, crucial though they are. One-third of employers polled by Robert Half said that helping workers improve soft skills like teamwork and communication was their top priority for the coming year.
Consider connecting with a career coach or resume consultant to determine what skills will add the most value to your candidate profile. You can take continuing legal education (CLE) classes online or through your local bar or paralegal association chapter to upskill.
Network, network, network
Re-establish your existing professional networks and let your contacts know you’re looking for new opportunities. Not only can these contacts provide leads on potential positions, but they can also provide valuable info on what’s changed in the profession. You can also use virtual networking to your advantage — update your LinkedIn and other social media profiles, form new connections, and keep an eye out for opportunities. Local bar associations and industry groups can also open doors.
Keep an open mind
Don’t underestimate how much has changed since your last employment. For example, it’s now common for firms and legal departments to offer on-site, remote and hybrid positions. Decide which work style suits you best and how flexible you’re prepared to be to land your dream job. While you may have your eye on a full-time role, there are plenty of other ways to kick-start your career. Don’t be afraid to take on less-traditional forms of legal work, such as volunteering to write legal briefs for an appeals bureau or handling overflow work on a per diem or contract basis. Employers place a high value on adaptability these days, so a track record of moving smoothly between contrasting roles will put you in good stead.
Above all, try to stay positive and optimistic. The pandemic disrupted your career, but as the business world bounces back, so can you.