Maximizing Hireability in an Uncertain Economy
An uncertain, shaky economy can pose new challenges for attorneys looking to make a career transition — generally speaking, they must have a more competitive application than they would otherwise require in a healthier economy (and the attorney-candidate must perform extremely well during the interview).
Maximizing one’s hireability can be a difficult process, especially if you haven’t explored the job market in a few years and aren’t quite sure how to build yourself up as a competitive attorney applicant, let alone better than the “norm.”
Here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, our team of legal recruiters has built an extensive network of attorneys and hiring managers throughout California, giving us insight into what exactly firms and in-house departments are looking for with respect to candidates — this enables our clients to strategize effectively for the hiring process.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways in which you can maximize hireability, and thereby get a leg up against the competition.
Consider the following.
Speak Honestly with Past Colleagues for Clarity
If you’re currently unemployed, or if you are willing to reveal that you’re actively looking for a new position, it’s worth speaking to colleagues (and former colleagues) to ask them about what they see as your strengths and weaknesses. By understanding how people in a work evaluate your career — your big wins and losses — you can more effectively craft an application and interview performance that is more competitive.
It’s absolutely worth doing so, as it can be quite difficult for attorneys to self-evaluate and determine what is the most impressive aspect of their work-life. For example, where you might believe that your team-oriented personality is your biggest strength, colleagues might point to your sharp intellectual streak and ability to craft winning case arguments in unfamiliar situations.
Leverage References Who Truly Understand Your Value
When you choose references, be sure to select references who know you well from a professional perspective — in other words, colleagues, mentors, and managers who are not necessarily just impressive in their own right, but who have worked alongside you on various projects and who can speak personally as to your skillset.
When employers contact a reference, they don’t want to hear vague assertions as to your positive qualities — they prefer to hear specific observations about how you contributed to a project. These more specific discussions will give additional credibility to the reference’s praise of your professional expertise, so do invest the time and effort into securing great references.
Engage the Industry: Newsletters, Blogs, and Lectures
In a shaky economy, any non-work activity that boosts your professional “brand” is worth exploring. In today’s world, more and more attorneys are writing blogs, contributing to legal newsletters, and taking part in lectures on a specific area of law (or a specific industry) — these activities can boost your online presence, and show prospective employers that you are truly committed to the profession. Further, it indicates a willingness to network with potential clients and other relevant industry partners.
Invest the Time Necessary to Understand the Position
Do your research! Every firm and in-house department is different. Though there are similarities, each has their own unique flair, work culture, project expectations, and office environment. Even between two prominent Biglaw firms, you may be an excellent “culture fit” at one firm, and a poor “culture fit” at the other — despite both firms being known as competitive, highly prestigious firms at the state and national level.
Garb Jaffe has deep insight into various organizations throughout California, and through our networks, we provide the “real” information you need to know about a position, and about how your career may play out at a particular organization. This is quite valuable, as many attorneys are forced to accept a 2+ year stint at a position that is simply incompatible with their values and interests, until they are equipped to make the jump to another organization — doing the preliminary research can save you lots of time and career frustration.
Contact Garb Jaffe for Legal Recruitment Assistance
If you would like to make a career transition — whether to a position at a new firm or in-house department, or to an entirely different practice focus within the legal industry — then we encourage you to get in touch with an experienced Bay Area legal recruiter at Garb Jaffe & Associates for guidance.
Here at Garb Jaffe, our team of legal recruiters have decades of experience working with a range of attorney-candidates — from general counsel to junior partner, and more — helping them to secure “ideal” positions that are not only a compatible fit for their personalities, but that also have long term potential for their career growth.
Interested in learning more about our services? Call or send us an email to request a meeting today.
We look forward to speaking with you!