Recruiters usually don't cover in-house legal jobs at all. You may not realize this until you look specifically for an in-house legal position. Normally, recruiters focus on jobs in various law firms; very rarely do they list or even look at openings for in-house legal positions. On the other hand, those recruiters who do focus on this type of job are on the payroll of the company/ corporation. Hence, unless you fit the criteria laid down by their employers, you would not be considered for the in-house job.
So, how does one look for and land an in-house legal job?
Here are a few tips that will work very well if this is your career's aim. Be prepared to look longer and harder; but eventually, with the right approach and method of search, you will be able to land the legal job of your dreams.
- Network Continuously - This will not always point you to an available in-house position, but networking will definitely bring you closer to your goal. Since these jobs are very narrowly defined to suit each company's requirements, it is more likely to be filled through recommendations from network. This is especially true when you are looking for a high level position - and not entry level. For high level positions companies have unique requirements tailored to the type of industry and its legal implications/needs.
- Enlist with Multiple Recruiters - Unlike run-of-the mill legal positions, companies looking for candidates for in-house jobs would use different recruiting firms. You will find that even the largest legal recruiters would have a very tiny percentage of listing on in-house jobs. Hence, to maximize your chances to land an in-house job, enlist with multiple recruiting firms.
- Highlight in Your Resume the Right Attributes for the In-house Position - Companies who are hiring for in-house legal jobs require that the candidate has slightly different skills than the lawyers in a law firm. They look for the following skills and attributes:
a. Ability to work in a team
b. Political astuteness
c. Ability to act proactively
d. Ability to read correctly and respond to business needs
e. Passion for profession
f. Ability to decide quickly based on inaccurate/ imperfect information
g. Ability to add value to the company (instead of being just an expense head)
Your resume should focus and highlight your talent and abilities in this particular light in order to be shortlisted by recruiting firms for any in-house job.