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Conventional & Unconventional Ways Of Getting A Legal Job

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There are many people who aspire for a legal job, especially those students who have completed law school, but don't really know how to go about it. Well, jobs are available for those who know where to look and how to get them. This article will apprise the serious job applicant about realizing his employment goals and help in landing the coveted legal job.

Conventional & Unconventional Ways Of Getting A Legal Job

First thing for you to do is to stop drifting aimlessly. Set yourself a goal. Set all other things aside. Goals stimulate and encourage. The stimulus provides impetus which in turn will lead you to avenues of known and unheard of opportunities.

There is no need to panic and run helter-skelter, or spend lots of money on job-search programs. Just set yourself a target and then formulate a way to achieve it.

What really is a job? In simplistic terms, it is finding solutions to problems. The world is beset with problems and all you have to do is make a list of the problems that concern you and see if you have the requisite qualities and competence to solve the problems and behind those problems, waiting for you, will be your job.

Treat the job search as something that is fun. Enjoy it like you would a game. Remember it is not too different from a game. Just like in a game it has a set of laws, and it requires commitment, foresight, plans, perseverance and passion. Success or failure depends on how you play. If you don't play by the rules you will end up with mediocre jobs because the good ones will go to those who play by the rules. 

Treat it as a challenge that you have it in you to overcome. Your attitude will make the difference to the outcome. Never think of a job search as a painful, extended, arduous, demanding, and dismal experience. Think of it as a fun-filled journey where you are at the end will be rewarded with success and accomplishment.

Think positive. Chances of you getting the job are much higher than your chances of not getting one. There are more job opportunities than before. Once you convince yourself that the job needs you more than you need the job you will permeate confidence and self-assurance and there will be no insecurity or ambiguity in your attitude and approach.  Remember the odds of you getting a job are growing with each passing day. The job market is growing bigger; the unemployment rate is showing encouraging figures and millions of new jobs are being added each year.

Don't think that you are competing with many other job applicants. The only person you are competing with is your own self. Once you put yourself in a positive frame of mind, there is little doubt that your job search will be successful.

You can get the job of your desires by adapting to three different roles, that of an actor, a detective and a seller. An actor because you will need to show your interviewers that you are confident and self-assured even though deep down you are very nervous and tense. You'll have to be a detective because you will need to unearth information about work places, their needs, openings and the type of people who run the show there and about all you have to be a salesman, because you have to sell the vital product, that is yourself.

This of course does not mean that you must pretend to be what you are not, but it will surely be one of the ways to get a job, if you have the ability to adapt to circumstances, changing your garb and concealing inherent weaknesses that are inbuilt in all job seekers.  So keep in mind just three things, motivate yourself, market yourself and sell yourself.

Once you get a job start looking for the job that you will want to do next. Use the current job as a platform to the next big and desired one and start from day one of your first job. There is no job security in the current work atmosphere. Competition is cut throat. Employers show no mercy. If they can get a cheaper or a better replacement, you will be shown the door. Moreover, owing to takeovers and market fluctuations companies go bankrupt and then where would be if you did not have a back-up plan.

Of course this does not mean that you should be untrue to your current employer and your job. Do your job to the best of your ability but at the same time be prepared that there could come a time when you could lose this job.

Remember that if your employers decide to downsize or restructure, yours and many other jobs will be eliminated - loyalty is a great virtue, but in these trying times, that loyalty has to first be for you before you percolate it down to others.

Whilst marketing yourself sell yourself at exactly what you merit. Don't accept jobs that are lower than your level of capability and don't aspire for one that is higher than your level of competence.

If you are overqualified and look for a job that is lower than your level of competence your employer will presume that you are not ambitious, or that you will soon outgrow your keenness and enthusiasm and the tedium of doing a lesser job will make you restless and hanker for another job. No employer likes the thought of losing a good worker and finding another on whom money will have to be spent on training and orientation.

Put a tangible value tag on yourself and think of yourself as a product on a shelf, up for sale. Why do you buy something in the supermarket? You buy it because it fulfills your need for it. It has the value that you are seeking. When an employer hires you, he see's in you a product worth investing in for the value that you bring. Just make sure you know your true worth, in dollar terms and don't sell yourself short. If you are worth that much, employers will pay if they too concur that you will worthy of their investment.

If you are looking to join a particular company or firm, join it on their terms and work your way upwards. Surveys have revealed that companies prefer to hire from within and only if they do not have workers who can be upgraded, they look for them elsewhere - after all those employees within the company are a known commodity and the company does not have to spend money on advertisements or pay tor recruiters.

Research the firm in every way you can and see if there is a vacancy that matches your needs and then approach a recruiter or the human resource department and get a foothold in the company.

Research your job before deciding that it is the job that you want. Luckily modern technology and transparency amongst firms has made the task a lot easier. Whilst quite a lot of information can be garnered from the net, it also makes sense to network with the writers of articles you have read on the net regarding the firm. Write to the authors and tell them how much you enjoyed the article and how informative the articles were. Sweet-talk the authors into revealing valuable information about the firms. They are usually privy to inside information and you will get information that other potential competitors will not have.

Here's yet another way of getting a legal job. Market yourself in manner that they will want you even if they don't need you right away. Demonstrate your flair, skills and capacity to employers, like a door-to-door salesman marketing his products, save that in this case you are the product. Tell the employer what benefits you will bring to the company.

Job-search sites and advertisements provide information about only 15 percent of the job opening available in the market. Surveys reveal that 85 percent of the jobs are never publicized. Employers have their own network through which they fulfill their employment needs. So if you are limiting yourself to advertised jobs, you are competing for only a fraction of the jobs available.

Understand who the employer is likely to employ. An unknown entity or someone recommended by a contact in his network. So develop contacts who can recommend you and maximize your chances - break into that network. Continue to spoon feed your network so that you are always fresh in their minds. Remember their will be others also who will be networking with them.

If you don't have any contacts, just go ahead and make them. It is something that you do every day. When you want the name of an eating place that serves good food, you find it easily - that's what networking is all about, except that this time you are not looking for good food but a job.

Never make your resume too long. Irrespective of who you are. You could be the President of the US but still you must limit your resume to a single page. Interviewer's attention spans are very limited and your resume should convey in a gist what your qualifications are and that you are suited for the post you are seeking. Superfluous material could result in the valuable points getting lost in a jungle of jargon.

You might be thinking I have so much to say, how I can abridge it to a single page. Remember that any excessive words will dilute the significance of your resume. If you really sit down to writing every worth with the intent that each carries some meaning than you will certainly end up with a resume that makes an enduring, organized, well-proportioned statement that you are worth a second look.

All that your resume should contain is, what is that you are looking for? Do you have it in you to do justice to the job that you are seeking? What are your qualifications and does your past record merit giving you the job?

Of course these are questions that you can answer in your resume. However, it is much better if you can get someone else to blow your trumpet for you. When you do the trumpeting, however factual it may, however truthful it may be, it sounds boastful and immodest and readers will be skeptical about its veracity.

It is always a good idea to attach recommendations from others, your former employers, the principal of your school, to the resume. It will add a lot of worth and authenticity to your resume and increase your chances of beating other competitors to the job.

Never underestimate the worth of the cover letter. To send a resume without a cover letter is considered impolite and discourteous.

Here's another avenue of getting jobs that is not frequented too often. Browse the help-wanted ads, which do not have too many jobs outlined but nevertheless they are there and since not too many job-hunters look for jobs there, your chances of getting one through them is fairly good. However, it is for you to be judicious in deciding whether the job advertised in help-wanted is really worth your while.

Don't allow headhunters and recruiters to dictate your every move. Only those who are totally ineffective will leave everything to them.  Learn how to market yourself without their services. If you can sell yourself to a headhunter you can sell yourself to a potential employer. Moreover, if you get a job without a headhunter's help your company will not have to pay the percentage that companies normally pay them. Who knows this amount could be appended to your salary.

When it's time for the job interview don't panic. There is no doubt that it is demanding, stressful, at times prejudiced but it is also the last door you will have to go through to get that job. Understand that at the resume stage there were hundreds hankering for the job but now most of those resumes have been consigned to the refuse bin. Now it is between a handful of people. That you are among the chosen few means that they think you fit the bill - it's only a matter of finding out who amongst you fits the bill best.

Just be well prepared, dress well, be punctual, have your papers ready and above all be positive. Remember you have to sell yourself. You are a product and they are the buyers. They must see worth in you.

During the interview don't interrupt or get into an argument with the interviewer and most importantly after the interview don't forget to send a short precise letter of gratitude and appreciation to your interviewer. It also conveys the message that you are interested in the job.

Don't allow rejection to turn into dejection. To win you need to lose and then learn why you lost and redefine your game. Challenge rejection and hold it by the horns and say keeping coming at me with as much force you want but every time I will rebuff you.  Invite rejection, fight rejection, eventually you'll come out victorious.

If you have the ability to spot hiring trends you will be way ahead of the competition. Keep a pulse on the job market and understand which markets are producing the most jobs. Tally the number of jobs in the help-wanted advertisements and then see who they are asking for, medical technicians, computer analysts, nurses, salesmen. If you see a sudden increase for any one particular profession, that is your best bet.

Stay abreast with business news through prominent business and corporate magazines. Suppose you read that a particular business is expanding or another has received a huge grant and one has made astronomical profits, just understand that they will need new personnel to man their growth. You approach them first before they advertize and the whole world knows about their intent. The initiative you will show will be appreciated by the company's management and they will see in you a person with drive and passion.

And last but not the least, here's how to get a job after you have been turned down. If you are rejected should you just file the letter and move on to your next job search? No. Understand they were hundreds who had applied for the job and of them they interviewed only four or five people. You made it to the top five. Obviously you had worth and value. The company has spent their time and money in evaluating all the hundreds of applicants and then pruning them down to a handful.

Just write a letter to the company saying that the rejection came as a huge disappointment and that you were so looking forward to working with the company, more so after having met all of them, such wonderful warm people. Then tell them that even though you are not their first choice, for you they are and will remain the first choice and that if a vacancy occurs would they please intimate you and give you the opportunity.

Many a times it has happened that their person of first choice failed to turn after a few months of work the company or the employee himself felt that their choices were misguided. Your letter will be recollected by the management and you could recover the good tidings and all because you had the prudence to write that letter.

These are some conventional and unconventional ways of looking for that hard-to- find job. Following them will surely ensure that the job-hunter is better placed than before in attaining his employment goals.

About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

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Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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