Knowing yourself doesn't require five- to 10-years of professional experience-just a little introspection

What Kind of Lawyer Will You Be?

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Knowing yourself doesn’t require five- to 10-years of professional experience—just a little introspection.

Ask yourself the following three questions to get to know yourself a little better before your next interview:

1. What kind of learner are you?
Are you a fast-learner, an analyzer, a deep thinker, or a memorizer? Whatever your learning style, there is always a way to explain how it can work to your advantage and be of value to the firm.

2. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
By this point in life, you should know your personality type. Extroverts have many great qualities: proactive, a knack for risk-taking, and an enviable ability to schmooze in any situation.

On the other hand, if you describe yourself as more of an introvert, don’t assume you’re at a disadvantage. A study led by Wharton management professor Adam Grant found that introverts outperform extroverts when leading teams of proactive workers. As a society, we prefer action to deliberation but also value people who take the time to step back and assess situations.

3. How emotionally intelligent are you?
Imagine a situation in which your morning didn’t get off to the best start. You’re out of your favorite brand of coffee. Your train breaks down, the air-conditioning turns off, and you’re forced to sit uncomfortably next to strangers just as hot and frustrated as you. After arriving to work late you get stuck riding the elevator with the one co-worker you can’t stand. It’s only 9 am and one irritating email is enough to put you over the edge. Time to take a deep breath.

Emotional intelligence refers to how well you adapt to stressful situations—an increasingly important factor for legal recruiters. Think about it this way: Your brilliant ideas and a great sense of humor won’t get you far if you blow up every time something doesn’t go your way. It’s crucial to understand your emotions and be able to manage them at work. Employers don’t want hotheads, but rather people who stay calm, cool, and collected when dealing with the tough stuff.

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