Career Change for Lawyers – Tips from an Industry Expert
Regardless of the stage of your legal career, the prospect of taking a new career path, either elsewhere within the law or in business, academics or the non-profit world, can seem quite daunting. However, the fear can be greatly reduced, and the process made painless, by enlisting the help of a professional consultant who specializes in alternative legal careers. Below are some expert tips that will help get you started with your exploration of career options.
Work with Someone who Specializes in Career Changes for Lawyers
Although several companies and numerous coaches assist people with making career changes, most of these are general practitioners who work with all kinds of executives. Very few have the expertise required to deal with attorneys who wish to make a move or to consider their real-world options. Other lawyers are not necessarily the best resource as coaches – they may know the law, but not much about personal marketing or how hiring decisions are made in the non-law firm world.
Career Strategies Group, founded in 1992, has extensive experience assisting legal professionals who are considering changing careers. The organization has worked with several thousand attorneys on a career change and alternative job search, and as such, has a number of resources available to assist with the process. These include providing candidates with viable career alternatives, career coaching, career change resumes, job search strategies, interview preparation, and personal marketing plan to guide their searches.
Don’t Attempt the Process Alone
Although it may be relatively easy for some people to change career paths on their own, this is not usually the case with attorneys. The old saying, “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client” is very apt here. Attorneys have very specific skill sets that often neither they nor the hiring community, can readily see as being relevant to non-legal positions. This is a critical mistake. The same skills that make you good at being a lawyer can qualify you for high-level non-legal jobs. An experienced legal career transition professional can help you, and the marketplace, see why you are qualified for positions that you have never held before. This involves an understanding of legal skills and the needs of the non-legal market. An experienced consultant, like those at Career Strategies Group, can help make this “skills translation” easy.
Amend Social Media Profiles
After setting up their social media profiles on sites like LinkedIn, many lawyers forget about their online presence. Lawyers, in particular, were initially very reluctant to promote themselves on social media. Even today, many attorneys have very sparse profiles. Big mistake. An effective social media presence is one of the most critical components of a successful job search or career change. Also, when creating or amending your profile, make sure that it reflects your relevant skills and experience. If you are a litigator and want to get into the business side of things, your profile should focus on your managerial and multi-tasking skills, not your courtroom victories. Be sure you are marketing the “right” product.
Your professional social media profile should include a clear head shot, up to date contact details, and information that will show your target market what you bring to the table that will be useful to them. If you are between positions, you should make it clear about the types of positions you are searching for. If you are still employed and need to keep your search close to the vest, you can still modify your profile so it focuses on the skills you have that are valuable to the type of position you want.
Have your Resume Professionally Updated
Recruitment experts all agree on one thing – resumes should stress results, not just practice areas and responsibilities. The hiring community indeed needs to know your duties and responsibilities, but what we really want to know is how well did you exercise those duties? What problems did you solve? How did you solve them? How did you help your clients or your firm? This is what separates the winners from the also-rans in a job search. Many attorneys take their daily work for granted and have a hard time coming up with accomplishments. A consultant who understands the ins and outs of what you do as an attorney, and who can help you identify your successes, is worth their weight in gold.
Career Strategies Group specializes in designing and writing career alternative resumes for lawyers. They also prepare special cover letters for each market: employers, recruiters, networking contacts, and venture capital or private equity firms. Each market requires a different form of a letter. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to personal marketing. A professionally written resume and cover letter will help show your true value and standout from the clutter of the dozens or even hundreds of resumes that are received for a single position.
If you are an attorney or lawyer and you’ve been thinking about exploring your career options and or discovering “what else is out there” for you, but are not sure how to even start the process, get in touch with our team today. You’ll receive a confidential, no-cost initial screening call to discuss your situation and goals. We do not accept all candidates as clients; if you meet our requirements and are deemed a suitable match for our services, we will have a second, no-cost call to do a deeper dive into your situation. Once we have enough information about your case, we can advise about how we can help you overcome your obstacles and move into a new career area that will provide the challenges, rewards, and work/life balance that you are seeking.