Our Best Advice to Help You Achieve Your Legal Career Dreams

Career advice for legal professionalsWith a new year comes new opportunity. If you’re a legal technologist, litigation support professional, or attorney looking to advance your career in 2018, our team of experts at ESP Legal has advice for you to make your next year a success.

Our Best Advice for Job Seekers in 2018:

1. Think Beyond Salary: 

If you’re considering making a career move, think about all the factors that would improve your work life, including potential training, skills growth, benefits, commute, and employer flexibility. While salary is obviously a top consideration for you as you seek a new role, these other factors can have just as much of an impact on your happiness.

2. Freshen Your LinkedIn Image:

They might already have your resume in hand, but most managers will still look at your LinkedIn profile to get insight into your background and interests. Take some time to ensure your LinkedIn profile is not only current but also highlights your skills and industry knowledge. Like or share thought leadership articles to add depth to your profile and help you stand out.

3. Be Authentic and Honest:

Whether you’re networking, representing yourself on paper, or sharing about your background with a recruiter or in an interview, honesty is really the best policy. Often we think we have to sell ourselves as this know-it-all to get a job, but you might find the best way to build relationships and be successful is by being yourself.

4. Ask for More:

Don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility, variety, mentoring and money. Your current employer will respect you for it and be excited to have someone on their team who is seeking professional growth within the law firm. As a bonus, you’ll be improving your career now and building your resume for the future.

5. Avoid Generic Phrases and Clichéd Statements:

Have you ever been guilty of telling a job interviewer that your biggest weakness is that you work too much or that you’d always dreamed of working at their law firm (even though you hadn’t heard about it until the week before)? You may think those answers paint you as the perfect candidate, but your interviewer has heard that all before and those statements are unlikely to help your chances of landing the job. Instead of relying on the banal, try personalizing each answer with key points from both your experience and personality.

6. Think Creatively about Medical Coverage:

With rising costs, medical coverage has been a top consideration for many of our candidates. These benefits can vary significantly from firm to firm and there are also independent coverage plans that could better cover the needs of your family at a lower cost than your new employer’s plan. Be flexible and consider all your options before accepting or turning down an offer. With this creative approach, you may be able to save some money and still get that perfect job for your career.

7. Request Flexibility:

Many job seekers rank remote work and a flexible schedule as top priorities for their next job. While telecommuting is a huge benefit in today’s world it shouldn’t be a deal breaker when making a career choice. Many law firms that do not have a formal remote work policy tend to show flexibility for employees who have proven themselves. Before you decide to leave a great job in order to work from home, ask your employer if they can accommodate your desire to work remote one or two days a week. Be proactive by providing them with a means to measure your productivity from home.

8. Prepare for Interviews:

We know this seems basic, but preparation really is the key to success. Fortunately for candidates, hiring managers often ask the same questions. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years? Why should we hire you? Take the opportunity to prepare some excellent responses, using specifics to provide the kind of information your interviewers are really looking for, and practice keeping your interview responses short and to the point.

9. Don’t Worry about Golden Handcuffs:

We see a lot of job seekers pass on great opportunities because they’re waiting to receive their year-end bonus in mid-Spring of the new year. While for some this might be worth it, if you’re ready to move on from your current role, we encourage you to hear about opportunities and consider making that move before your bonus comes through. It’s a candidate driven market and there are vast opportunities out there that could not only lead to a significant increase in your compensation, but also greater job satisfaction.

2018 might be your year to get a promotion, make a career change, or join a different law firm, and if so, we hope this advice will serve you well. We truly believe every individual’s needs and career search are unique which is why our recruiters would love to offer you more personalized advice.

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Are Counteroffers Really a Bad Idea?

Is Taking a Counteroffer a Bad Idea?Have you ever Googled the question, “should I take a counteroffer?” 
If you have, you’ve seen article after article from recruitment or staffing firms claiming that 80% of people who take a counteroffer are no longer with their company after 6 months and that it’s the worst idea ever. We’re not going to use that stat. However, we do know from experience that taking a counteroffer isn’t a great decision and neither is offering one. It mainly has to do with what resigning and then taking a counteroffer does to the relationship between employee and employer: trust erodes, and things usually never feel the same.

Think of your best breakup. Maybe you mutually decided to part ways and you remained friends. But what if your ex asked you to stay with them and promised to change – he’ll take you out to eat more, she’ll give you more space; you’ll each make compromises? You might give it a go, but if you do, would you really be happy, or would the things that bothered you before creep back in and make you leave in a few months?

This is the general claim of the “never take a counteroffer” argument. And while it may seem unscientific, unproven, or silly, in most cases this tainted relationship is the reality that makes taking a counteroffer a bad idea. So rather than giving your employer the chance to hire your replacement on their timing, take a moment to evaluate a few things:

1. Why do you want to leave your current role?
Before you even accept an offer and hand in your resignation, think about your reasons for leaving. Did you apply for a job on whim, or were you truly dissatisfied with other aspects of your current role? Did you not like your responsibilities or the company culture? Was it just about your pay, or were you feeling under appreciated in other ways? Sorting through these questions will help guide your decision when it comes to taking a different job.

We recommend you work through this process before you reach a counteroffer stage. After thinking through your reasons for leaving and deciding to move on, politely resign. Don’t talk about money or factors that your current employer could—in theory—change. Instead, share that you’ve accepted an offer for a position that’s aligned with your career goals, or is best for your future. If your time of reflection leads you to decide that you don’t really have good reasons to leave, decline the opportunity you’ve been pursuing, and talk with your supervisor about the things you’d like to change. In either case, by avoiding the counteroffer situation to begin with, you’re not burning bridges with either your current or potential employer.

2. What’s your relationship with your manager like today?
If the relationship with your current manager is part of the reason you’re looking to leave, chances are they won’t be happy to be put in a situation where they need to “bribe” you to stay. This type of manager will usually offer you more money or changes in your position to get you to stay not because they can’t live without you, but because they need to buy some time to find your replacement. If you already have issues with your current manager, staying because of a counteroffer isn’t likely to improve it.

If you are one of those lucky individuals with a great relationship with your current manager, they may want to keep you on board and could be more lenient about receiving your resignation. But from our experience, it’s much more likely that this type of manager won’t make a counteroffer at all, and instead will be supportive and encouraging of you making a career-move that will benefit you long-term.

3. What happens if you stay?
We’ve already discussed the change to your relationship with your supervisor, but this isn’t the only relationship at risk when you choose to stay. You’re considered a fidelity risk by your boss and viewed as disloyal by your peers. In addition, your coworkers may harbor resentment against both you and your manager, causing significant tension in the workplace. You’re also potentially damaging your relationship, and any possible future, with the firm where you accepted, and then rescinded your acceptance of their offer.

Staying for higher pay? It probably won’t last long. We’ve heard time and time again of employees staying for an increase in pay, and then receiving a smaller raise – or no raise at all – when that time comes around. The company needs to recoup the extra cost they incurred to keep you and will justify their actions by reasoning that they met your desire for higher pay just a few months prior.

So, I’m a Legal Tech Pro, Should I Take a Counteroffer?
From our years of helping technology professionals gain new opportunities at top law firms and advising them toward career success, we’d suggest it’s never a good idea to take a counteroffer. Remember: your firm made you a counteroffer because they don’t want to lose you now—but what really makes you more valuable today than you were yesterday?

It’s a competitive market for hiring technology professionals right now, so law firms are particularly eager to hang on to the individuals they already have on board. If you’ve decided to move on to greener pastures, but in your resignation left room for your manager to think you’d be open to a counteroffer, you’re likely to get one. When you’ve reached this point you’re already in a lose/lose situation for law firm and employee. Instead of leaving that door open, make it clear to your current employer that you’re thankful for the time you spent at their firm but that this career change is something you can’t pass up. As a legal technology professional that has worked hard to obtain a new role, stick to your decision and you’ll be happier in the long run.

If you’re thinking of making a career change, our recruiters are here to help.
Contact Us Today For Free Career Advice

 

This blog was originally published in 2011 and has been updated to reflect current trends. 

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