Job Seeking Strategies for Paralegals – Q1 2023 Facts & Findings
The thought of considering another job can be stressful. There are many factors to consider, like the location, the type of work you will be doing, and who you will be working with. When looking for a job opportunity, be strategic and do your homework. Do your due diligence and research to find what you are looking for. Searching for another job can be time-consuming, but the goal is to focus on applying for jobs you are interested in. Suppose you are applying for any job to get you out of your current position. In that case, chances are that you will find yourself looking for another job very soon because you did not do your homework to find out what you are interested in pursuing and what makes you the happiest initially. Job stability and experience are essential, but the emphasis is on finding what you are specifically looking for. You can start by taking a personality test to help guide you in developing a job-seeking strategy. Once you have decided that you are looking for another opportunity, you need to ask yourself why you are looking to make a change from your current employer. Also, what do you want to obtain in your new opportunity? Do you want to expand your knowledge and skills in your current niche? Or move into a completely different practice group? Once you start answering some of those questions, it may lead to other questions you will need to answer before you can determine what type of new opportunity you are looking for as you begin updating your resume. When you have responded to those pertinent questions, then you need to do the following:
UPDATE YOUR RESUME:
Pull out that resume. Read over it several times and start making some changes. The key is to keep your resume updated; that way, you will not have to make too many changes to it unless you are looking to change careers. Suppose you are not the best at editing and proofing your resume; in that case, I recommend using a professional resume service company or someone you know who has excellent editing and proofing skills. Your resume is an investment and reflection of you. It is a step that can not be skipped or half done when you decide to start sending your resume to employers. Your resume is what gets you in the door for an interview. Some things to remember when preparing your resume: It should have your name and correct contact information, i.e., your phone number and email address; it should be spell-checked so that you have no misspelled words. Your work experience for your prior employers should be written in the past tense. And you should never have anything on your resume that you can not explain and do not have the experience to perform. Remember, if you get the job and do not have the expertise you professed in your interview, it can present a huge issue for you. Your reputation will become tainted. Although the legal profession appears large, it can be smaller than you think. Also, highlight the keywords, skills, experience, and qualifications you need to perform the job as outlined in the job description to increase your chances of success. Artificial intelligence software often detects the targeted words they are looking for before a human being reviews your resume. Next, create a cover letter using some of the information from your resume that reflects a few of your strong points. Use bullet points for easy reading, highlighting the skills requested in the job description. You only get one chance to make a first and lasting impression.
Your digital footprint is critical in today’s job market. You must create or update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to create your brand as a professional. One of the first things employers and recruiters do is search your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you. Based on your LinkedIn profile, recruiters and hiring managers may reach out to you directly. As a few suggestions, your LinkedIn profile should have a professional picture, a compelling headline, and your updated resume. A LinkedIn profile creates endless opportunities to connect and network with like-minded professionals, recruitment personnel, and hiring managers. Remember to set up LinkedIn job alerts to cast a wider net.
SET UP JOB ALERTS TO START APPLYING FOR JOBS:
Once your resume is finalized, you are ready to start applying for opportunities. Create a word and a pdf version of your resume, and then save it in a place you can access easily. I suggest you set up job alerts for the specific jobs you are looking for on job search boards, such as LinkedIn, Indeed. com, and Simplyhired.com. Do not forget to turn on the notification on LinkedIn to let recruiters know you are interested in their contacting you for new opportunities.
In addition to the job alerts, send your resume to at least 2-3 recruiters and network with your connections on LinkedIn for opportunities that they may know are available. Also, search employer websites you are interested in working for to apply. Suppose you do not see any openings on an employer’s website. In that case, you can always send an email with your cover letter and resume to the managing partner for consideration, as you never know when a position may become available. Sometimes it is all about timing. Combining these steps allows you to create more opportunities to find the job you seek.
GETTING READY FOR THE INTERVIEW:
After you have been contacted by the recruiter or human resources department for your potential employer, it is time to find out everything you can about the employer. For example, how long have they been in business? What is their mission statement? What type of work do they do? Where is their office located? And is there room for growth and long-term employment? The list can be endless, but the key is to learn about the employer and the people interviewing you and discern what value you can bring to their company or firm. Imagine yourself as a product. Would you buy you?
Also, consider at least three to five questions to ask your interviewer. Remember, you are interviewing them equally as they are interviewing you. Take the time to ask well-thought-out questions to help you determine if the position, responsibilities, and employer would be a good fit for you. And just as important, figure out what you will wear to the interview. I suggest a professional, tailored pantsuit in black, dark gray, or navy blue for men and a tailored pantsuit or skirt suit for women with polished dress shoes.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW:
Once the interview is over, thank them, and always ask for a business card so you can email them within 24 hours to thank them again for their time. If they do not have a business card, be sure you have their full name and email address in case you have additional questions, and also thank them again for their time.
GETTING AN OFFER AND CLOSING THE DEAL:
Before you receive an offer of employment, make sure you have performed market analysis research to determine what the market is paying for someone with your job title and experience. You can do that by going to Payscale.com or Salary.com. After receiving an employment offer, always thank them for it. Now begin the negotiating process unless they have given you exactly what you wanted in your entire benefits package. Otherwise, always negotiate as you do not want to leave on the table any money or additional benefits you could receive.
Creating a winning job-seeking strategy becomes easier if you have invested the time and energy in yourself as a professional. As you maneuver through the job-seeking strategy process, you will develop a system and method that works for you as you keep these recommendations in mind. In the end, you are a valuable resource to the firm they are happy to have.
Shawn Denise Andrews is a Senior Paralegal located in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the founder of the American Paralegal Network, the host for podcast Andrew Legal Matters, and the Author of The Perfect Paralegal: A Quick Guide to Maximizing Your Efficiency & Income. Additionally, Shawn creates and curates articles focusing on the professional development of litigation paralegals. Shawn may be contacted on LinkedIn @ linkedin. com/in/shawndandrews em: firstname.lastname@example.org