There is no doubt about it, the legal job market is going through an extremely challenging period. Every day there is news of yet another law firm giant laying off obscene numbers of attorneys and staff. In this difficult recruiting climate, it becomes imperative to use all relevant resources available to you, to the best of your abilities. If utilizing the services of a recruiter is part of your job search arsenal, here are a couple of tips on how to maximize the benefits from this relationship.
Be an abundant resource of information
The best types of recruiters will be those who take the necessary time to get to know you and your marketing strengths. A little extra preparation can go a long way, in trying to set you apart from the numerous other applicants vying for the same position. Be an abundant source of professional and personal information for your recruiter. Freely give them all of the information they request, along with any additional details about your background that you think will be helpful.
Collecting useful information is necessary for your recruiter to create a cover letter that effectively markets you and also to possibly edit your resume further. It often surprises me when candidates refuse to give additional and helpful information to their recruiters because they are ''too busy'' or it is not convenient to do so. A recruiter's ability to represent you is either directly enhanced or limited by your participation and commitment to this process.
In this tight job market, you will want your recruiter to highlight every important aspect of your experience and also the specific cases or deals that you significantly contributed to. If your resume has a generic or a too general sounding practice description- help your recruiter vamp it up by providing comprehensive information about your experience to set you apart from the pack. If you are a transactional lawyer, it is also a very good idea to create a deal list that you can give to your recruiter. Litigation or intellectual property attorneys can also provide a highlight sheet of the noteworthy cases or projects they have worked on.
Furthermore, if you are a hard worker and are one of the tip billers at your current or previous firm, mention this to your recruiter. You basically want to share any marketing information that would help your cause, but that is not readily available on your resume.
Reason for your search
One of the most important questions that your recruiter needs to answer about you is why you are conducting a law firm search. If you are employed, law firms want to know why you are looking to leave your current firm. If you are not employed, employers want to know the circumstances surrounding your most recent departure. Effective recruiters will want to try to answer all of these types of questions in the initial submission sent out. It is important to be proactive about doing this so that the prospective firms will have a complete understanding of why you are seeking new employment, from their first contact with you. Explaining your circumstances in this way also allows your recruiter to offer mitigating circumstances (if any) regarding your desire to seek new employment.
It is also rather helpful to let your recruiter know of any personal information that will increase your visibility and marketability with the firms. For instance, if you are relocating to another geographic area- relate all of your personal and professional ties to that region to your recruiter. Your recruiter can then convey all of these ties to the prospective firms, so they can view you as a long-term fit or hire for their practice groups.
Take the time to also express to your recruiter any other interesting or unusual accomplishments that may make you stand out with the firms. Don't be shy about identifying your achievements. Now is the time to have your recruiter advocate your talents and strengths to the prospective firms, on your behalf.
With fierce competition and a lower number of available associate openings, time is of the essence. Thus, if your recruiter requests something from you- try to be timely in your response and in providing your recruiter with anything he/she needs. Law firms are overwhelmed with the number of good available applicants out there right now- so the sooner you can get your resume submission in, the better your chances will be with the firm. Thus, give your recruiter your resume, transcripts, writing samples, and references- as soon as possible. Don't delay your search out of laziness or procrastination. In this tight market, you have to act quickly.
Try to stay in regular contact with your recruiter as well. If he/she lets you know of a new opening and you have an interest in that firm, jump on that opportunity and let your recruiter know of your interest right away.
In addition, if you receive an interview request- get back to your recruiter as soon as possible regarding your availability. Your main objective is for the firm to meet you and decide that they absolutely have to hire you on the spot. More and more firms are retracting interview offers for associates even after they have expressed an initial interest. Thus, try to confirm an interview as soon as possible to avoid having to deal with the firm getting ''cold feet'' in regards to actually meeting with you.
Be positive and persistent
Having a good attitude and being persistent in your objectives, goes a long way in all facets of life- and your job search is no exception. Try bringing a positive attitude to everything related to your search. This is no easy task, but the folks that display the most optimism and resiliency, will often be the most successful. Potential employers are turned off by desperation and self-doubt, so now more than ever you need to preserve your self-confidence and motivation.
Remember that you and your recruiter are acting as one team. Avoid the temptation to ''shoot the messenger'' if you receive bad news or a large number of rejections from firms. Instead, channel that anxious energy into additional networking and other activities that will positively impact your job search. Last but not least, have faith that things will work out as they should in the end. In times of uncertainty, it is important to embrace faith both in yourself and in the state of the world. Add a whole lot of patience to the equation and you will be positioned for success.
BCG Attorney Search is looking for driven recruiters to join our team. BCG Attorney Search covers the entire United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. We offer first-rate training and coaching, pay top of market commissions, pay our recruiters as employees and not independent contractors, and offer medical insurance and other benefits. Additionally, BCG is the best known brand in the industry and is part of a 200+ employee legal employment company. We offer a supportive cooperative atmosphere and provide you with everything you need to be the most effective recruiter possible (continually updated internal job database, massive advertising support, incredible back office support, and many other perks designed to ensure you match every possible candidate with every available position).
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