Your skills and experience as a paralegal are only a fraction of what a potential employer is looking for in a candidate. Companies want a complete individual with many facets to their personality and ability to handle situations that come up frequently in the legal environment. These intangible concepts are referred to as “soft skills” by hiring professionals and as are as in demand as previous paralegal work. Here are four soft skills that employers are looking for in their paralegal candidates.
- Communications. Depending on the type of law firm you want to work for you may be responsible for a number of things including paperwork, meetings and contracts. Communications skills are essential for this role whether it is face to face, over the phone, or in writing. Especially in today’s world of instant internet communications it is important to be able to express yourself clearly in brief snippits. Speaking on the phone will require special attention to the tone of your voice. Body language cues are an essential part of face to face communications. Email and other web conversations can’t convey tone so clear and effective writing is important.
- Etiquette. Many paralegals will face either clients or other lawyers throughout the day. Knowing a proper business handshake is important but so are many other aspects of good manners. Knowing how to behave in business settings is essential for making the right impressions. The most important thing to remember is not to say or do anything that will be seen as inappropriate such as off color jokes.
- Problem Solving. There is a business adage that says you’re only as good as the last problem you solved. As a paralegal, if you are able to help your firm, or a client, solve a specifically sticky situation you will be remembered as a legal hero in you office. Putting yourself in the position of being a strong problem solver will also establish your leadership expertise. Solve any issue, large or small, and you will become invaluable.
- Collaboration. In any office environment teamwork is necessary but it is particularly important for paralegals to be able to work with others on staff at the same firm and, sometimes, collaborate with the client or other lawyers. Being a team player when you work with administrative staff, counsel, and other members of the organization is a very valuable skill and if you can prove you have it, you will be well regarded in your field.
Are you looking for ways to sell your soft skills to your next potential employer? If you are looking for legal recruiters in DC, contact our team today.