Finding a job in the legal field can be quite different than any other professional industry. Know that you are being evaluated every step of the way, even before you meet with anyone in the firm. This means that you need to understand how law firms think to better position yourself as the right legal candidate for their open position. Here are some ideas to keep you in the running.
How can you make them money?
Regardless of how the firm positions the role or approaches the interview, what they really want to know is how you can make them more money. They may never ask this directly, but it is always an underlying concern. So, when you’re discussing your experience with them, always keep this in the back of your mind. Discuss your previous accomplishments within this framework without explicitly stating it. Show how you can bring value to the company. That’s an effective way to relay how you will accomplish the goal of helping the bottom line.
Pay close attention to detail.
Legal work is all about the smallest details. Stand out as a candidate by paying close attention to these details along the way. For example, rather than sending a short email along with your resume, consider printing out your resume and cover letter on professional stationary and mailing it. Communication is a big part of being a lawyer, so demonstrate your skills with your application process. If you aren’t able to take your own job candidacy seriously, how can companies trust you with clients?
Join the right networks.
It is also critical that you establish your networks and associate with the right people. Most companies say their best recruiting source is referrals and yet few job seekers utilize their network to help them find a job. Joining the right legal community in your area will be essential to get your name in front of the firms that are hiring. Find a networking situation you are comfortable with and build from there.
Tap into shared experiences.
Another aspect of networking that can help is to make sure you recognize shared experiences. For example, a hiring manager at a law firm is more likely to hire someone who attended the same law school. They may also see certain experiences as holding more weight than others, like volunteering in the local community. Be sure to communicate these things effectively.