How to Land on Your Feet in the Legal Industry
Getting let go or fired can be stressful, and if you’re like most people in the legal industry, you may feel uncertain about what options are available to you and what next steps to take. Here are some basic job search tips that everyone can use when they have lost their jobs.
Update Your Resume
One of the most important steps you can take is to bring your resume up-to-date. All too often, we neglect this important document simply because we have a successful career. Keeping your resume updated with recent certifications, accomplishments and awards is important; take the time to review and update your resume today. Take some time to update your social media profiles as well; LinkedIn and other social sites can be a great source of new leads.
Keep in Contact With Peers
Networking is one of the best things you can do when searching for a new position. Remaining in contact with your former coworkers can help you stay updated on current changes in law that could have an impact on your future. Networking with those who are still active in the field will also help you feel less out of the loop from what is happening in the legal industry. Your existing network may also help you land a new position; always keep the word out among your peers that you’re looking for a new position.
Take Job Hunting Seriously
It’s easy to treat job hunting as something you must do. Chances are after a job loss you’re feeling despondent and ungrounded; make sure you treat finding a new position like a full-time job. The more seriously you take your job search, the more serious potential employers are to treat you seriously.
Be Prepared for Interviews
Many of us find the interview process stressful. If you have not been on an interview in a long time, you could benefit from a mock interview. Get a friend or family member to do a mock job interview so you can hone your interview skills. Make sure you feel confident about your answers to difficult questions you’ll likely face including why you are looking for a new position.
Filling in Resume Gaps
You will need to explain to prospective employers why you are no longer at your previous job, whether you left by choice or not. It’s best to prepare an answer beforehand so you are ready to answer this question.
Sugar coating a firing can be challenging. The best way to handle this during an interview is to be honest about the circumstances without placing blame on anyone, including your former employer. Make sure you point out any lessons you’ve learned from being fired.
Layoffs are fairly simple to explain; however, make sure your answer is truthful and brief. With the current state of the economy, and slow growth for the legal industry it is not uncommon for law firms to downsize. If needed, you may expand upon this with what you’ve learned from the experience.
If you’ve decided it was time to move on, you may have to explain what reasons were behind your decision. Make sure you avoid badmouthing the firm or its partners and instead, focus on the positives and what your prior position taught you about yourself and your career goals.