I’m often approached by attorneys wishing to make a career change within the legal field that they haven’t really prepared for. In other words, their experience does not competitively support the transition they want to make. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the ball in your court throughout your career, and stay head and shoulders above the competition.
It is so important that the time you invest with your current firm is paying your career forward. Your current position should support your future move to another firm, or in-house, or whatever path you decide to take when the time is right.
If you already have a next step in mind, like going in-house, this is the time to start doing your homework. You want to have a clear understanding of all aspects of the position you want, and what potential employers will be looking for in a stellar candidate. This will help you clearly define the experience you need to make your resume stand out.
As a general rule, you want to always be advancing your skill set. There are benchmarks for every practice area that you should be aware of and stay on top of. Keeping your resume updated is one way to help you monitor your progress. Tracking your work will help you identify the areas you may want to focus on moving forward.
As part of your overall self-assessment, take a close look at the type of work you are consistently getting, who is giving it to you, what your colleagues most often ask your help on and why. This is excellent information that will help your assess your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have compiled and critically assessed all of this information, create a business plan for yourself. This plan should have actionable, achievable steps that will get you the experience you need to be prepared and competitive for the next step you want to take.
I know from experience that it is so easy to get swept up in the day to day hustle and bustle of life at a law firm. Remember to take a step back from time to time to gain perspective on how your job is fitting into your overall life goals. Schedule a check-in with yourself several times a year to reassess your progress and tweak your personal game plan. To stay head and shoulders above the competition, it is important to keep your eye on the bigger picture. Take the time to consider where you are today and where you want to be in five years. It is up to you to make sure you are getting what you need to get where you want to go.
Feel free to contact me with questions about your personal career goals, firstname.lastname@example.org