Have a long-term goal in mind
If you’re looking to make a move, you need to move for the right reasons. Having a defined career objective before you start your job search can assist you in avoiding an unsavoury career detour. We see many lawyers that want a change in environment for a variety of reasons. Some feel they climbed as far as they can within their current workplace hierarchy; others come from unhealthy work environments and simply want out. While both these are legitimate motivators for leaving a role, they are only the cause that ignites a job search. You must then decide what you want to achieve by making a move.
Plan ahead and map out how you will achieve your career objectives
It is important to identify what’s important to you as a solicitor and seek a position that compliments that. This needs to take into account both short-term goals (e.g. seeking a better cultural fit) and long term objectives (e.g. making partner). Often long term objectives are not achievable as a result of making a single move. For example, a junior lawyer in a boutique practice looking to move in to a top tier firm and one day make partner will require two or more moves over the course of a four to eight year period. As such your next career move must always be taken with a view to your long term prospects.
Understand your current position
In order to seek out an appropriate opportunity you must determine your marketability and assess your realistic career options. It can be difficult to truly gauge your position and how your skills weigh up in the market. While you may feel that you are entitled to a pay rise or a promotion, often these factors can be dictated by wider economic forces. At this point it would be wise to seek the opinion of an expert legal recruiter who can provide you with guidance and up to the minute information.
Seek out the right opportunities
It is important to determine how your skills can be best marketed and what sort of firms would be most attracted to a person with your personality, abilities and aspirations. Taking a strategic and planned approach in our experience will usually result in making a move that lasts. Scatter-gunning your CV to every firm in town will usually only result in wasting both yours and the law firm’s time. It is imperative you have patience when deliberating a serious career move. Finding the right opportunity can take time and your dream job will rarely immediately fall in your lap. Even for very marketable lawyers the process can take anywhere between two weeks and two months.
Maintain good relations
Once an opportunity has presented itself and you’ve decided to make the move you must remember that the legal industry is a small one. Reputation and relationships are everything and you may find the ties you’ve developed in a prior role will come to benefit you in the future. Be gracious and always remember that the impression that you leave with is one people will remember.