Since we know that the legal profession isn’t quite what is used to be, with 40% of law school graduates taking alternative paths to long-term, full-time work in legal firms, there is a strain on those with legal credentials to find viable employment.
Career practitioners have always explained that the hidden market is where up to 80% of professional jobs are to be found. This is to suggest that the most appealing jobs for your legal skills may not be right under your nose on the job boards or filled through formal recruitment processes and will require you to do some digging.
Here are a few tips for those in the legal profession looking to access the legal hidden job market.
- Embrace Social Media
The last few years have seen a definite boom in the ways that lawyers are finding career opportunities. The possibilities have become endless when plugging into social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter are helping those with legal skills get noticed. LinkedIn provides a great platform for lawyers to connect with both businesses and prospective clients alike. The ability to build and publish your content helps you demonstrate your knowledge. There are also a number of professional groups you can join online that post legal jobs available in your area.
However, it’s extremely important that the lawyer is very careful and intentional about the ways they bring the law into LinkedIn; last year, there were concerns raised about the degree to which lawyers were unethically using the platform to divulge legal advice.
- Change the Way You Network
Throughout law school and early in your legal career, you likely attended many events with fellow lawyers where you could have opportunities to socialize and learn with some of the field’s leading attorneys. Keep up with the networking within the legal world, but think about tweaking the ways you network.
Consider for yourself where else you may be able to make connections with people that could lead to jobs. Are there particular industries that you are interested in that could use legal services? Are there particular events that you know will bring together a variety of business leaders? Try going to events that you never would have thought to go to as a new lawyer or attorney in transition: you may just be surprised at who turns up with an opportunity for you.
- Master the Internet
In addition to social media being an awesome platform to stay abreast of opportunities in the legal field, use the power of search engines to help you isolate when there may be opportunities you could be interested in. Think about all the places you would love to work for, and place a Google Alert with relevant keywords so that the most up to date news on those places make their way into your inbox. Keeping in tune with the comings and goings of places of interest to you may give you the opportunities you need to slide in at a convenient time with your legal skills.
- Speak at a Conference
Normally, just attending a conference would be enough to get you access to the legal job market, but what about taking it one step further and actually speaking at a conference? Stay tuned to the conferences that are happening, not only in the legal industry, but in industries that interest you, and consider submitting a request for a conference proposal on a relevant topic to the conference theme.
What do you have to lose? If you can get the opportunity to flex your legal knowledge while putting yourself in a room with people who are interested to hear you, and when you do a good job, you may land yourself a crucial job connection at the end. If you can’t speak at a conference, take the opportunity to be engaged in the conferences you attend. Ask thoughtful questions, participate in discussions, and make a point to make thoughtful connections to possible employer prospects.
- Every Person is an Opportunity
When you are on the search for an employment opportunity, never forget that every single person you meet may have an opportunity, or access to an opportunity, up their sleeves. Treat everyone as though they are interviewing you for a job; you never know when they may be looking for someone or who they know who has a job opening requiring legal credentials. Do not limit your job search to only legal professionals; every client, colleague, friend or acquaintance that you meet could be the ticket to your next big opportunity.
6. Keep Your Resume Updated
You never know when an opportunity might present itself. When it does, you want to make sure you have an updated resume ready to go. If you need help on updating your resume, click here for more info.
The first thing to be successful in the hidden job market is to embrace it as one of the most effective ways that you can find employment opportunities as a legal professional. When you look for what is not always apparent as far as jobs go, you may find the most unlikely, interesting and valuable opportunities that will help you thrive in your legal career.