Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Common Mannerisms That Can.. Um.. Ruin an Interview


It is important to make a good impression during an interview, and that means leaving your unprofessional habits behind. From body language to verbal tics and various other speaking habits, below is a list of mannerisms that can come off as unprofessional, especially during a job interview.

Um

Every language has its own versions of vocalized pauses, and “um” seems to be one of the most popular in the English language. These pauses are fillers that are a natural part of human speech, but including too many of these in your everyday conversation may cause you to appear unknowledgeable. If you anticipate yourself saying “um” during an interview, try pausing instead. A short pause will make you appear more confident than any language filler.

Like

Similar to “um”, the word “like” has a tendency to be used excessively in everyday language. Although saying “like” may buy you a little more time when trying to answer that tough interview question, it may leave a bad impression if overused. Try to avoid using this word unless you are using it in the proper way – to compare a similarity or to express that you really enjoyed something.

Nervous Movements

Small movements that we have a habit of making when we are nervous are usually done unconsciously, but this type of body language can come off as unprofessional or distracting, particularly during a job interview. Some examples of this behavior include touching your hair, bouncing your leg or fidgeting with your fingers. If you know that you have a habit of any of these nervous movements, try to make a conscious effort to avoid these while interviewing. Perhaps you can style your hair up to avoid touching it, or keep your hands folded in front of you if you know that you have a habit of fidgety fingers.

Cursing

Although cursing is becoming more and more acceptable in everyday conversation, it is best to leave it out of your vocabulary during a job interview. Any use of profanity may come off as offensive to the interviewer and – at the very least – can be distracting. Even if the person that is interviewing you throws out a curse word here or there, our advice would still be to practice good etiquette and avoid the use of any profanity. If you have a habit of including curse words in your everyday vocabulary, try slowing down your speech so that you don’t accidently throw in an offensive word in a rush.

While many of these habits may be difficult to break, if you become aware that you have one of the above, you should work on a solution prior to the interview. Avoiding these habits will make you appear more confident and professional to the interviewer, and will leave them with a much better impression of you.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, Chicago's premier attorney search firm, places experienced attorneys of all levels at large, midsize and boutique law firms, as well as at regional, national and international corporations. We are confident that we provide unparalleled knowledge, service and results. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your search and placement process, and invite you to contact us, in strict confidence, at info@thelawrecruiters.com, or visit our website at www.thelawrecruiters.com to learn more about McCormack Schreiber.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
303 West Madison Street, Suite 1725
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: 312.377.2000
Toll Free: 866.819.4091

All inquiries to McCormack Schreiber are kept strictly confidential


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Is There a "Best" Time for a Job Search?


We are often asked about the "best" month or season to begin a job search, and while there are certain times of year when vacations and holidays may make a search move more slowly, job seekers should not tie themselves to the calendar.

The last few weeks of the year – and even into the first few weeks of the new year – may be slow as attorneys want to collect their year-end bonuses before they make a move. Remember, however, that an average job search can take 6-9 months – and sometimes as much as a year – to complete. Even if you start interviewing now, it doesn’t mean you’ll have a new position in a matter of weeks.

If you are ready to begin your job search - or will be within the near future - here’s what you can do now to put yourself in the best position to make the leap.

Update your resume

Our first tip may be an obvious one: update your resume. Further, in addition to your resume, if you’ve practiced for five years or more we also recommend that you put together a “representative experience” list. That list would be a representative transactions list if you’re a transactional attorney or a representative litigation list if you’re a litigator.

It is also a good idea to update your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to write a summary that includes keywords related to your practice area, and include the same (or similar) bullets that you use in your resume. Recruiters often search LinkedIn for candidates, and you may not show up in their search if all you’ve done is list your employers.

Order your law school transcript

Regardless of your level of experience, more and more prospective employers are requiring law school transcripts for lateral candidates. Many schools have them available for instant delivery online, but in case there is some processing time for your law school it’s best to request your transcript at the beginning of your job search.

Nurture your network

Now is also the time to reconnect with former colleagues, classmates and other friends in the industry. You don’t have to tell them you’re looking around (although if you feel comfortable, you may want to mention it in case they have any suggestions), but it is good to remain top of mind should they learn of any opportunities that may be of interest to you.

Assess your book of business

If you’re an experienced attorney who may be able to bring clients with you to your next position, you’ll need to start assessing what your book of business might look like should you move to a new position. Of course, you always need to consider legal, ethical and fiduciary obligations when moving with portable clients, and to that end, we suggest that attorneys with potentially portable business seek legal counsel who can provide advice on how to properly make a career move when your developed client base is significant to your lateral move.

Which brings us to our next piece of advice . . .

Find a well-established legal recruiter

Last – but certainly not least – connect with an experienced legal recruiter. This is the person with whom you can confidentially discuss your experience and career objectives, and who can educate you about the current marketplace and positions that best meet your goals.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, Chicago's premier attorney search firm, places experienced attorneys of all levels at large, midsize and boutique law firms, as well as at regional, national and international corporations. We are confident that we provide unparalleled knowledge, service and results, and we welcome you to contact us, in strict confidence, at info@thelawrecruiters.com, or visit our website at www.thelawrecruiters.com to learn more about McCormack Schreiber.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
303 West Madison Street, Suite 1725
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: 312.377.2000
Toll Free: 866.819.4091

All inquiries to McCormack Schreiber are kept strictly confidential


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy New Year!



Our Warmest Wishes for a Healthy, Happy
and Prosperous 2016

All of us at
McCormack Schreiber

Monday, December 21, 2015

Don't Find Yourself "Surprised" in the Interview Process


Some job seekers may remember a time when the interview process was pretty simple - send in a resume, interview for the position, receive an offer.........

For better or worse, those days are by in large over. The search process often includes a plethora of steps, stages, and hoops through which you must jump, and it is best to know what may be coming before entering this process.

If working with a good recruiter, you should know every step of the process before authorizing submission to a particular opportunity. If you are pursuing a position directly, you will need to ask questions about the process in your first interview.

Some parts of the process that may surprise candidates include:

Drug testing

If a candidate has recently sampled the newest Colorado "recreational" industry, he or she may be unpleasantly surprised when a job offer is made contingent on a drug test. Many legal professionals do not realize that many corporations require drug tests for ALL employees (not just those operating dangerous equipment, etc.) - so it is a good idea to stick to skiing in Colorado if in the midst of a job search.

Background check

Most lawyers are not particularly nervous about a background check, but bear in mind that a long ago conviction could come back to haunt you depending on the position. If you were convicted of a financial misdemeanor during college, for example (even if the state Bar found you fit for membership), a potential employer that is a bank or financial institution may not be able to get past this issue.

Personality/behavioral tests

There is not much that one can do to "prepare" for these aspects of the interview process, but you should know that they exist and sometimes are strongly relied upon by employers in deciding whether or not to pursue a candidate. So, even if your interviews were spectacular, do not count on an offer until moving past this sometimes important hurdle/step.

While you can only prepare in advance for some of the above aspects (i.e. drug testing), it is important to understand the requirements and know your vulnerabilities before investing time in a lengthy interview process.


McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, Chicago's premier attorney search firm, places experienced attorneys of all levels at large, midsize and boutique law firms, as well as at regional, national and international corporations. We are confident that we provide unparalleled knowledge, service and results. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your search and placement process, and invite you to contact us, in strict confidence, at info@thelawrecruiters.com, or visit our website at www.thelawrecruiters.com to learn more about McCormack Schreiber.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
303 West Madison Street, Suite 1725
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: 312.377.2000
Toll Free: 866.819.4091

All inquiries to McCormack Schreiber are kept strictly confidential


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Career Timeline: When to Start Looking for a New Position


Sometimes it’s difficult to know when to cut bait and fish in another lake, especially when it comes to your career. You don’t want to leave too soon and look like you’re a risky hire or a “hopper”, but you don’t want to wait too long and be left with limited options.

The average job search takes about 6-9 months, and it can sometimes take more than a year for certain types of positions. You want to leave yourself plenty of time so you can take a job that you want to take, and not a job you have to take.

Between your second to fifth year

For associates, the sweet spot to start looking is between your second and fifth year. You’ve gained enough experience by your second year that you have some marketable skills, and you won’t be seen as a risky investment because you looked for a new job too soon.

Once you get beyond your fifth year, things get a little trickier. You’re closer to being considered for partnership, and starting over at a new firm might delay your partnership aspirations.

Five years or beyond for in-house

However, if your goal is to go in-house, fifth year and beyond is the perfect timing. The general rule for in-house jobs is at least five years of experience, but we have seen some exceptions in recent years, particularly for transactional positions.

Don’t wait too long however, and as many in-house positions will require prior in-house experience, it is great to get in on the ground floor as early in your career as possible.

Your last review stung

If you’re being honest with yourself, that last performance review was not ideal. The writing is on the wall. If you at all suspect your position is vulnerable, it’s time to start looking around. Perhaps it’s a situation you can turn around, but it’s still smart to investigate your other options.

It’s also important not to let the review kill your confidence. Maybe this firm or position simply isn’t the right fit. If the assessment was fair, however, make a conscious effort to work on the areas of criticism as this will benefit your professional future whether it’s at this or another firm.

You’re scrounging for billable hours

Is your practice area work load down at your firm? Do you constantly find yourself having to go door-to-door to find work so that your billable hours don’t suffer?

It might be time to find a new job. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. You might not be privy to the reasons why your practice group is slowing down, but if your gut is telling you things aren’t very busy, you may want to start looking around. It doesn’t mean you have to leave, but it means you’ll have options if things do indeed go south and it becomes necessary to look for another position.

An important partner departed

Maybe you do know the reason your practice group is suffering: a key partner has departed the firm. Even if you didn’t work directly with this partner, he/she might have been supplying the bulk of your group’s work.

If a major partner in your group leaves and you notice that the work is starting to dry up, start looking for something new. Sometimes it becomes an every-man-for-himself type of environment, so be prepared so you are not the one left out in the cold.

It’s just not the right fit

Sometimes your current firm simply isn’t the right fit. Maybe the firm hasn’t developed clients in the area you were really hoping to practice, or perhaps it doesn’t encourage associates to market or bring in new clients, but you’re naturally entrepreneurial and want that type of environment.

Whatever the reason, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to move on and find the right situation for you. If your gut is telling you this isn’t the place, then listen to it.

The sooner you start looking, the sooner you can find a better professional fit and begin the next chapter of your legal career.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, Chicago's premier attorney search firm, places experienced attorneys of all levels at large, midsize and boutique law firms, as well as at regional, national and international corporations. We are confident that we provide unparalleled knowledge, service and results. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your search and placement process, and invite you to contact us, in strict confidence, at info@thelawrecruiters.com, or visit our website at www.thelawrecruiters.com to learn more about McCormack Schreiber.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
303 West Madison Street, Suite 1725
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: 312.377.2000
Toll Free: 866.819.4091

All inquiries to McCormack Schreiber are kept strictly confidential


Monday, November 23, 2015

What NOT to Wear to an Interview


You have the interview, and now it’s time to nail that first impression by dressing to impress. Here are some suggestions to help you put your best foot forward:

Err on the conservative side

Even if you know that the office where you are headed adheres to casual attire, you should still wear a business suit to the interview. You don’t want to be more casually dressed than the person interviewing you, and that person could be wearing a suit that day.

Ladies, if your suit has a skirt, the skirt should be longer than your fingers when you drop your arms by your side. Your suit also shouldn’t show off any of your assets – and you know what we mean – and your skirt shouldn’t be too tight. Tops that are low-cut should also be avoided. You want them to look you in the eyes, right?

Gentlemen, invest in a suit that fits. It shouldn’t be baggy and the sleeves need to be the correct length (i.e., not covering part of your hands).

Guys, now is not the time for graphic ties

This one is for the guys – leave the graphic ties at home. We don’t care if it’s Opening Day, don’t wear a tie with baseballs all over it to a job interview (unless perhaps you’re interviewing with a baseball team).

We get it, you’re fun and want to show off your personality. Save that for the company picnic . . . after you have the job!

Ladies, tone down your jewelry

Similar to our advice for the men, now is not the time for the ladies to show off their personality by wearing jewelry that distracts the interviewer from making eye contact and focusing on your skills.

Definitely ditch anything that makes noise as you don’t want to jingle or clang every time you nod your head during the interview, and we also advise that you stay away from any jewelry that is particularly showy or flashy.

Your shoes matter

While most of you are savvy enough to not wear flip-flops or tennis shoes to an interview, a cold winter morning might make you think it’s acceptable to wear rain boots or snow shoes. Sorry, but you either need to brave the wet and the cold for the job interview and wear your dress shoes, or perhaps change out of your rain or snow boots when you arrive at the interview building.

In addition - ladies, stick with heels that you can easily walk in (and even if you can walk in six-inch heels, go with a more modest height). And men, please take the time to shine your dress shoes.

No sunglasses

Sunglasses belong in your purse or briefcase. Even if the interview is being conducted outside at a cafĂ©, sunglasses are not okay. It’s very important to make eye contact during your interview, and you can’t do that behind a set of shades.

Further, as cool as you think you look with your sunglasses on top of your head, we assure you it’s not the right accessory for an interview.

Cover tattoos and any unusual piercings

Yes, getting ready for a job interview means stifling some of the ways in which you express yourself. Do you want your interviewer to be more interested in the symbols on your upper arm tattoo or in reviewing your qualifications?

This isn’t about stripping away your identity. It’s about avoiding distractions.

Cover tattoos to the best of your ability and leave out any piercings beyond one in each ear for the ladies.

A little bit goes a long way

The interviewer shouldn’t be first alerted to your presence by the smell of your perfume or cologne entering the room. If you want to play it safe, skip your daily application. If you insist on wearing a scent - which we do not recommend - keep it very light. Remember, some people are very sensitive to scents, and you don’t want the lasting memory of you to be the scent that is left in their office when the interview is completed.

The goal of any interview is to be remembered . . . but for the right things. You want to be remembered for your poise, for being articulate, for your impressive experience. You do not want to be remembered as the guy who wore the Sponge Bob tie or the woman who had the bird tattoos on the inside of her wrists.

You want to work in the office, not be office gossip.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, Chicago's premier attorney search firm, places experienced attorneys of all levels at large, midsize and boutique law firms, as well as at regional, national and international corporations. We are confident that we provide unparalleled knowledge, service and results. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your search and placement process, and invite you to contact us, in strict confidence, at info@thelawrecruiters.com, or visit our website at www.thelawrecruiters.com to learn more about McCormack Schreiber.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
303 West Madison Street, Suite 1725
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: 312.377.2000
Toll Free: 866.819.4091

All inquiries to McCormack Schreiber are kept strictly confidential


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How to Prepare for a Skype or Video Job Interview


If you haven’t been out on the job market in a while, you might not be aware of the increasing trend of conducting first interviews via Skype or other video platform. Video interviews save both time and money, and are particularly useful for interviews of out-of-state candidates. However, while you may not be meeting in person, this does not mean you should treat them any less formally.

Set the scene

Ideally, you want to set up with a neutral-colored background like a wall behind you with few distractions (i.e., not in front of bookshelves full of knick knacks). Further, there should be nothing random left lying around, such as a stray wine glass or half-eaten sandwich. We also recommend corralling any pets. As much as we all love our furry friends, you don’t want Fluffy jumping on your desk to walk in front of the screen or Fido barking in the background.

Ditch the wireless connection

If at all possible, hardwire into your internet connection instead of connecting over wireless (and turn off your wireless router). This will improve the quality of your video and audio and hopefully prevent any blips or freezing coming from your end.

For those of you with a cable modem, you can generally plug right into the modem. To further improve the stability of your connection, close all programs on your computer other than the program you’re using for the video interview.

Dress exactly the same as you would for an in-person interview

Whether you’re sitting across a conference room table from your interviewer or in front of a web cam, your attire should be the same. For the vast majority of attorney positions, you’ll want to be in a suit.

The same attention should be paid to your hair, makeup and other grooming as if you were going into the office for an interview. For women, we suggest making sure that your makeup is neither too heavy nor too light, and perhaps checking your appearance on your phone or computer screen prior to the interview.

Look at the camera (not at yourself)

Depending on which program you’re using for the video interview, you may be able to see your own video feed on the screen. For example, Skype places your video feed in the bottom right corner. This can be extremely distracting and can cause you to look at yourself instead of looking directly into the camera.

Just as you would want to look an interviewer in the eye in person, you want to look directly at them during the video interview. If your video feed distracts you, adjust your settings to remove it (not possible with all software) or use a sticky note to cover it.

Don’t forget body language

Don’t sit so still during the interview that person on the other end wonders if the screen has frozen. Body language and connecting with the interviewer on a personal level still matter. Smile, be expressive and show a little personality. Make them want to meet you in person.

Do a trial run

Enlist a friend to do a trial run with you. This ensures your software is up-to-date – there’s nothing worse than getting ready to connect for the interview only to receive an alert that you need an upgrade – and your friend can let you know if you and your background look good in action.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, Chicago's premier attorney search firm, places experienced attorneys of all levels at large, midsize and boutique law firms, as well as at regional, national and international corporations. We are confident that we provide unparalleled knowledge, service and results. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your search and placement process, and invite you to contact us, in strict confidence, at info@thelawrecruiters.com, or visit our website at www.thelawrecruiters.com to learn more about McCormack Schreiber.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
303 West Madison Street, Suite 1725
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: 312.377.2000
Toll Free: 866.819.4091

All inquiries to McCormack Schreiber are kept strictly confidential


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When and How to Negotiate an Employment Offer


There is a lot of advice out there that says you must negotiate the terms of an offer of employment. While we agree that you should not be afraid to ask for what you want, we do not believe that negotiating an offer is the right thing to do in every situation.

If you’re working with a recruiter, you should be getting plenty of advice on whether to negotiate your offer, and in fact, one of the many advantages of working with a recruiter is that they can take the lead in advising and assisting with the negotiation process. If you’re not working with a recruiter, here’s our advice on some of the variables you should consider:

Why are you negotiating?

It has become common advice that you should always negotiate an offer, but that shouldn’t be your only reason for negotiating. Stop and ask yourself why you’re negotiating.

Maybe you believe your skills and experience support your request for more than your current offer, and your current compensation is higher than the offer amount. Perhaps you’ve done your research and your current offer is below the industry average for the position. You may also have multiple offers on the table with similar or higher salary and benefits packages. These are among the many reasons you may want to negotiate your offer.

How close is your current offer to your interests/goals?

Once you know you’re negotiating for the right reasons, ask yourself how close your current offer is to your interests and goals. In terms of cash compensation, is what you want grounded in reality? Have you researched similarly situated firms or businesses in town to determine what they pay someone with your experience? If you’re going to ask for more money, you better be armed with some knowledge.

Beyond the money, also ask yourself how this job fits into your future goals. Maybe only two firms in town have established practices in your niche and the question may be - do you really want to risk opening a dialogue that could be contentious?

Are there variables in the offer beyond cash (base and bonus) that you can negotiate?

If the offer is already close in terms of salary, and you’re just looking for a little something to sweeten the pot, perhaps consider negotiating for better bonus potential or benefits instead of an increase in salary. This can include: guaranteed bonuses at specified benchmarks, insurance coverage for a spouse or children, increased sick leave or vacation days, relocation/moving expenses, or even a signing bonus.

Was there a range of compensation in the position?

If the offer includes a range of compensation – from base salary to year-end bonuses to profit-sharing – negotiating the terms might make you seem greedy and may jeopardize your offer. Providing multiple avenues for you to increase your compensation package may mean that an employer has already gone through the work on their end to be creative and offer you as competitive a compensation structure as possible. These types of offers can be much more difficult – and risky – to negotiate.

Before you negotiate any offer, ask yourself if you’re willing to lose the offer. As you probably remember from your first-year contracts course, once you counter the employer’s original offer – or actually at any point prior to acceptance - that offer can be withdrawn.

Another point of caution: don’t negotiate an offer if you’re not willing to accept the new offer terms if the prospective employer ultimately meets your requests. You may burn bridges - and at the very least not appear to be acting in good faith – if you reject an offer after a prospective employer goes through the hoops of meeting all of your requests and demands.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, Chicago's premier attorney search firm, places experienced attorneys of all levels at large, midsize and boutique law firms, as well as at regional, national and international corporations. We are confident that we provide unparalleled knowledge, service and results. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your search and placement process, and invite you to contact us, in strict confidence, at info@thelawrecruiters.com, or visit our website at www.thelawrecruiters.com to learn more about McCormack Schreiber.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
303 West Madison Street, Suite 1725
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: 312.377.2000
Toll Free: 866.819.4091

All inquiries to McCormack Schreiber are kept strictly confidential


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Resume 101 for Lateral Attorneys


What’s the first thing you do when you’re ready for the job hunt? Furiously search your hard drive for the last version of your resume.

Ideally, you would update your resume periodically, but it’s generally not something you think about when things at work are going well. So, when you are ready to dust it off and polish it until it shines, check out our tips for making your resume something that works for you and not against you.

Margins and font

No, you can’t sneak in more information by reducing your margins to 0.5” and choosing a 9-pt font. When a recruiter or hiring partner picks up a resume that looks like a novel crammed onto a single page they’re not thinking, “Wow, how did they get that into one page!” or perhaps “Wow, look at everything this person has done!” They’re squinting their eyes and they may just move along to the next candidate.

Stick with standard 1” margins all around and at least 11-pt font. You also want to use a font that’s easy to read. Some suggestions: Times New Roman and Arial.

Length

Odds are that if you have a margin or font problem it stems from your desire to include everything you’ve ever worked on at every firm and company at which you’ve worked. While experienced lateral attorneys (four or more years of experience) can have two-page resumes, keep in mind you’re still only getting 4-17 seconds from the person reviewing it.

Your email address

Typically, you won’t want to use your current law firm email address on your resume and will instead opt for a personal account. However, that personal account still needs to look professional. It shouldn’t be something even vaguely resembling this: unicornlover@gmail.com.

If you’re going to use a personal email account, use or create one that is some version of your name, such as john.doe@gmail.com. You are still presenting yourself as a professional, even if you’re using a personal email address.

No photos

Do not insert your headshot or any graphic elements into your resume. There’s a good reason not to add a picture of yourself: it makes firms nervous. Hiring decisions can’t be made based on factors such as age, race and gender, and providing a photo opens up the employer to discrimination claims. So, they’d prefer not to know any of the above.

As for other graphical elements, they take up valuable real estate on your resume. You’re not applying to be a graphic designer, so use that space to show them why you’re the right person for the job by highlighting your academic and career accomplishments instead.

Use bullet points

As you type those career accomplishments, it is often effective to use bullet points. There are still resumes out there that use a paragraph-style to present accomplishments for each job, but remember what we said about the amount of time you get from a recruiter or hiring partner: 4 to 17 seconds. It’s much easier to skim a resume with bullet points, so make it easy on them. It also makes it far more likely that your accomplishments will jump out at them instead of being buried in a lengthy paragraph.

Chronological order of experience

Start with your most recent job and work your way back. Your future employer is going to be the most interested in what you’ve done recently.

By the time you’re an experienced attorney, you should have enough experience that most of your pre-law jobs are irrelevant. Don’t include jobs that date back to high school just to show how long you’ve been part of the workforce. Instead, trim any jobs prior to law school that aren’t relevant. If you’re a chemical patent attorney and you worked as a chemical engineer before attending law school, by all means include that experience. What they don’t need to know is that you were a receptionist at a landscaping company or a hostess at a restaurant.

Integrate key words

You’ll want to create one base resume and then tweak it to fit each job. Yes, it sounds like a lot of work. However, it’s worth it. Look at the job description, or speak with whomever is referring you to the position, and identify important key words. Let’s say your previous experience crosses a broad section of real estate and land use work. However, the job description specifically asks for someone with experience representing HOAs. You’ll want to go more in-depth on your HOA experience for this resume, including key words that are specific to HOA work.

Be truthful

In the example above, don’t exaggerate your HOA experience because you know that’s what they’re looking for. Highlight the experience you do have and then highlight other relevant experience and accomplishments and use your cover letter to draw the connection and show how those skills translate over to HOA work.

Bottom line – Always be completely truthful. The legal world is small. It won’t take long for you to be found out if you’ve fibbed on your resume, and that reputation will follow you around for a long time to come.

Proofread and spellcheck

Don’t simply rely on Microsoft Word to tell you when you’ve made a mistake; it won’t catch that “for” that should have been “form.” Instead, ask a few colleagues, friends or family members to give it a once-over. It can be difficult to catch your own mistakes, so be sure your eyes aren’t the only ones that have seen it.

Update your resume regularly

As we said, in an ideal world you would update your resume regularly. Each time you have a major accomplishment, add it to your resume. These things can be difficult to remember when you’re trying to update your resume months, or even years, later. You also don’t want to miss any opportunities because it takes you days or weeks to get your resume ready for a position – someone else might just swoop in and grab it.

Another trick: keep your LinkedIn profile updated along with your resume. Recruiters and hiring partners might be on there looking for someone just like you.


McCormack Schreiber Legal Search, Chicago's premier attorney search firm, places experienced attorneys of all levels at large, midsize and boutique law firms, as well as at regional, national and international corporations. We are confident that we provide unparalleled knowledge, service and results. We welcome you to contact us, in strict confidence, at info@thelawrecruiters.com, or visit our website, at www.thelawrecruiters.com to learn more about McCormack Schreiber.

McCormack Schreiber Legal Search Inc.
303 West Madison Street, Suite 1725
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Tel: 312.377.2000
Toll Free: 866.819.4091

All inquiries to McCormack Schreiber are kept strictly confidential


Thursday, August 20, 2015

How Laterals Can Overcome the Relocation Challenge


It can be frustrating when you’re an attorney looking to relocate to a new city. Employers tend to gravitate towards local candidates for a number of reasons, from the cost of relocation to the timing for a start date. Beyond that, many of them have probably been burned in the past by attorneys who were eager to move to a new city and then found out the grass wasn’t actually greener.

If you’re a lateral attorney who needs or wants to relocate, however, don’t get discouraged. While there may be some prospective employers who will not consider out-of-state candidates, there are also many employers that are happy to consider relocates, and there are some common objections you can anticipate and use a proactive approach to overcome. Do the following five things, and you can level the playing field between yourself and local candidates:

Make your case

Don’t simply hope the recruiter won’t notice that you live 1,500 miles away. Instead, address your reasons for relocation and any ties you have to your future city in your cover letter. If someone is passing along your resume for you, make sure they know why you’re relocating and can advocate on your behalf.

It’s easy if your spouse is getting transferred or you have a family reason for relocating. The tougher situation is when you’re relocating for a change in scenery or because you hate your current location.

You’ll want to go beyond simply saying something that amounts to, “I’ve always loved visiting Chicago, and I think it’s time for a change.” You might be viewed as someone with wanderlust who never puts down roots. Instead, show that you’ve done your research about the city and have solid reasons for believing it’s the right place for you long-term. If you have any ties to the city – family in the area, you attended college nearby, you spent every summer in the city – those are good things to mention as well.

Shoulder the cost

From the outset, you should make it clear you’re willing to relocate yourself at no cost to the employer. Sure, you’d love to get a relocation bonus, but it can significantly increase your odds of landing a job in a new city if you reduce the financial burden on the law firm or company.

Make yourself available

By the same token, you should also be willing to foot the bill to travel for the interview. Ideally, you should offer dates when you’ll be in town in your cover letter (even if you don’t really have plans to visit), increasing the odds that the prospective employer will be willing to interview you.

Don’t make timing an issue

One advantage a local candidate will have over you is that they can likely start sooner. Although you’ll both give notice to your current employers, the local candidate won’t need time to move and get settled. Remember that you want to eliminate as much risk and burden from your potential employer as possible. If that means you have to move over a weekend, start on Monday, and deal with unpacking over several weekends, so be it.

Since you might get a question about this during your interview, do your research in advance and know where you want to live in the city. Being able to show you’ve done your research and know exactly where you’re going to live will go a long way in relieving any concern the firm might have about your ability to move and get started quickly.

Do the paperwork

If you’re moving to a new state, you’ll either need to complete the paperwork to waive into the new jurisdiction or register for the bar examination. Go ahead and get that process started to show your future employer that you’re not only serious about the move, but also you’re being proactive in preparing for your relocation.

If you can walk into an interview and make the prospective employer feel like you’re moving – with or without an offer from them – you can help cultivate a sense of confidence that hiring you brings no additional risk or burden to the firm compared to hiring a local candidate.

Follow these five easy steps and hopefully you can overcome the relocation challenge and be on your way to an exciting position in a new city! 

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