U is for Being “Unfazed” by the Post-Hireback Job-Search

Every year articling and Law Practice Program (LPP) students go into panic mode during hireback season. The transition from being a student to the practice of law can be overwhelming, particularly for those not hired back.

Law school doesn’t prepare us to find a job.  It prepares us to be lawyers. The only thing missing after being called to the Bar is the opportunity to put those newly minted skills to work!

I’ve been coaching new-calls to land their first job as a lawyer since 2010.  Since 2010, I have noticed changes in the way an effective job search is done.  Job ads for new-calls weren’t always published like they are today. It used to be that all or most articling students were hired back.  Those who weren’t were slotted into new roles or firms by a partner simply picking up the telephone and tapping into their network on your behalf. That’s how I got my first associate job – thank you Justice Todd Archibald!

The job market is vastly different now. Many LPP placements don’t offer the possibility of being hired back, and hireback numbers aren’t what they used to be. 

But, you don’t need to be fazed by it all. The good news is that there are tips and techniques that you can adopt, immediately, to conduct an effective job search.  And, I’m putting it all into an online course, the first of its kind… created just for you!

How to Find Your First Job As A Lawyer will mimic the coaching work I do with individual clients, showing you step-by-step how to conduct your own search.  Over the course of twelve modules, you will:

  • Be equipped you with the skills necessary to execute an effective and efficient job search in the 21st Century, including networking, informational interviewing, outreach communication and integrating LinkedIn.
  • Get insight into the “finessed” or “sophisticated” elements of a job search so you will stand out from your peers.
  • Be shown the difference between a passive job search and a hidden job search.
  • Learn how to leverage your strengths and values to be able to build a personal brand.
  • Be able to develop a personalized plan that coincides with your interests and brings structure to your search.
  • Be supported to create your own opportunities.  

In the meantime, I wanted to breakdown the question that I am most asked about:

The Difference Between a Passive and Hidden Job Market Search

There are two ways of finding work: a passive and hidden job market search.  Most jobseekers spend their time in the former category, which involves responding to online ads (hence, the passivity of it). 

The sobering and scary thing about limiting your search to that avenue is that it yields a smaller result (anywhere from 10-25% of jobs are found this way).  Yikes!  

On top of that, many first-year associate positions aren’t even advertised. I like to track these postings every year, and between April and August 2016, there were a total of 27 job ads in the Greater Toronto Area for new-calls posted in the Ontario Reports, on Indeed.ca and LinkedIn.  Double yikes!!

On the other hand, it’s estimated that anywhere from 75-90% of jobs are not advertised. This is why you want to tap into the hidden job market.  

Networking and making direct contact with employers is what you need to do to accomplish such a search, but “how” to go about that in a structured and sophisticated way is often a concern.  

And I understand why. With your reputation at stake, the last thing you want to do is send a series of emails to lawyers and ask them for a job outright.  Because I have clients from the senior bar as well, I am told quite often how they get “direct” emails from new-calls, asking for work.  It puts the lawyer in an awkward position.  I think of it as asking a stranger to marry you.

Yes, the goal is to find a job, but your objective should be to learn as much as possible about the practice area(s) you are interested in.  Asking “open-ended” questions will put you farther in your job search than asking “direct questions.”  When cross-examining a witness, the purpose is not to get their story. The purpose is to simply get a “yes” or “no”. You should already know the story that you are wanting to communicate.  The  difference with an examination in chief, is that you need the witness to have their story conveyed.  By asking “who”, “what”, “where”, “how”, “when” questions, you can elicit the witness’s version of events. That’s the approach you want to take when networking with the profession and making contact with potential employers. Don’t cross examine them!

 Every year. Lawyer Coach Paulette has worked with articling students on their transition to finding an associate position. Now her work is available on www.hireback.ca

This article was originally posted on AWAL!


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