Embarking on the Unexpected Job Search

Originally published by Timothy Regan

A job search after a reduction in force can seem daunting; however, having the right plan can ease your stress and set your search off on the right foot. The first part of your plan should focus on preparing or “dusting off” the things you will need for your search. Below we list what we think are 10 of the most important when readying for a job search:

Up-to-date resume

For any job search, a current resume is essential. It is important that you take the time to make sure your resume is up-to-date through your most recent employment. Take the time to list your responsibilities and skills for each position that you have held. It is also advisable to have customized versions of your resume that speak to your skills in a particular area or practice, depending on the job for which you are applying. For example, if your practice has been mostly litigation focused, but you have significant experience in transactional work, you should have one version of your resume that focuses more on litigation and one that additionally highlights your transactional experience. When you are ready to submit your resume for a particular position, make sure to submit the one that is most in-line with the job description for that position.

Representative Transactions Sheet or Representative Cases Sheet

Prospective employers will want to see what kinds of matters you have worked on and what your level of involvement was on each. This will give your prospective employer an idea of what you can do based on what you’ve worked on.

Prepare responses to standard interview questions

When preparing for an interview, there are a few questions that you know you’ll likely hear so having a response prepared can help you to appear calm and collected. In most interviews, one could expect the following basic questions:

    i. Can you tell me about yourself?
    ii. Why are you applying for this position?
    iii. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    iv. What are you looking for in your next position?
    v. Can you explain the gaps in your employment history?

Quick “sell yourself” speech

Being able to sell yourself in a quick and concise manner is important in an interview setting. You should be able to explain to the interviewer why you’re a good fit for the position and why they should hire you without rambling or boasting. Try to keep this “speech” to two minutes or less.

Updated and informative LinkedIn profile

In today’s socially connected world, it is important to control, to the extent that you can, what a prospective employer will see about you, especially on a professional networking site such as LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile should be a shortened version of your resume, listing your employment history and experience. Having a recent and professional photo on your profile is also important in showing an employer that you are connected and career-minded.

List of industry contacts

Make list of professional contacts you have and reach out to them, you never know when your next opportunity may arise from a peer recommendation.

Spreadsheet to list applications you have submitted and next steps

During your job search, it is important to keep track of which jobs you have applied for so that you don’t appear disconnected by applying for the same job more than once. It is also important to note what steps you have taken and what you should do next and when. Note when a follow-up would be warranted and set reminders for yourself on your digital calendar.

A list of firms you have an interest in

Make a list of firms that you would like to target so you can focus your efforts or give a recruiter an idea of where you’d like to be.

Business plan

Having a business development plan prepared can be useful in illustrating to a prospective employer the business relationships you have built and how you intend to grow your practice within the firm. It is never too soon to start one of these and present it to your employer and prospective employers.

“Hit the ground running” attitude

Know that it may take time to find the right position and be prepared to do the ground work necessary to get the job you want. Completing the above tasks at the beginning of your search will help you to get a head start.