Whether you are a trainee secretary, law student or senior associate having an informed career plan is essential to feeling engaged with your work and to achieve all round success!
The legal industry is a small and highly networked sector where an individual’s reputation, employment history and professional connections are key! Career-minded individuals do their best to avoid making decisions in haste, without adequate investigation or without looking at the long-term implications to their career. As such, we recommend creating a plan to guide your decision making and help you build and maintain a career which is entirely in your control.
Identify what you want
What makes you happy and fulfilled on a professional level is completely unique however, the universal qualities of feeling engaged, valued and appropriately remunerated are what the majority of workers strive for. These qualities are broad and can change at different times in your life, so we recommend identifying what style of working environment makes you the happiest and the most productive before each potential career move. This could be the size of the team or firm you work at, flexibility and work/life balance, the complexity of work, degree of client interaction in your role, level of mentoring or freedom to work autonomously and even the importance of being part of a social workplace. Understanding the particulars around what makes you happy and able to perform will help you avoid making poor career decisions.
Leverage in your career
Leverage is a key component in managing your career and career choices that pop up along the way. For a private practice lawyer your ‘leverage’ will likely come down to being an expert in your practice area and having solid relationships both personal and professional. For a law student, this could be excellent academic results and internship experience or for a secretary, your leverage may be in the form of solid employment tenure, a fast typing speed and experience supporting at Partner level. However, with this being said there are many other factors that will give you leverage that are out of your control such as timing and need.
Despite market trends, employers are always looking for candidates who have a stable working history, a proven track record of success and are team players. Throughout the various stages of your career, always consider your worth and focus on building a portfolio for yourself that will increase success.
Research and seek advice
The legal profession as many others is not what is used to be and it is essential for legal staff to recognise and respond to changes in market and profession as a way to ensure they adapt and remain relevant. There are a few ways to do this, so you can remain on top of your game: reach out to recruiters (they have up to date knowledge and a wealth of experience); keep updated with the news; read and review job boards and a big one these days is simply networking, with LinkedIn, industry specific online groups and many other forms of professional platforms it is a great way to connect with other industry professionals and stay in the loop. Those with the best networks unarguably have more of a competitive edge and advantages in the market.
You would have heard it before but COMMUNICATION IS KEY. It’s not just the words you use or your excellent vocabulary that determines a true communicator it is also tone and delivery and the ability to convey the same message in the same way both verbally and written. Communication can be a deal maker or breaker throughout your career, it can singly determine if you get a job offer or not; keeping or losing a client. The skills of communication come easily to some however, for others it is something that need to be learned and practiced. Communicating effectively is easiest when you follow the above steps to know what you want, what sets you apart and what your competition is likely to be.
These tips and tricks do in no way capture everything you will need to consider throughout your career however it does give you great insight into what you need to do and actions to take to stay on top of your game and remain relevant.
“If you are truly serious about taking your career to the next level, you need look no further than Dyanne Gerard Personnel. Thanks to both Meg Poulter and Sharon Galpin I have now secured the perfect in-house role which wouldn’t have been possible without their dedication and persistence. I felt valued as both an individual and as a candidate and I think this is a rare quality amongst recruiters these days. Dyanne Gerard Personnel will ensure that they match you with roles which best suit your skills, personality and needs. They also have a good selection of roles which are exclusive and won’t be advertised through other recruitment agencies. The position I secured is one such role."Carmel. S, Personal Assistant
“I have a long standing relationship with Dyanne Gerard Personnel dating back to 2005. This is because they have always been, and continue to be outstanding in providing expert recruitment services and understanding client needs both from the employer perspective as well as from a candidate's point of view. They have placed me in various legal roles in private practices over the years, but more recently, were able to place me in an in-house role at one of the largest medical companies in Australia within only a few days of having applied! Their knowledge of the market, extensive experience and efficient services solidify their position as a leader in the recruitment market. I recommend them to all job seekers and employers alike."Ivy. L, Senior Legal Secretary (in-house)
“I made contact with Dyanne Gerard Personnel through LinkedIn when I was feeling somewhat dissatisfied in my former job, though not actively looking for something new at that stage. My consultant, Sharon Galpin, provided the exact service that I needed at the time – we began things with a casual chat, where she let me know what I could expect in the market and assured me that she would be able to help me find a role that would suit my skills, experience and qualifications. She was as good as or even better than her word – she stayed in regular contact with me but was never forceful as some recruitment agents can be, which was like a breath of fresh air! Six months on, I am in a job that I enjoy, part of a supportive and cohesive team, in a firm with a culture that epitomises the ideals that I discussed with Sharon at our initial meeting. One very satisfied candidate here!"Kathy. W, Senior Legal Assistant
“My experience with Dyanne Gerard Personnel recruitment agency has been pleasant. In particular, the agent that I worked with was professional and friendly, and most importantly, she kept me in the loop on the progress of my job application without me needing to follow up with her all the time. My agent has also touched base with me after a successful placement to ensure all is still going smoothly in respect of my new job."ZL, Paralegal / Candidate