As you begin your job hunt, two of the most important tools you have are your cover letter and resume. In an age of increasingly Internet-based job searches, these two documents are your only opportunity to showcase your skills and set yourself apart from other applicants. Related: 5 Tips To Make Your Law Firm Application Stand Out We know there are plenty of tips on the Internet for how to structure your resume or make your resume visually appealing, but there isn’t a lot of information specifically about legal resumes for new attorneys to refer to. We hope that our tips help you understand what a prospective employer is looking for and how to avoid some of the pitfalls we see on a regular basis.
During 2013, there has been an extraordinary amount of lawyers moving from one reputable law firm to another. If this trend continues in 2014 and you want to join in, you might want to look into the seven skills law firms look for in recruits. Here they are...
1. Drive And EnduranceWorking as a lawyer means you’ll have to regularly put in long hours to achieve your goals. It’s just part of the job to have to sacrifice a little bit of yourself. Lawyers who have a lot of energy and stamina tend to be better at their jobs since they don’t mind walking that extra mile with their clients to get the results they want.
2. Good CommunicationGood communication skills, both written and oral, are important qualities to have for any solicitor. During your application and interview processes you have the perfect opportunity to showcase these talents. Remember that good communicators know when to listen and when to speak, so make sure you show your interviewer that you can do both.
3. Attention To DetailNaturally speaking, lawyers should have great attention to detail when working with colleagues and clients. They should be able to pick up on small things in both written documents and when people are verbally communicating. Allowing a small error to slip through can change the meaning of a contract, causing a lot of problems. Recruiters often test the spelling, punctuation, and grammar of potential candidates to see if they meet this requirement. If an application is full of small mistakes, the candidate will most likely be turned down immediately.
4. TeamworkTeamwork is a crucial part of being a successful lawyer. It’s hard to show someone in an interview that you are a good team-player, so prepare some examples from previous situations where you contributed to or lead a team successfully. You can also tell the interviewer how you feel you’ll be able to contribute in a future team situation. If you’re a recent graduate, you can use examples such as being captain of a sports team or class leader.
5. Commercial AwarenessLaw firms are looking for candidates who have an honest interest in how businesses work and how it will affect their clients. They want someone who has a sense of the “big picture” and who keeps up to date on what’s going on around them. A good lawyer should have the ability to be a comprehensive business adviser. Follow the news and stories in the business world to prepare yourself for questions concerning this aspect.
6. An Entrepreneurial InstinctBusiness models are changing and developing more towards improving the entrepreneurial side of law firms. Always be inquisitive and on the look-out for new opportunities and chances to create business.
7. Well-Rounded PersonPeople who have a good balance in life tend to cope better with things like stress in the business world. Although academics are very important to a lawyer, try to take part in some kind of extra-curricular activity, because as they say, a healthy body fosters a healthy mind.
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