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The 6 Reasons Why Your Personal Brand as a legal professional is Failing (And How to Rectify It)

  • November 5, 2019

As a legal professional, you take your career seriously.

You may well already have a personal brand that you’ve spent time developing. Mapping it out will have made you more self-aware and knowledgeable, as well as signalling to Senior Partners and Managers that you are the ideal candidate for the next promotion opportunity.

Establishing yourself as a go-to for specialist legal knowledge has made you the person everyone looks to for advice. Your brand indicates your strengths, capabilities and enables you to stand out above the competition.

In short, few things are more critical to building a successful legal career than having a strong personal brand.

So, what could go wrong?

Sometimes, your personal brand can slip and work against you, preventing you from moving forward in your career. So, it’s wise to look out for these tell-tale signs that your brand is failing – and how you can rectify it before any damage occurs.

1. Your Goals Are Too Vague

Why are you building your brand? What are your end goals?

A vague “I want to become a leader” isn’t clear enough. You need to have a definite goal in mind. Be it achieving a Senior Partnership, Managerial role or Senior Solicitor within your Law Firm, having a clear objective will help you focus and plan on how exactly you’re going to get there.

And understanding why you want to develop your personal brand will keep you on track too.

2. You’re Neglecting ‘Real’ Interactions

Blogging and vlogging may be all the rage, but are you neglecting the more traditional channels of communication?

It’s tempting to follow the herd, and there’s nothing wrong with having an online presence it’s essential (more on this later), but it’s also worth considering other ways to get your brand across.

Keynote speaking at law events, networking at conferences or writing a guest piece for a legal publication – all these can help establish your personal legal profile. Face to face interactions have a lot more impact than online relationships – so make sure you utilise both well for maximum impact.

3. You Don’t Practice What You Preach

While we’re talking about interactions, considering your interactions with your team in the workplace is crucial to maintaining your personal brand. Having one persona for the outside world and another in the office isn’t going to cut it.

How you treat your legal team is going to directly affect how they view you. Consistency in your communication, from important meetings to casual chats in the hallway, is crucial.

Be aware of your communication style, actively listen and make time for your staff. They are the ones who will bolster your position and recommend you to others, thus building your credibility.

4. It’s All About You

Hopefully, you don’t have any controversial tweeting habits, but when online it’s ideal to mix promotion of yourself with legal industry knowledge that conveys your expertise without it seeming as though you are endlessly indulging in ‘over the top’ self-promotion. In other words, the Goldilocks effect: not too much, not too little.

Ideally, 10 per cent of your posts should be about you (for example, recent achievements or awards) and the rest should highlight current legal news and trends, provoking discussion and sharing your perspective on things that are happening in the legal world.

And it goes without saying – keep your private life private, and your professional life professional online. Mixing the two is inviting trouble.

Be mindful that it may not be something you write on your personal feed that will damage your reputation, but it could be a controversial response from a friend; from political comments to excessive personal information – keep it off your professional profile.

5. You Don’t Stick to Your Promises

If you promised to appear as a speaker at an event, you wouldn’t not show up, would you?

Similarly, if you guarantee an in-depth article to your online followers every week, you need to ensure its there. If you fail to keep your promises, even at this level, you will lose the trust of followers and damage your brand.

So, think carefully before you promise articles, videos and twitter posts and ensure that you can fit them into your schedule.

6. You Don’t Follow Up

Credibility is built on consistency, so being constantly mindful of behaviour is critical.

Putting your brand ‘out there’ but failing to keep consistency is going to damage your brand. You’ve got your LinkedIn profile updated and your articles written for your blog posts – what else can you do?

Just as you would if you were marketing your law firm, you need a marketing strategy for your brand (remember the goals we talked about earlier?) Consistent messages and actions keep your sense of identity and credibility going and help power you towards those goals.

Maintaining your identity online and in-person will add value to your propositions and opinions.

That way, you will establish your professionalism and earn the trust of peers, colleagues and industry professionals to build authenticity and make the most of your personal brand.

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, your transition can be smoother and quicker.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

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How to Get on the Radar of a Legal Recruiter

  • June 10, 2019

Are you looking for a new position in your legal career?

You may feel you’re stuck in a rut, unmotivated, or that your skills are not being fully utilised. Perhaps you’re looking for advancement, a partnership, thinking of rerouting your career or even moving to a new location. You may have already tried asking around or looking online for opportunities. But have you considered the advantages of using a specialist legal recruiter?

Good Advice is Crucial

A specialist legal recruiter can offer tailored advice and will have exceptional knowledge of the legal marketplace – often the ear of the HR department or Senior Partner – enabling access to upcoming opportunities before they hit the general market. They will be able to match your values to company culture, as well as to offer advice and guidance, such as interview tips.

All of which bodes well for you, the candidate. So how do you get on the radar of a great legal recruiter and maximise your chances of securing that dream job?

In an ever-changing and expanding legal world, it’s essential to stand out from the crowd when you’re trying to attract the attention of a specialist recruiter. There are specific ways to sell your value to a specialist recruitment company such as Clayton Legal. It’s not unusual for recruiters like ourselves to receive many candidates for each post, and our reputation and yours is on the line with each placement recommendation, so it’s crucial that your information is accurate and complete.

Update Your CV

Here at Clayton Legal, we have been receiving candidate CVs for over 20 years, and this document remains the essential way to profile your achievements and expertise to date.

If your CV isn’t up to scratch, you need to update it now. Remember the three Rs – relevant, recent and readable. A good CV will showcase your complex skills, including IT skills, along with your qualifications and experience in legal practice. Include examples wherever possible and illustrate the particular critical skills for the post such as leadership, delegation, innovation, specialist practice knowledge and professionalism.

Check Your Online Profile

Have you checked your social media recently? You might want to consider Googling yourself and making sure any information shows you in a good light. If you thought recruiters and employers don’t check internet profiles, think again. Recent reports show that as many as one in three employers reject candidates based on something they have discovered about them online. Changing your privacy settings will ensure there are no embarrassing photos of you at your friend’s stag do or hen night.

LinkedIn has 20 million listed UK profiles. It’s therefore vital to make the most of the opportunities your LinkedIn profile provides to help you in legal career progression and opportunity. Build your contacts, where relevant, and join groups related to the legal world and your area of practice. Posting will also increase your visibility. Just make sure you keep it appropriate.

We offer further insight into standing out as a legal professional to recruiters on LinkedIn here.

You should make sure you have a professional profile image – visual stimulation ranks high on this scale. Also, heat map technology has revealed that people focus on your photo and the top part of your profile (your summary) so aim to use it to get their attention.

Finally, double-check you’re using keywords effectively. Many recruiters look for phrases and keywords that describe your strengths, skills, expertise and ability, as well as location. Read this LinkedIn guide to using powerful keywords for further insight.

Are Making the Most of Your Skillset?

Naturally, you will need the right qualifications for your chosen area of practice, and your transferable skills are equally important. Transferable skills are not only useful as they can be applied across job roles, but they highlight how you work in terms of communication, integrity and experience. All of which are important to a future employer. If you have four, six or eight years PQE, you will have extended your skillset considerably and so now is an appropriate time to review them to ensure you’re making the most of your abilities.

Teamwork – Show you can work effectively within a team towards mutual goals.

Time Management – Demonstrate how you prioritise and manage your workload (and potentially that of others). Include examples of taking responsibility for your own work, balancing tasks and hitting deadlines.

Leadership – Indicate initiative and motivation. Examples of how you have built rapport with clients, colleagues and influenced decisions. How have you inspired others?

Technology – Knowing how to use the latest software and technology is essential. Additional skills such as being able to troubleshoot complex problems, or understand data security, will provide an added benefit.

Adaptability – Nothing stays the same forever. Everyone has to adapt, adjust and change. Showing you are versatile and agile indicates a willingness to move forward and embrace change. This sort of positivity is crucial to progress your legal career.

Problem-Solving – Offering solution-orientated answers indicates your ability to use emotional intelligence, manage risk and make decisions.

Communication – As well as being able to communicate your own ideas to others verbally or on paper, being able to listen is a great skill, and developing listening skills can help alleviate potential misunderstandings and costly mistakes.

Are You a Good Match?

It’s a two-way street. Choosing your recruiter is as important as them choosing to work with you.

Therefore, when looking for a recruiter, don’t forget to ensure their values match yours. How long have they been in business? Do they put their business relationships at the heart of everything they do, striving to nurture and build relationships? Are they trustworthy and transparent?

Many people sign up to a recruitment company without thoroughly researching their credentials. Don’t make this potentially costly mistake. Check that they are respected in the recruiting world – online testimonials are a good indication of this.

Also, make sure they strive to provide the best possible fit for candidates (and clients) alongside ongoing support, pertinent information, ability to evaluate a candidate’s potential fit into the company culture, and a great retention rate for placements.

Be Proactive

Showing commitment and enthusiasm goes a long way to putting you ahead of the pack. Once you’ve chosen your recruiter, don’t sit waiting for them to contact you (although they will!) Be proactive. Building a relationship with your recruiter is a great way to get on their radar.

Reach out to them via email, LinkedIn or telephone. Many recruiters have a page where you can upload your CV, getting you in the system quickly.

Whatever method you use, a proactive response will enable you to engage with the recruiter, brief them on your skills, requirements and PQE experience, allowing them to quickly identify the best opportunities for you in your practice area, or they may discuss exploring a change in direction.

As well as finding an ideal match, they will have valuable tips and advice for you during your search. For the best results, treat your communication with your recruiter like a job in itself – checking in regularly and demonstrating your enthusiasm and commitment to securing a new role.

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, your transition can be smoother and quicker.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our guide here.

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