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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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