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Finding the Path: A Legal Recruitment Sherpa’s Guide to Job Hunting

Law as stated: 22 December 2023 What is this? This episode was published and is accurate as at this date.
Legal recruitment extraordinaire Andrew Murdoch of Dovetail joins David in Curiosity to reveal the latest in the legal recruitment world. Touching on whether cover letters still hold value, the best time of year for job searching, and the importance of a career objective.
Practice Management and Business Skills Practice Management and Business Skills
Professional Skills Professional Skills
Andrew Murdoch
1 hour = 1 CPD point
How does it work?
What area(s) of law does this episode consider?The recruitment process.
Why is this topic relevant?As we’ve heard from many of our guests on the podcast, what we start out doing straight out of law school may not necessarily be where we end up – or even what we most enjoy. In many cases, what we end up doing inside or outside the profession is substantially different to what we thought we’d be doing.

No surprises then that navigating the job market can be a challenge. Legal recruiters are often a vital part of success in the process of finding a job, so we thought we’d hash out what to expect when working with a recruiter as a young professional. Including how to effectively correspond with them, the significance of building a solid working relationship, and how recruiters can best assist young lawyers in their professional development.

What are the main points?
  • Legal recruiters offer invaluable assistance to lawyers transitioning into different legal roles, particularly in-house positions.
  • Candidates should invest time in crafting an effective resume, as it has become an increasingly important document in job applications.
  • Cover letters are no longer relevant; a resume now serves to highlight a candidate’s objectives and qualifications.
  • The recruitment industry works on the basis that recruiters are paid by the employer once a successful placement is made.
  • Recruiters can provide valuable insights into the legal job market, including the best times to seek new positions.
  • It is beneficial to build a long-term relationship with a recruiter, who can help with career progression over many years.
  • Recruiters recommend focusing on transferable skills and the ability to synthesize information when moving into an in-house role.
  • Specialising too early in a specific area of law can be detrimental if the lawyer wishes to transition in-house where a generalist approach is more valued.
  • Recruiters have shifted from valuing specific skills and experience to prioritising candidates’ general capabilities and cultural fit for a company.
What are the practical takeaways?
  • Resumes must adapt to contemporary formats, using color and interactivity designed for screen reading rather than print.
  • Lawyers must actively plan their careers, considering not just the next job move but long-term goals and strategies.
  • The concept of initiative and the ability to take risks is increasingly sought after by employers, branching away from traditional law firm expectations of precedent.
  • With AI advancements, the skills market focus is shifting further towards the ability to make informed decisions using available technology.
  • Investing time and effort into managing one’s career and seeking guidance from a recruiter can lead to greater job satisfaction and success.
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