Most people think of references as a list of three people you hand over to a prospective employer after the company has decided it wants to hire you. But a proactive and strategic reference can help you long before you receive an offer, especially if you might need help getting in the door for an interview.
The power reference (PR) is someone who can make a difference. In rare cases, it will be a star, like a well-known general counsel or, for example, a U.S. Senator. Fame is not a prerequisite, however. The essential ingredient to a power reference is the relationship between the PR and the hiring decision-maker who receives the PR’s call. The relationship between you and the PR does not need to be nearly as strong or in-depth as you think. More
Sitting in for Meredith Haydon this issue, we welcome Sheila Nielsen as our guest columnist for Your Career. This is an interesting take on the value of creativity in your networking efforts. Sheila is a believer in making your own luck, a theme that runs throughout her new book, now available at Amazon, titled: “Job Quest for Lawyers: The Essential Guide to Finding and Landing the Job You Want.”
Why Steve Jobs’ Ideas About Creativity Are Important for Your Job Search
“There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘wow’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.”
– Walter Issacson quoting Steve Jobs in his biography, Steve Jobs.
Brainstorming is a creative and exciting process. People get together, think about a problem, and come up with ideas and solutions. When it comes to your job search, you want to brainstorm with a lot of people and you want those creative juices flowing. More
Networking. Many believe it’s essential to building a successful career in any profession. And in law, that sentiment is especially true.
But despite networking’s inarguable value, lawyers often find it to be a challenge—even a downright chore. While effective networking takes time, effort and research, the potential rewards—discovering a mentor, stumbling upon a highly sought after position or simply learning something new and relevant—are invaluable. The reality is, like it or not, getting out there and networking is critical to your success. More
It’s safe to say, the economy is experiencing a real boost. According to Department of Labor statistics, in each month of last year, employers added an average of 246,000 jobs—making 2014 the strongest year for employment since 1999.
As we head into 2015, we do it with the momentum of a growing economy and jobs market at our backs. It’s the right time to look at your paycheck and ask yourself, “Should I ask for a raise?”
Of course everyone wants a raise and feels deserving of it, but the question really begs a political assessment of your specific question. Don’t jump to requesting a raise if you have reason to believe your position may be insecure, or if your company happens to be struggling. More
Whether you’re looking for a new position or a recruiter unexpectedly reaches out to you with an opportunity, the idea of a new job is consistently both exciting and terrifying.
Taking a new job often comes with huge risks: It means leaving your comfort zone and engaging in the unexpected; it means forming new relationships with new co-workers in a new office; it means working in an unknown corporate culture that may or may not be a good fit. But not seeking out or accepting a new position—particularly for those who have spent several years in the same role—also raises some important questions: Are there better opportunities out there that I may be missing out on? Does my current employer value the work I’m currently doing? Can I do more meaningful work here or somewhere else? Am I being compensated appropriately? More
Last month, I discussed why it’s important, when possible, for lawyers to volunteer for pro bono work. In summary, pro bono helps your career in three ways: it enhances your skill sets, offers opportunities to build relationships within the legal community and beyond, and allows you to demonstrate leadership skills.
Understanding the role pro bono plays in your career is the first step. Finding the right pro bono opportunities for you is the next. No doubt, you will be guided by your individual beliefs and likely target organizations that are doing work you strongly support. More
Just because you’re a busy lawyer in a bustling legal department doesn’t mean pro bono work isn’t an option for you. Pro bono isn’t just for the law firm lawyers. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Over the years, I’ve talked to countless in-house counsel who set aside time to take on pro bono projects—and, not coincidentally, these lawyers tend to be the most satisfied (and successful) in their careers.
Sure, pro bono work feels good. Helping people who are unable to afford legal services they may desperately need—such as writing a will, fighting an eviction or foreclosure proceeding, or handling complicated immigration paperwork, to name a few—is something most lawyers enter law school assuming they would do. But when “life happens,” it’s easy to put pro bono work on the back burner. More
Until recently, it was our practice at Evers Legal to stick with traditional background and reference checks. We did not Google our candidates before presenting them to clients. We felt, honestly, that we’d rather not know how they spend their limited amount of personal time. It’s none of our business.
Then, as you may suspect of the direction this story is leading, we ended up with a bit of egg on our faces. Without getting into the details, suffice it to say, one of our clients discovered some online information about a candidate we had presented for consideration—and it wasn’t pretty. More
What are the goals of your feedback system and are you meeting them? According to Douglas Stone, co-author with Sheila Heen of “Thanks for the Feedback,” this is the first question companies should be asking themselves when it’s time to sit down for those annual reviews.
Feedback consists of two equally important elements—giving and receiving. Last month, I discussed some of the best practices with receiving feedback. This column will address giving it.
Stone contends that the success of delivering effective feedback, favorable or otherwise, has more to do with the receiver than the giver. As the example cited in last month’s column illustrated: The same feedback given simultaneously to two different people may result in widely divergent conclusions. More
In the business context, giving and receiving feedback is all around us. We’ve participated in feedback sessions, either formal or informal, day-in and day-out since the first day we launched our careers. But being well-versed in the idea of feedback as a form of communication doesn’t mean we all give it or receive it in the same way—or that we’re particularly good at it.
In the legal profession, a better understanding of giving and receiving feedback is critical to your own success, that of your colleagues, your departments, and the professional growth of people you train and manage.
Enter Douglas Stone. He and his co-author, Sheila Heen, recently published “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well,” which explores highly useful insights to givers and receivers of feedback—that is, everyone. More