Prioritising During Your Legal Job Search

Posted on 12/7/2018 by Kelly Reid

Before you make any kind of job move, it’s important to be clear about exactly what you’re looking for in your next position.

In my experience, if someone knows that they want to move on from their current role, it’s likely that there will be one overriding reason for this, which will typically be one of the following:

  • For better pay
  • For better progression prospects
  • To work closer to home
  • Because they want a different job title
  • For a better work-life balance

However, when I dig down more deeply, I usually find that there’s a lot more at play than just one of the reasons above. Because of this, if I were to just focus on helping people remedy that one overarching complaint, they may not actually be that much happier in their next role than they are currently.

At the same, time, expecting to remedy every bug bear or issue someone might have with their current role isn’t always sensible. While the right thing to do might well be to move on, it isn’t always realistic for someone to expect to think that a new role will solve all of their problems and make their wildest dreams come true. The truth is that pragmatism is often necessary and prioritisation of aims essential.

Setting your priorities

At the beginning of your job search, you should think about what things are important to you and what exactly you’re looking for from next position.

If you’re struggling to identify or clearly articulate what it is you’re looking for, think about what’s missing from your current role. Do you wish your employer invested more in your development and offered clearer routes of progression? Are you looking for a more varied workload or a higher salary? Would you ideally like to work flexibly or be able to work from home occasionally?

Once you’ve made a note of your requirements, it is a good idea to rank them based on which are most important to you. You should also think about which of them are non-negotiable and which you’d be willing to compromise on.  

Speak to your consultant

If you’re working with a recruiter, when you’ve determined what your top priorities are, it’s essential that you let them know what they are. Fully inform them of what would work for you and what’s fixed on your wish list. They will be able to advise whether your expectations are realistic, given the nature of the market and the kinds of roles currently on offer.

This discussion should help you to sharpen your focus. You could find that your recruiter suggests that you’re being unreasonable in your expectations. While you might be tempted to discount their input, try to take their advice on-board as they’re actually likely to have your best interests in mind.

At Realm, we’ll always be open and honest with you about whether your wish list is realistic. By informing you of what’s currently on offer and the kinds of things employers are open to discussing, you’ll have a better understanding of what you should be aiming for.

Equally, if you’re struggling to work out whether your workload or commute is most important to you, your consultant can act on as a valuable sounding board who can help you organise your priorities.

No matter if you’re clear about what you want or not sure what you’re looking for in a new role, make sure you do your due diligence properly, both on your recruiter and the state of the market.

Why is it important to get your priorities straight?

For starters, it will help to give you some perspective. If all the exercise shows is that you’ve just the one issue, surely the sensible thing to do is discuss it with your current employer and try to resolve it without having to give up everything that’s good about your current role? Conversely, if your wish list is extensive, perhaps that shows that you should definitely be thinking about making a swift move?

Using that perspective, you should then be able to come up with a benchmark for what exactly is worth the upheaval of leaving your current role for. This is important, because it will enable you to act swiftly when something comes along that hits the mark. It isn’t unusual for an employer to want a response to a job offer within a few days of making it, and so taking a pragmatic approach at the outset will save time in the long run for all parties and help to avoid an unduly long process.

Similarly, getting advice from your recruitment consultant will help you to get a firm grasp on what you’re willing to compromise on. This will ultimately put you in a stronger position that will allow you to jump on a strong role quickly and say yes when the offer comes your way.

At the same time, when your consultant is fully informed of your main requirements, they will be able to adopt a more strategic, targeted approach to matching you with the employers that will be able to meet them. Together, you can be more productive and efficient in your job search.

A refreshingly consultative approach to recruitment

At Realm, we’ll work closely with you to develop your career, providing advice and guidance to help you get to where you want to be.

For a confidential discussion about the state of the market or to talk about making a move, get in touch with us today. Call our legal recruitment consultants on 03300 245 606 or visit our website to see our latest legal vacancies in private client, personal injury and family law.

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