Happy National Running Day to all lawyers who are also runners!
As a runner, I understand the time, commitment and discipline required to achieve your ultimate goal (or distance) whether you’re running a 5K (3.1 miles) or a full marathon (26.2 miles). That same time, commitment and discipline is required to achieve almost any worthy goal in life, including your career goals.
In my previous training for half-marathons (13.1 miles), I created a plan in which I ran a certain distance and number of days per week and gradually increased my distance and endurance over time. It was a structured schedule that required planning, discipline and focus to achieve certain physical goals in a specific time frame while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and nutrition plan.
It’s important to plan your career in the same manner. For example, if you’re an associate in a law firm and eventually want to practice law in-house with a company, you should implement a career plan. Your career plan may resemble your running training schedule, as follows:
Practice a specific area of law with a well-respected law firm that is known for that particular practice.
- Ask for as much hands-on experience and responsibility as possible.
- Try to gain a lot of client interaction and exposure.
- Do not “job hop” – do your best to create stability and longevity with your firm/employer.
Begin exploring specific industries and companies where might like to work.
- Get to know your clients and their in-house attorneys.
- Research the market, including companies and compensation.
- Establish a relationship with a reputable legal recruiter who has corporate clients and experience placing candidates in-house.
- Polish your resume.
- Create a detailed LinkedIn profile that clearly reflects your area of practice, experience and expertise as well as any publications and accolades.
- Monitor Internet job sites.
Discuss a career change with your spouse or partner, including the possibility of relocation.
Create a list of criteria that is important to you in making a career change – for example:
- Practice area
- Work-life balance/predictable schedule
- Advancement opportunities/career track
Explore, either independently or with the assistance of a qualified legal recruiter, a handful of in-house opportunities that meet the criteria you have pre-identified as important to you and your career.
- Be selective in your application process.
- Stay in control of who has your resume and where it is being submitted.
Go in-house with a great company that provides all the things that are important to you and your career!
Each lawyer’s plans and goals differ. However, the key is to create a well-thought plan and strategy and implement it with discipline and commitment to achieve your ultimate goal.
Happy National Runners Day!
Sharon A. McLaughlin, Esq. is a Regional Search Director with Special Counsel in Houston, TX (www.specialcounsel.com).
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