Taylor Root’s Yvonne Tucker provides tips to lawyers looking to move in-house.
In the current market employers are less likely to take risks in hiring candidates who don’t match the exact requirements of the job brief. Processes have become more thorough and rigorous. You need to carefully consider how to best position yourself to move in-house.
Consider your level. Typically there are fewer roles available at the junior and senior ends of the market with the majority of positions at the four to eight years’ experience level. This mid-level “sweet spot” should guarantee solid technical training but with room to improve commercial and business skills. Avoid pitching yourself for roles that are not aimed at your level. Although you may be prepared to compromise by taking on a more junior role, the issue often becomes one of “fit” both within the team structure and the hiring budget.
Choose the right industry. More often than not hiring managers prefer those with specific industry experience, especially where the skills are not easily transferable, such as in financial services or other highly-regulated sectors. Consider your existing client base and any secondment experience to ascertain which industry your skills are most aligned with. Choose an industry that resonates with your interests but you need to match your experience.
Ensure that your CV is up to date. Your interpersonal skills may help you to secure the role after an interview but your CV will determine whether you even get the opportunity to interview. It is an important selling tool so make sure that the layout is clear and the content is informative and free of any errors.
Prepare for the interview. It is essential that you thoroughly research the organisation and the backgrounds of the interviewers. Understand the issues that are affecting the industry and ask questions that show that you have an awareness of industry developments. If a job description is available ensure that you are familiar with the role requirements and think about how your specific experience can align with what they’re looking for. Remember that hiring managers are looking for genuine passion and enthusiasm for the role in their team, often a point of differentiation between success and rejection.
Yvonne Tucker (pictured) is an associate director at Taylor Root.
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