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Career progression through the eyes of the recently promoted

“People leave managers, not jobs” is a phrase that I seem to be noticing more on more on social media. I was promoted on 1st July into a Manager role at BCL Legal and since then I seem to see the phrase where ever I go! The self doubt starts to creep in – what if everyone leaves me?

Managing Gish and Victoria has been very rewarding and our team specialising in recruiting for corporate, commercial, real estate, employment, commercial litigation, property litigation, construction and private client teams across the East, South and West Midlands is doing very well and performing above target. Helping people to achieve their aims and develop their skills is very rewarding. Although it is difficult to manage my own fee earning responsibilities against that – luckily the balance is getting easier as I gain more experience.

So whilst exciting, career progression can also be daunting. You have to learn a whole new set of skills and are often expected to see the world (or your business) in a different way. The pressures only increase.

Fortunately at BCL Legal there is a very supportive group of existing managers and senior managers all willing to offer advice. There has been a specific training plan to go through and also an opportunity to try the job before being promoted into it. The expectations have been discussed upfront and targets have been set in a realistic fashion. The whole experience of making the transition has been fantastic.

So other than blowing my own trumpet, what is the point of the blog? Many of the candidates that we speak to are looking for career progression. This can be an opportunity to do a more consistent quality of work, a chance to step up to the next level or a chance to take on extra responsibilities.

This can be the in-house candidate who has realised that there are much better promotion and earning opportunities in private practice, the frustrated Senior Associate looking to break into Partnership or the solicitor who has been passed over for promotion to Associate. The interesting thing is that seldom are firms willing to promote on moving. One of the effects of the recession is that firms often want to try people out before they promote them. So as a job seeker, how do you go about assessing your prospects if you move?

Firstly you forget anything that anyone has ever told you about a potential employer, their experience is not your experience. Generally speaking you will have a different personality, different strengths and different ambitions to your friends.

Next try not to be too specific about what work you do. What is more important too you? Career progression or doing renewable energy work? An opportunity to step forward or only working with large FS clients?

Be willing to accept that you may need to stay at the same level – but have a plan put in place. You may need to show your talents before your new firm will promote you. If this is the case then you need to understand the plan and find out what support structures and training is available. What will the targets look like and what will your responsibilities look like when you get there.

Assess why you haven’t got promoted within your current business, work out how much more likely it is for you to get promoted elsewhere. Be brave enough to ask the right questions. Understand that you will need to meet people in the flesh in order to get sensible answers to the questions.

Finally remember that the people you are meeting, have been through the process of being promoted into the role which you crave. They know what it takes. Ask them and make sure that you demonstrate those qualities.

Given my recent experiences – I’m more than happy to discuss this or any other recruitment query with any solicitors looking to take the next step.

For more information please contact Nick Fear or visit our website BCL Legal

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