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What are the most important things to consider at the beginning of a job search

So you’re one of the many and you’ve decided 2019’s the year for a new job. If you’re a lawyer, you’ll be pleased to know (if you didn’t already) it’s a candidate light market and you may have the luxury of being able to select from a number of job opportunities. A by-product of this is feeling overwhelmed so it really helps to be clear on what you’d like to gain from your next move from the outset. Whether you’re working with a legal recruiter or not, there’s never any harm in understanding what your perfect job would look like.

Some things to think about include:

  1. The firm. This might sound obvious, but have a think about what you like and dislike about your current firm and why. The same applies regarding your team. If you’re in a small team but you’ve found this doesn’t work for you, think about what hasn’t clicked and where things may improve by being in a bigger team. Be totally clear with your recruiter on these points. Similarly, if there’s a particular firm you’ve always dreamed of working for, even if there’s no live vacancy, tell your legal recruiter as we might be able to approach them for you.
  2. The work. Again, think about what it was that tempted you to join your current firm. Has the work been how you expected?  If the quality of work’s fallen short, think about what’s needed in order for it to be better for you.
  3. Package. Make sure you’re absolutely clear on what your current package looks like and what it would need to look like in order for you to move. If you have financial obligations, how will moving jobs affect your financial position? It’s a good idea to think about these things early on; as opposed to when an offer’s on the table. If your only motivator for leaving your current job is your pay, speak to your firm about this before you start looking elsewhere. It might be a problem that’s easily solved by having a conversation.
  4. Location. Think about the locations that work for you. If you’re planning on relocating, a firm’s likely to ask you how feasible this will be at interview and how committed you are to the area so it’s really important to be clear on this.
  5. Hours. If you currently work full-time, think about the hours you’re doing. If you’re working longer hours, are you looking for more work-life balance, or an opportunity that allows you to work from home occasionally? Alternatively, if you need part-time hours, make sure you’re clear with your recruiter on what your hours/working pattern needs to look like in your next move. It’s much easier to ascertain whether part-time hours can be accommodated at the outset rather than throwing this into the mix further down the line.

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