Written by   |   Tuesday, 31 March 2020 16:13

Productivity is extremely important for effectively managing a job search. Whilst the process can be stressful at times, staying one step ahead with a productive and well-organised strategy can be very beneficial.

1. Stay positive about the legal job market 

This should always be the first and foremost step for managing your job search. Productivity is enhanced by having a concrete goal or vision to work towards, so staying up to date about the vast array of jobs available for lawyers helps keep optimism levels high.  

Researching legal recruitment statistics can aid the process. For instance, recent research conducted by Urbis Keys Young for the Law Society of New South Wales found that over the last seven years, there has been a +33% increase in the number of solicitors practising in Australia. Legal recruitment across Australia therefore looks promising. 

2. Build a 9 to 5 schedule for each day

Treat the job search as a job in its own right. Allocate time for writing or editing a quality CV. Set aside time to research the job market. Schedule in meetings, interviews or Skype calls. Devote time for rehearsing interview answers with friends or family. Having a set daily program will optimise productivity. 

3. Regularly assess your productivity using an 80/20 analysis

This method involves two key steps. The first is to review which 20 per cent of your activities led to 80 per cent of the results you were aiming for. The second is to identify the 20 per cent of your activities that consumed 80 per cent of your time. Keeping a log of hours from your daily schedule can help provide data for this analysis. If you discover any overlap, or lack thereof, use the results to restructure your job search behaviour. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can lead others most effectively through their uncertainty and anxiety, by focusing on connection and contribution. 

Connection 
The idea of ‘social distancing’ amid a pandemic is of course vital; in fact, our very lives depend on it. I just wish they had called it ‘physical distancing’ instead. While we can’t be in close proximity to one another right now, we actually need to be more emotionally connected than ever. 

Your team members and professional associates, never mind family and friends, are almost certainly feeling worried, anxious or worse. Many of them will not share the extent of their worries with you for a whole range of reasons; maybe they’re embarrassed, perhaps they’re concerned it will make them look weak, or it may be that they just don’t want to burden you any further.  

The key word here is ‘feeling’. Whether we like to or not, we are human beings not human doings. There is a lot to get done right now, but you will only get through it with the commitment of your people. More than ever, they must feel that you care about them. The following actions can help;

  • Increase your cadence of communication. As much as possible, speak to people directly, let them hear your tone of voice, make it personal, be fully present, listen intently.
  • Rather than focus on what you want to say, think about how you want them to feel at the end; the right words will usually follow.
  • Name and validate their likely emotions; it will take some of the weight out of them. For example; “I imagine you’re feeling fearful and worried right now…”
  • Show some personal vulnerability. For example; “I’m concerned too, but we’ll figure it out together.” 
  • Reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while, even if it’s just a text. Ask them how they are, let them know you’re thinking of them.

Contribution
Contribution is a bit like gratitude; it’s very difficult to be purposeful and fearful at the same time. The more you focus on yourself right now, the more anxious and worried you will feel, and the less effective you will be in leading others. The more you focus on serving others, the more confident you will feel and the more positive your impact will be. 

The greater the crisis, the more your contribution matters. Your people and stakeholders have never needed you to make a difference more than they do right now. Whatever you are uniquely skilled to do, do it to the very best of your ability. Over the course of my 20-year obsession with leadership, I’ve done quite a bit of writing on the subject. I can tell you that last week’s blog, done on the spare of the moment, generated more positive feedback than every other blog I’ve ever written, combined.     

If you’re focused on contribution while others are fighting for toilet paper, you will build enormous levels of trust and good will with those who matter. When things return to some level of normality, you will likely benefit from that good will disproportionately; be it increased commitment from your people, more business from your customers, greater career opportunities, among a whole host of other potential benefits. 

Even better, if you can instil a sense of contribution in your whole organization at this time, then the scale of your potential impact is limitless. You can positively impact markets, industries and entire communities. 

If you want to be more contribution focused, the following actions can help; 

  • Reflect on your values, purpose and passions. Think about the skills, attributes and experiences you have accumulated over your career and life to date. Given all of that, how can you best contribute to others at this time?
  • Put yourself in the shoes of your key stakeholders; what do they really need from you right now? Even better, ask them.
  • Seek feedback on your contribution, then respond, adapt and improve it over time.
  • Detach from your outcomes. Contribute without expectation of receiving anything in return.  
  • Repeat all of the actions above, but at scale. Make contribution the most important standard in your team or organization right now.


I hope these two principles – connection and contribution – will help you to lead more effectively at this very challenging time.

 

Blog written by Peter Fuda

http://www.peterfuda.com/subscribe/

Written by   |   Friday, 27 March 2020 11:32

This is what we are hearing from some of our candidates but if anything, now is definitely the time to get prepared for your next opportunity!

I would suggest to you that if you were interested in exploring new roles before this all happened, then now is possibly the best time to actually prepare yourself for a new role so that once we move into recovery phase, you are actually ready to go and ahead of the competition.   

Although we are living through completely unprecedented times, the closest comparison we have from our living memories is the GFC.  During that time, there was a great deal of uncertainty and doubt.  Recruitment stopped suddenly but once economic recovery started, recruitment too, started up again – and all at once.  Law firms and companies (both SMEs and global corporations) started recruiting at the same time.  The candidates that had prepared themselves for their next role were the ones that were in the driver’s seat!  Our candidates were in the best position because we had prepared them and they were ready to go!

You may not know but literally up until the Covid-19 outbreak, the legal recruitment market was incredibly buoyant but there was a dearth of candidates.  Once things recover, companies and law firms will move to quickly recruit so that they too, will be ahead of their competitors.  This will mean that the candidates who are best prepared will be the first to be recruited into those prime positions.

There are many ingredients that go into making yourself the best candidate for a role.  It’s not as easy as just throwing your hat in the ring and hoping for an interview. It takes much thought and preparation.  You need to know what you want from your career; where you want your career to go and despite the hyperbole around this question – you DO need to know where you want to be in 5 years time.  And then, you work backwards, making sure you’re gearing yourself up for that very role!  This is where we come in to help.  With our 21+ years of specialist legal recruitment experience and our backgrounds in Law, we are your career strategists.  We will work with you to make sure you are geared for your ideal role!

Therefore, now is actually the time for us to have that conversation about your ideal next role so that once things start to recover and companies/law firms recruit again in earnest, you will be first in line for the best opportunities.

Together, we will get you job ready!

Working from home for an indefinite period of time and remaining motivated can be quite challenging. There are a lot more distractions, less communication (and sometimes) less accountability compared to working in the office. However, this does not mean that working from home should be difficult or impossible. If you follow these little tips and tricks, you will become an expert at remote working and find yourself being and remaining, more productive. 

1. Get organised. Start your day early

Usually, the commute to work will wake you up and get you ready for the day. When working from home, going straight from your bed to the laptop can be quite jarring. It will be beneficial for you to plan out what you will be working on ahead of time. Try preparing your schedule and a to-do list the day before, making it easier to get started when you wake up the following day.

This organisation will help you feel more productive and put you in a work mindset from the moment you wake up. After you’ve completed a task, cross it off your to-do list, this technique is not only effective but extremely fulfilling and will help keep you motivated throughout the day.

2. Get dressed

Keeping your normal morning routine is important to ensure you are in the right mindset. Wake up, shower and get dressed the same time every day, as if you were going into the office.

Staying in your pyjamas or comfortable lounging-around-the-house-clothes might make you feel sluggish and uninterested in work. Getting dressed into something more business casual, will not only improve your state of mind but will psychologically prepare you for work. Telling your brain that it is not time to relax.

Likewise, changing out of your work clothes at the end of the day will help you settle into your home-life routine and help your brain understand that work is over. 

3. Follow regular working hours

When working from home, you can easily get drawn into starting and finishing work either earlier or later. It is important to be consistent and follow normal working hours, this will not only keep you accountable, make you readily available to your colleagues and manager but also help you maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

4. Create a home office

Being in the comfort of your own home, you might be persuaded to work from your couch or even in your bed, but this will probably impact your level of productivity. Working at a desk or a designated ‘workspace’, will prepare you mentally for a day of work.

Doing this will also help you separate your work life from your home life, which can be quite a difficult distinction to make when you’re continuously working from home.

5. Stay in touch with your colleagues

There are so many, easy ways to stay connected; download apps like Skype, Zoom, Teams, etc. Make sure you catch up regularly over a video chat with your team. Schedule in a morning and afternoon meeting/catch up where you can check in with each other, see how your team is faring and of course, discuss your work. Seeing each other will make you feel closer and more connected. You will still have a sense of connectedness and collegiality.

6. Use your time effectively

To ensure you maintain efficiency and enthusiasm throughout the day, it will be beneficial for you to organise your day based on your own productivity levels. This can be achieved by saving your harder tasks for when you know you’ll be in the right headspace for them.

If you are a morning person, complete your more challenging tasks in the morning, or vice versa for those who find themselves to be more productive in the afternoons.

7. Take short breaks, keep hydrated and exercise or stretch regularly

You should not stay glued to your screen all day; it is important to take short breaks and ensure you stay hydrated. Get some fresh air, open a window, go for a walk around the backyard (or even step onto your balcony); try to do some light exercise in your home. This will give your mind time to reset and give you a pair of fresh eyes for when you return to your work.

Not to mention, exercise releases natural endorphins which boost happiness and interest levels which are important for productivity and keeping your spirits high.

 

The world is in the grip of Coronavirus chaos and market mayhem. Emotional contagion is spreading even faster than the virus. At a time like this, what do we want from our leaders? Calm, of course. We also want reassurance, compassion, hope and clarity about the pathways forward. 

But what if you’re the leader? What if people are looking to you for calm and certainty at a time when you feel as uncertain and anxious as they do? The first person you have to lead is yourself.

Given my job, I’m very often in conversations of this nature and two things have become abundantly clear. Firstly, no matter how senior the leader, no matter how good they are at their job, they have their own fears, worries and insecurities; that’s what makes them human. Secondly, I have to be at my very best in order to help them through whatever challenge we’re focused on.

My aim for this blog, is to help you, as a leader, better cope with your own uncertainties and worries so that you can show up well for your people at this time. Of course, there are many tactics that can be helpful, but the following three are those that I find myself returning to over and over again. 

1.    Double down on your well being
Our health is critical on a good day, but even more important when we’re surrounded by apparent chaos. Unfortunately, chaos can encourage the loss of self-discipline and the rise of unhelpful behaviours like consuming too much “news”, deprioritising exercise, eating poorly, sleeping less, shallow breathing, working around the clock, disconnecting from others, and so on. 

We’re no good to anyone else unless we look after ourselves first. The following actions can help;

  • Prioritise exercise, diet, deep breathing and rest, even more than usual. Aside from being good for you, it will also likely raise your sense of self-efficacy and self-confidence at exactly the time you need it most.
  • Connect with those you love, respect and who give you energy. If you can’t connect in person, catch-up on a video call. As much as possible, avoid those who have an unhealthy love of drama.  
  • Narrow your media consumption to a few sources that you trust; those focused on reporting facts rather than sensationalising the situation and spreading fear.
  • Pay attention to your entertainment consumption. Are the shows you watch and the books you read helping you to feel calm and relaxed, or anxious and worried? I love Homeland and Curb Your Enthusiasm equally, but Larry David is much better for my nervous system at the end of a challenging day.

2.    Shift from judgment to perception
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.”This quote has been variously ascribed to Anais Nin, Immanuel Kant, Jo Coudert and Stephen Covey, among others. Whoever said it, it’s a notion that’s particularly useful given the uncertainty we face right now. Are your worries an inevitable response to this uncertainty, or are they a reflection of how you are?   

We tend to think of our judgment as objective and rational, when in fact, it’s highly subjective and often more focused on rationalizing our interpretation of events than “reality.” The problem is that when we judge things to quickly, too harshly and too absolutely, we become rigid, eliminate options and increase our sense of helplessness. 

To get back our sense of agency, hope and possibility, we need to shift from judgment to perception. To be perceptive is to be open, curious, creative and insightful; attributes that are extremely useful to a leader, especially one trying to cope with a challenging environment. 

If you’d like to become less judgmental and more perceptive, the following actions can help you to make this shift: 

  • Before you lock-in on what something means, ask yourself “what else could this mean?”
  • Notice your use of absolute adverbs like ‘always’, ‘never’ and ‘every time’; they are sure signs of judgment and very often signs of unhelpful exaggeration.
  • Detach from your ego and your need to be right. Instead, focus on what’s helpful or unhelpful.
  • Become more curious and open. Ask more questions. Actively look for alternative meanings in any situation.
  • Accept that your emotions are your responsibility. No one can make you feel anything without your compliance. Choose your emotions, intentionally, so that they serve you.

3.     Ask a better question

Whether you realise it or not, your brain is asking and answering questions all day long. If you are feeling uncertain or anxious, you can bet that most of your questions are unhelpful.

Why am I feeling anxious? What if the situation gets worse? What if our customers leave? Of course, worst-case scenario planning has its place, but each of these questions is perfectly designed to induce feelings of worry, fear and uncertainty. If you’re asking them habitually, consciously or unconsciously, you’re going to find it very difficult to lead effectively.

The good news is that you can alter your emotional state, and your outcomes, just by asking a better question. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • What is the best outcome from here? 

In the first instance, this question works because it assumes there is an outcome. Even more importantly, it assumes we accept where "here" is. We may not like the situation, but we accept it as our reality. We don't spend any time in regret, blame or victimization.  

  • How can I use this situation to learn and grow?

At the gym, we accept that to build new muscles we need to lift heavier weights. It’s the same with leadership. This question works because it takes our attention beyond the situation and places it on the process of learning. We no longer dread the situation; we embrace it because it represents an opportunity to develop new leadership muscles. 

  • How can I serve others right now? 

Service is a noble pursuit, perhaps the most noble. To be in service of others is to live our purpose and influence others towards theirs. It’s also very difficult to experience anxiety when we’re focused on serving others for the simple reason that we must shift our attention from “me/my worries” to “them/their needs.” 

I hope these three simple tactics will help you to feel more calm, centred and confident in your leadership role at this challenging time. 

 

Blog written by Peter Fuda

http://www.peterfuda.com/subscribe/

Written by   |   Tuesday, 17 March 2020 15:50

It’s been a long and well documented fact that, being in the right mind set is essential for anyone going in search of legal jobs or roles in any other profession, say the researchers from the UNSW Business School.

This is especially the case for those who have been looking for their next challenge for a long time, as the situation can become increasingly frustrating and demoralising. Associate Professor Peter Heslin explained that people can often find themselves feeling hopeless, as the route to the ideal job can be paved with knockbacks and difficulties.

"Self-regulation is often required to prevent becoming distracted or discouraged and thus failing to persist until one's job search objectives are accomplished," noted Professor Heslin.

He emphasised that there are a wide range of factors that can influence self-regulation, with many of them a result of upbringing and genetic makeup. However, it is possible for jobseekers to change the way they deal with setbacks so they can use the experience to a more positive end.

It is essential for anyone looking for employment to avoid becoming distracted or dissuaded throughout their job search. Otherwise, they could find themselves becoming more anxious about what the future might have in store, further hampering their chances of securing their next legal job. 

Professor Heslin emphasised that it is all too easy to become disillusioned about a job search, but this can in turn make it more difficult for people to achieve their dream roles. This is especially important at the moment, when the world seems to be in crazy unprecedented times.  However, now is not the time to stop the search.  Now is the time to keep ahead of the competition. After the hiatus will come the recovery and you don’t want to be behind the curve.

Written by   |   Wednesday, 11 March 2020 15:22

It's a well-known truism that a person has just a matter of 7 or so seconds to make a good first impression, and this is certainly the case for anyone in legal jobs. Regardless of whether it's your first legal job after qualifying or you've moved to a different department or firm, there's only one opportunity for you to portray the right image once you start.

However, it's just as important to strike a balance between being keen and overzealous. While you need to prove yourself as an asset to a firm, you also need to ensure your peers see you as one of the team.

  • Introduce yourself

Law firms are busy environments and like many offices throughout the globe, it can be all too easy to lose the personal touch. In an age where people sit behind their computers or on the end of a phone all day, there's a chance you may not ever really get to know your colleagues.

Use your first few days as an opportunity to meet people face to face. The next time you send an email or pick up the phone, your colleague will know exactly who they're interacting with.

  • Adopt a positive attitude

A new job means a new start, so why not get it off on the right foot with a positive mental attitude? If you have a can-do approach then you should find your day-to-day tasks that little bit easier, and it will reflect well among your peers.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help

Nobody is going to expect you to know everything on your first day, week or even month on the job, which is why you shouldn't hesitate to ask for help. People will be more than willing to lend a hand, plus they'll feel good about being asked for advice.

Written by   |   Tuesday, 03 March 2020 16:16

Establishing a positive first impression is crucial during an interview. From the moment eye contact is made with the interviewer, behavioural cues and body language are being either consciously or subconsciously assessed. 

Several psychological studies have researched and analysed the phenomenon of the first impression. The lessons that can be learned from these clinical studies can aid lawyers currently engaged in legal recruitment processes. Indeed, understanding the deeper cognitive and social implications of a first impression, particularly on the psyche of the potential employer, can help manage the interview better. 

 It only takes 100 milliseconds to make an impression

The July 2006 issue of the Psychological Science journal published an article by scholars from Princeton University. Analysing how much time it takes to make up one's mind after first sighting a face, these academics found that judgements made after a mere 100 millisecond exposure had a strong correlation to judgements made in the absence of time constraints.

This suggests that this was enough time for their participants to form an impression. Due to this, in many ways the very first few seconds set the tone for the rest of the interview. Arriving looking sharp, polished and presentable can help immensely. 

 Long-lasting impact

In 1983, the Social Psychology Quarterly published an article by University of California academic Philip E. Tetlock. Tetlock drew on previous research that indicated first impressions can regularly influence how humans interpret later information. He conducted an experiment to see if having to justify the rationale behind a first impression to other colleagues can reduce the undue influence of early-formed impressions on any final judgements. 

The results found that such accountability when making a first impression can in fact help. While this is promising, there is no guarantee that every interviewer will indeed discuss their perception of the candidate to fellow staff.  Therefore, establishing a positive first impression can not only increase chances of landing the job, it may also help future work in the law firm. This is because the ripple effect from that initial interview may allow people to positively review future behaviour. 

Written by   |   Tuesday, 25 February 2020 15:52

 What you MUST include on your CV!

  1. Personal Information: full name & contact details (mobile and personal email).

  2. Professional Qualifications: dates and places of admission to any relevant Bars/Courts and professional bodies (e.g: Law Societies, ACC, Institute of Chartered Accountants; Corporate Secretarial Association etc).

  3. Education: all degrees and diplomas obtained, where and when. High school information should also be included.

  4. Work History: all jobs should have a start and end date clearly listed by month and year, preferably in reverse chronological order. Any gaps/time off between jobs should be explained.

  5. Work Experience: listed under each job should be your title/role and the main experience gained, together with a transaction/deal list in bullet points. If there are lots of deals, try using an annexure to the CV.

  6. Language Capabilities: list of languages with level of fluency for both written and oral (ie. fluent, working, basic). 

  7. Personal Interests: include the things you love doing outside of the Law. 

  8. References: include at least two professional referees, people that you have reported to who are able to vouch for your skills and experience.
Written by   |   Wednesday, 19 February 2020 15:28

JLegal’s 5 Tips to creating a winning legal CV:

 Tip 1 – Make sure your CV clearly, concisely and accurately conveys your skills and experience.

 Quite simply, your resume is a summary of your abilities, education, experience, and skills. Its main task is to convince prospective employers to contact you. A CV has one purpose: to get your foot in the door so you can wow potential employers at the job interview.

 Tip 2 – Do not ‘grab interest’ by including pics, logos, graphs or timelines – these merely distract.  Only include relevant information.

 Employers look through mountains of applications and can typically spend only a few minutes reviewing a resume.  Your CV, therefore, must create a good first impression. In order to grab the interest of a potential employer and stand out from the rest of the applications, your CV must quickly convey that you are capable and competent enough to be worth interviewing.

 Tip 3 – Tailor your CV for each role – that extra time and detail will pay off!

 When preparing your CV for a certain role, it is important to ask yourself: What aspects of my education, experience, or skills will be most attractive to this employer?

Your CV should immediately highlight your relevant skills, knowledge and specific coursework, or areas of specialty that you feel would be of interest. A summary of your areas of experience and background is usually helpful to do this. Tailor your CV, as much as possible, to the role you are applying for.

 Tip 4 – Do not make your CV too long. Use bullet points to reduce long paragraphs.

 Do not write a long essay.  However, US-style one page CVs might be too short for most Commonwealth countries.  Ideally, your CV should not be more than 3-4 pages long. Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs of information.

 Tip 5 – Check that you have included all relevant dates in your CV.

 Check that all events are properly dated, especially your qualification dates and those of your current and previous employment. Do not forget to clearly state your place and date of admission.

Any gaps (when you took that sabbatical to try your hand at something else?) in the dates should be adequately explained.