Changing Industries: Advice For Legal Professionals In A Job Search

There is a multitude of job options for the attorney who no longer wishes to work in a law firm environment.

If you are considering an industry change, the following valuable tips will help you take action:

Make a Plan

First comes the soul-searching. What do you want to do?

Do you like research and dislike litigating? Are you drawn towards conflict resolution? Love rain-making and billable hours? (I was just seeing if you are paying attention!) In other words, what motivates you? Know yourself — write down your strengths and begin to crystallize your core competencies.

Have you evaluated your law-related career options? Did you know that many lawyers make very successful transitions into roles such as:

• Alternative dispute resolution specialist

• Association executive

• Human resources manager

• (Legal) executive recruiter

• Risk manager

• Bar association professional

• International trade and investment consultant

• Social legislation analyst

• Acquisitions/divestitures professional

• Economic development specialist.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Put the Plan into Action

Once you have your goals clear, develop a strategic plan to discover opportunities to move your dreams to reality.

Uncover the jobs both in advertised and unadvertised markets. The best jobs are not necessarily easily found, but the best career marketing approach that gives you the greatest marketing exposure is to use multiple strategies, simultaneously. For example, consider open positions (found on the Internet); somewhat hidden positions (recruiters/trade associations and networking); and unadvertised positions (identification of companies within your industry of choice that have indications of growth, which could expose a need for someone like you to fill).

There are many ways to do this. To do it well, the busy attorney often times needs help. But, if you choose to go it alone, here are some ideas to help you use your time wisely.

Respond to open jobs by having jobs come to you 24/7. Set up e-mail agents so the jobs come to your e-mail inbox through a job search engine. Resist the temptation to get lost on the Internet for hours, only to feel frustrated in the

Network with the right people. Activity is no substitute for progress. Most job searchers have heard the long-standing advice about the benefits of networking. There is an erroneous understanding that building contacts and networking with friends, family and associates reaps the greatest reward.

Make a positive first impression. Your resume and career marketing correspondence must be written to the target audience. Law resumes, CVs and business resumes have dramatically different elements. Here’s where a little consultation with a professional consultant might prove valuable, as he or she will likely know how to specifically-tailor your resume to showcase your best strengths, capabilities and transferable skills.

On a positive note, it may help you to know that most employers are always on the lookout for good people. They are appreciative of foresight and ingenuity. And most are willing to look in unconventional places (trade associations, referrals, etc.) before they “post an ad” for an open position.

With clear goals and a strategic plan, followed consistently, you will increase your chances of landing your dream job exponentially.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.