Friday, July 31, 2009

Not Enough Experience…. How to Gain Experience....

Not Enough Experience….
It is the classic dilemma for any career changer. Employers want job experience, but have never worked in the capacity they are hiring for. What is a job seeker to do? Offer these options the next time a prospective employer says “you don’t have enough experience”.

  1. Offer to work on a contract basis (you would fill out an I-9 form and pay taxes)

  2. Offer to work on a part time basis (you gain experience and can see if this opportunity is a good fit” for you and the employer)

  3. Offer to work full time (you gain experience, are compensated, and receive benefits)

  4. Volunteer for a local non-profit agency, court house, law office, or corporate legal department

Now you have 4 new ways to gain experience to get your “foot in the door”!!!

Thank you for taking time to read this blog posting. Feel free to try these tips and post your success or questions below!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Getting Your Foot in the Door - Let’s Do Lunch!!!

Often, it is hard to break into a new field if you are unfamiliar with the “players” so to speak. Interviews are often intimidating to budding paralegals because of the lack of familiarity with the interviewer and the industry. However, by being proactive in your job search, you will increase your chances of securing employment. Start by being aggressive in learning about the problems your potential hiring managers’ face – offer to take them to lunch!!!

Step One
Pick 3 companies and/or law firms that you want to work for quite badly

Step Two
Call each company to learn the name of the hiring partner/senior paralegal

Step Three
Purchase a small set of plastic forks and knives from your local store along with medium sized envelopes and postage stamps.

Step Four
Using Microsoft Word, select “File”, “Page Setup”, and select “Landscape” to turn the document horizontally. Centering your font, type “LET’S GO TO LUNCH” in big letters, following with an explanation that you would like to learn more about the industry and would like a chance to “pick their brain” over a good meal (include your contact information).

Step Five
Tape a fork and knife on either side of the paper, stuff it in an envelope with the address of your targeted hiring manager.

Don’t forget to follow up one week after sending your mailer for feedback and lunch dates. During the lunch date, do not ask for a job, but gather information about the industry, its challenges, and recommendations on how to gain experience
Thank you for reading this blog post and feel free to try this information and give your feedback!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Relationship between Job Search Success and Fear…

Regardless of your natural state of mind: From self confident to self doubtful, your fears can undermine your job search. Listed below are the proverbial “confidence traps” waiting to undermine your job search success. Regardless of your confidence meter, I’m certain you will recognize one of the items listed below.

  • Every decision made is made only after learning the thoughts and opinions of others. It is fine to take everyone’s opinion into account, but not following your own opinion can be costly.

  • Listening to the internal and external naysayer

  • Assuming that if you don't get the job, the hiring manager didn't like you

  • Blaming your lack of job search success on any of the following: You are not talkative enough, outgoing enough, friendly enough, smart enough, old enough, young enough, educated enough, or attractive enough.

  • Avoid implementing new job search ideas because the ones in the past may not have worked

  • Constantly beating yourself over the head as you recount all your “goof-ups” each day. The only crime in job searching is not learning from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them.

Well meaning friends will tell you that your job search is failing because of lack of experience and to a certain extent they are right. However, I assert that lack of experience or shall I say not showing the hiring manager that you have enough experience can be traced, in part, to a lack of confidence. As a motivator and a career advisor I see first hand the affect that confidence has on an individual's success. By and large confidence grows from each small success that an individual takes towards reaching a goal. That is why I ask you to focus on one goal at a time with your resume creation! Once you showcase the accomplishments that relate to the duties of a paralegal on your resume, your biggest goal is accomplished. When you know where you're going, you're going to gather the tools and information you need to reach your destination.

Now it is Your Turn - Prepare to overcome your fear

  • Make a list of your personal confidence killers. Be as honest as possible.

  • Now make a list of ways that preparation can help you overcome your confidence killer.

  • Take the steps you outlined in section 2 above and write out solutions to your confidence killers.

Your Mindset..

  1. Think of someone you know that is positive and self confident. Write down the characteristics this person displays that give you the reason for your impression. Make a mental “note” to mirror that person’s actions daily. This way, it will come off “naturally” in the interview.

  2. Everyone needs someone to keep the momentum going. Join your local paralegal organization/professional membership organization, attend the meetings, and listen. Soon you will find someone that you admire. Tell the person that you admire and respect them and ask if he/she would mind if you kept in contact to “compare notes” on your findings in the industry. Viola!! You just found yourself a mentor. Everyone needs one!!

  3. This part will be hard at first, but release the 'naysayers' from your circle of friends and contacts. If it is a family member (you can’t disown them) that is a source of the negativity, just change the subject every time your family member starts to speak negatively. Thank them for sharing their opinion, and change the subject.

  4. Become self-aware of your own thoughts. If you find yourself putting yourself down, STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!! You do have something to offer employers. Your knowledge if valuable – you are valuable!!!

  5. Look the part. All actors prepare for their role by studying the person they wish to play. They study the way they speak, the way they dress, and even where they eat!!! Mastering and emulating these things doesn’t make you into a fake, it is just sound business advice and putting your best foot forward.

  6. Give yourself a “high five” (looks great when done facing a mirror). Complement yourself every time you master a success. “High five” yourself every time you meet a goal, no matter how small. This makes your confidence makeover more fun and lifts your spirits. This brings you closer to success.

Thank you for taking time to read this posting. Feel free to post questions or comments below!

Friday, July 10, 2009

5 Keys To Making Your Job Search Feel and Look Easy

Over the years, I've been lucky to be around a number of super-achievers and one thing that I have learned is that the way these people think is entirely different than 95% of the population. This ability to think differently is also one of the reasons why there are so few successful multimillionaires in this world.

Sometimes, changing the way you think and act will dramatically impact your job search results. Hanging around successful people is only one of the keys. If your goal is to achieve peak results in your job search, these five keys will help you get there:

Environmental Control: We are the company we keep and are the products of our environment, what we think about and surround ourselves with really matters. Select what you read carefully. It will fill your conscious and subconscious mind with a mental “tape” that constantly plays in your head. If you put negative things in by listening to people saying “you can’t do that” or “I don’t know anyone that is a paralegal” or “you are wasting your time in school”, then your mind will play that negative “tape” at the most in opportune time and you will loose momentum. This usually will happen when you are in the middle of an interview that is going successfully.

Work Ethic: Ever watch ice skating? Ever go bowling? Remember bike riding for the first time? Remember driving for the first time? All of these things have something in common, the person you saw doing these tasks made it look really easy. Remember how hard it was when you tried? If a person makes something look really easy, you can bet there was a great deal of work behind that person's performance.

Immerse Yourself In Your Job, Become The Expert in Your Job Role: Make it look EASY. Immerse yourself in your job search. USE the advice that I offer to you. Revise your resume to reflect what is in the job description and show with each line in your resume why you can do it better. Send it out. Send it out again. Follow up on the people you sent your resume to. Ask for 3 referrals. Ask for 3 more. Conduct informational interviews to learn about the company and the industry you want to work for. Ask for 3 referrals. Join your local paralegal association. Attend the meetings. Ask for referrals.

Put In An 8 Hour Day If You Are Not Working: Put in a 10 – 12 hour day if you are working. Give 8 hours on the main job and an additional 2 -3 hours to your search and your career. Others will think you found a job really fast because they are on the outside looking in. You will make the job search look really easy due to your success. But only you know that your success took dedication and perseverance.

Don’t Use The World "Work" to Describe What You Are Doing: All it does is feed into the mainstream idea of instant gratification and doesn’t inspire peak performance. Turn on the TV. or pick up a newspaper and there are countless ads promoting get rich quick or loose weight in a week – the results are “instant” this and “easy” that. The word “work” is a dirty word in mainstream media and society. However, working hard for something forces you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and grow. In the end you build a better quality of life.

Adopt these principals of success and combine it with positive thinking. You will see results in life, your job search and others will think you have it so EASY!!!

Thank you for taking time to read this post. Feel free to ask questions or leave feedback below!