Walking the walk and talking the talk means building a long-term career strategy by presenting yourself professionally, even when you think it’s not important. A successful legal support professional has cultivated an image that supports the skills, experience, and knowledge he or she has worked so hard to attain.
As employers grow savvier in everything from non-verbal communication to Internet presence, it becomes increasingly important to present a consistent image throughout all facets of your professional life if you want to land a job with a coveted firm.
Before You Meet
What do employers see when they Google your name? Does your LinkedIn profile appropriately reflect your skills and experience? Compare it to your resume to ensure you haven’t left out crucial details. Is your Facebook page cleaned up or locked down? Examine your privacy settings to be sure. Are you using a work-appropriate email? Create a new one for your job search if your current email address is “cutesy” or inappropriate.
At the interview
While we’ve always been told that you can’t judge a book by its cover, the reality is that professional appearance matters. Since first impressions are based on as little as thirty seconds’ interaction, using your clothing to send the message that you are a professional who wishes to be taken seriously opens up a powerful avenue of communication in your favor.
In addition to taking care with how you dress, consider how you move and act. Do you sit upright in the interview or slouch in your chair? Do you make eye contact with the interviewer and nod or comment at appropriate intervals, or do you stare off into space or fidget? Is your handshake firm and confident, or weak and listless? Non-verbal communication plays an integral role in your professional appearance. Make sure your body language sends the same message as your professional attire.
Now that you have demonstrated online and in the interview that you want to be taken seriously, this is no time to drop the ball. If the position appears to be a good fit, express your interest at the end of the conversation and find out the next step.
Always send a thank you note to each person you interviewed with. Emails are quicker, but handwritten notes are more personal. Choose which method to use based on your judgment of the company culture and the personality of the hiring manager. A well-crafted thank you note offers you one last chance to demonstrate your professionalism and interest and reinforce the impression that you would be a great addition to their firm.
At Kent Legal, our experienced legal recruiters place legal support staff throughout the greater Toronto area. To learn more, contact us today!