The Mentorist

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Play Chess, Not Candy Land: Managing Your Career

I meet a lot of people through networking. Many of them want jobs they don’t have a prayer of getting. The sad thing? They don’t know that.

What all of these people have in common is that they’ve never looked beyond their next job and planned their careers. All along, they should have been playing career chess – where positions and moves are considered with a view to the endgame. Instead, they’ve been hopping around a Candy Land board: no strategy, no control, but hoping for luck.

Let’s look at the world of law, for a moment. If you work in a law firm, the “top dog” position is equity partner. In a corporation, it’s general counsel.

If you think you’d like to attain either of these positions, you had better quickly learn what skills are needed, devise a strategy for developing them, then – with careful timing — move into positions that offer the best shot at reaching your “goal” job.

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From the Client’s Chair: Why Your Firm’s Marketing Pitch Didn’t Work – Reason #1

In my career as a general counsel, I’ve been asked to put together many, many panel discussions on more or less the same topic. I’ll call it:  How Law Firms “Blow It” When Marketing to the General Counsel.

I suppose these speaking requests mean I’ve developed a reputation as a crank. So be it. When it comes to law firms trying to get business from my fellow GCs and me, the mistakes we’ve seen are glaring. The good news? Many are easy to fix.

In this series of blog posts, “From the Client’s Chair,” I’ll discuss some of the mistakes firms make when trying to win a client’s business.

The overarching theme of this series– that is, the thing that all of these mistakes have in common – is this: Law firms need to realize that a marketing pitch is not about them; rather, it’s about the client.

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Résumés and Radio Silence

Two résumés land on the Hiring Director’s desk. Both list Ivy League degrees and the required “big firm” experience. Yet only one makes it to the callback pile. Why?

The differences make all the difference.

To increase your résumé’s callback odds, try following these guidelines:

1. Write a killer cover letter

The right cover letter can determine whether your résumé gets a mere scan or a careful review. [See “How to Catch a Fish in 30 Seconds” for tips on writing cover letters that get you noticed.]

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