All the greatest cover letter and CV templates in the world aren’t worth a thing if you can’t find any good positions to apply for! But in a world where we’re bombarded by emails from LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and other sites, how do you cut through the noise and set up a job search that’s laser-focused on positions for which you’re qualified? Here are a few tips that have worked for us in the past:
Start your job search at Goinhouse.com. This is a great, free resource (for job seekers) with high-quality job postings (the site charges employers to post). You can get an email alert sent to you every morning. I find the job postings here to run the gamut from entry level positions with smaller companies to general counsel roles at mid-sized companies to corporate counsel positions at large tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and others. You can narrow your search by city and practice area and you can run multiple searches, which allows you to cast a pretty wide – but also pretty specific – net. If you do nothing else, this is the resource where I would focus my efforts.
Set up a job alert on LinkedIn. Perhaps this is super obvious, but if you haven’t done it already, I think you might be surprised at the volume and quality of the in-house counsel positions that are posted on LinkedIn. You should use the “job search” function to let recruiters know you’re interested in hearing about new opportunities, and you should set up multiple searches for your preferred position. Use terms like “real estate counsel” or “litigation counsel” or “corporate counsel.” In my experience I’ve found that using very broad and very specific search terms yields the best results – sometimes it can be hard to guess what the keywords will be that a recruiter uses to write a job description.
Set up more than one keyword search on Indeed. Download and install the Indeed app and set up as many relevant keyword searches as you think prudent. You can use the same keywords as your LinkedIn search and run as many searches as you like at one time. This is definitely more of an art than science; some searches will capture non-legal jobs, but the bigger net you cast, the more likely it is you’ll see the full universe of job openings. Just make sure you are using quotes to capture specific keyword phrases (like “litigation counsel,” etc.).
Look directly on the “careers” page of a large employer’s website. The Amazons, Googles, Facebooks, Prudentials, and other big companies with large legal departments will list open positions directly on their websites and many of them will allow you to set up a job alert when new postings are listed. The trick here is to make sure you are setting up the alert as broadly as possible – sometimes the legal positions aren’t posted under the category you might think.
A few other thoughts:
Avoid serial job postings like the plague! One of the interesting things you’ll start to notice is that the same jobs will be posted repeatedly. This is a huge red flag. Either the company is a terrible place to work or the hiring manager can’t make up his or her mind about any candidates. I would stay far, far away from these postings.
Try and get to someone you know on the inside of the company. This can be a third-degree LinkedIn connection or a friend of a friend from a networking group. It’s always so much better for your cover letter and CV to be coming from a warm contact than through the “talent acquisition” portal where it might get lost. The key is not to be shy about reaching out through you contacts. Most people are generally open to it.
You should keep running your job searches even if you have an in-house counsel job that you love. As I’ve mentioned before here at Dollar Barrister, I really enjoy my job right now. But I continue to keep tabs on what our competition is doing in terms of hiring attorneys and business people with my level of expertise. Particularly if you work for a public company, you have no idea what the next quarter or fiscal year will hold. It’s always good to keep your eyes out, to stay in touch with your old colleagues, and maintain a list of “Plan Bs” in case things at your current employer go sideways (and they can, in a hurry).
Some other helpful job-search resources available here at Dollar Barrister:
- Our ultimate in-house counsel CV template.
- Our ultimate in-house counsel cover letter template.
- Bundled ultimate in-house counsel cover letter and CV templates (includes both templates together).
Happy in-house counsel job-hunting and, as always, good luck!