Q: I have a great job, in a good location with good people. But I don’t want to discourage recruiters from thinking of me for special opportunities. What is the best way to do this?
A: Congratulations on having a job that you love … in a good location … with people you like. Jackpot. Jackpot. Jackpot.
But in today’s legal market, nothing lasts forever. And it makes good career sense to keep your finger on the pulse of the profession and to be open to exploring unique opportunities as they arise. An excellent recruiter can help you do both.
So how can you stay on a recruiter’s radar if it would take a needle in a haystack for you to leave your current job?
Like many aspects of cultivating a successful career, you need to be proactive. So I recommend that you reach out directly to a recruiter or two whom you highly regard. Request some time to talk to discuss the market as well as your career. And get a time locked on your schedule. In your conversation, your messaging to your recruiter should be straightforward about how much you enjoy your role, but also emphasize that you are open to hearing about unique opportunities. In addition, be clear about what “unique” means to you so your recruiter has more specific guidance.
“Thanks for taking the time to meet with me Julie. I wanted to re-connect to learn about what’s going on in the general counsel market and give you an update as to how things are going at Company X. I still love my job, but I know that it’s smart to keep an open mind when unique opportunities come up. For me, that would mean a GC position in a $1billion+ public media company with international reach. It would have to report to the CEO and offer operational responsibilities and the opportunity to manage a large legal team. I love it here in New York so the company would need to be local as well. I know it’s a tall order, but if you do bring in any such searches, I would be interested in hearing about them. So please keep me on your radar.”
After your conversation, follow up with a thank you and provide your recruiter with a current version of your resume. Recruiters review the relevant resumes of their existing candidates when new searches come in. So you want to make sure yours is fresh and up-to-date so it gets appropriate consideration.
If you don’t hear from your recruiter in a while, it does not necessarily mean you are not on his radar. It more likely means that nothing unique enough has come in that would interest you. But if you are feeling neglected, it’s OK to reach out to your recruiter to check in. Keeping this line of communication open will make you feel connected and attended to. It will also keep you fresh on your recruiter’s mind. With this said, be mindful of how often you check in. Being too aggressive will solidify your place in search purgatory.
Being in a job you love is a goal every professional strives for. And once you’ve reached the top, it’s important to savor what you’ve got. But it’s also important not to get too comfortable … because in today’s corporate world, the best of things don’t last forever. So stay out in front of your career: connect with a good recruiter, keep current and be open to moves that can take you to the top of your next mountain.
Julie Brush is the founder and author of The Lawyer Whisperer (www.thelawyerwhisperer.com), a career advice column for legal professionals, also found on LinkedIn. She is co-founder of Solutus Legal Search, a legal search/consulting boutique firm, serving as a strategic adviser to lawyers, law firms and corporations.