How To Tackle The Q4 Job Search
Q4 is here and that begs the question for many attorneys: should I stay or should I go? The answer (of course) is: it depends. Q4 is a popular time for many to consider a job change. The anticipation of the end of the year clearly draws attention to the need for change and the search for new professional goals. But quite often fear and self-doubt creep in – will a budget or hiring freeze affect me, or is it a strategic move to get off the ship now? What about layoffs that are rampant on LinkedIn?
I ask job seekers to complete a series of questions before embarking on a Q4 job search. One of those questions revolves around how the bonus structure works at the company or company and if they would leave money on the table if they exited before the end of the year. Keep in mind that many choose to wrap up the year-end with one company and instead go full throttle on their job hunt in the first quarter. As soon as mid-October arrives, the end of the year fatigue sets in and before you know it the holidays are here and with them the end of the year.
Before you start looking for a job, you should review your compensation structure, bonus plans, PTO/vacation time, and 401(k) vesting. It may be beneficial to update your career marketing documents (resume, resume, deal sheet and LinkedIn profile) and stick around until the end of the first quarter of the next fiscal year to secure that long-awaited and hefty bonus. It’s also a good reminder to take any accumulated PTO or to consider a withdrawal when submitting your cancellation.
This introspective approach allows you to analyze and assess your bargaining power when you decide to take a power step and leave your company or firm before the bonus payout. It also puts you in a better position to tell a senior recruiter that you are giving up X dollars by leaving the company or firm three months earlier than expected.
What can you do in the meantime to prepare for a Q4 job search? Here’s a helpful checklist to get you started:
- Conduct an in-depth review of your resume and LinkedIn. Make sure both are in optimal condition to engage with recruiters and your network. The next logical step will be to contact warm leads and increase networking activity. I have two helpful articles on updating your legal resume and quickly changing your LinkedIn profile in preparation for a job search. These are filled with various tips and strategies to keep you up to date with job hunting trends in the digital age.
- Be careful if you have irrelevant content on your resume or LinkedIn profile. Make sure dates and job titles match. Remove inaccurate or outdated information — for example, no one needs the intricate details of your associate role you had in 1992. It is sufficient to indicate the areas of activity and priorities.
- Invest in an upgrade to a high-resolution LinkedIn headshot. The Headshot Crew (founded by veteran headshot photographer Peter Hurley) offers a great database to search for a trained headshot photographer in your area. If you give extensive presentations, investing in a professional headshot pays off.
- Do a Google search for your name. See what’s out there about you – maybe a recent podcast interview, panel presentation, or media piece. Consider linking it to your featured section on your LinkedIn profile.
- Set your job search strategy. Make a list of the target companies or law firms you want to connect with, along with a list of the managing partners or targeted legal and business leaders you want to network with. Look for informational interviews – they are a powerful lever in a crowded and competitive job market. Remember, a successful job hunt requires you to be organized and prepared.
- Consider working with an executive or career coach who specializes in legal careers. More than 85% of my C-suite (legal and non-legal) clients have worked with or are currently working with an executive and/or leadership coach to prioritize their next career move. It can feel overwhelming to tackle that next general counsel job hunt, especially if you haven’t done so in a decade or more. An executive or career coach can help you detach, bring clarity out of the chaos, and help you process the emotions of a career move.
- Strategically grow your connections on LinkedIn. Set a goal of reaching a certain number of legal and business leaders weekly to increase your visibility on the platform. Consider investing in a LinkedIn Premium Membership to gain more insight into competitive job posting information and make targeted connections, e.g. B. by sending InMail messages. Remember that an effective network strategy is key.
At the end of the year, take stock of things you’ve learned and the contributions you’ve made to your legal department (or to the organization as a whole) and reflect on upcoming year-end performance reviews. There is no time like the fourth quarter to focus on creating goals and objectives for the new calendar year.
Do you have a job search or career-related question for me? Connect with me on LinkedIn.
Wendi Weiner is a lawyer, careers expert and founder of The Writing Guru, an award-winning executive resume writing company. Wendi creates powerful career and personal brands for attorneys, executives and C-suite/board executives for their job search and digital footprint. She also writes for major publications on alternative careers for lawyers, personal branding, LinkedIn storytelling, career strategy and the job search process. You can reach them by email at [email protected]connect with her LinkedInand follow her on Twitter @thewritingguru.