Your New Year and New Legal Career

The new year brings about renewed feelings of hope, ambition and inspiration. We set new year’s resolutions to adjust our diet, exercise more, or dedicate more time to managing our mental health. For others, the new year is a time to reflect on our career.

In December, legal recruitment experts Simply Law Jobs ran a survey with over 200 legal professionals to find out whether they would be seeking new employment in 2020:

  • 89% said they will be looking for a new job in 2020
  • 91% said they will be searching for a new opportunity in January 2020
  • 63% of respondents told us they had already updated their CV, ready to start their search in January
  • The survey also asked legal professionals how happy they were in their role on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 representing they were very unhappy, 5 representing they were very happy) – 35% marked 1, very unhappy as their answer.

So what is it about the new year that sparks this desire for a new life; a new you? And what can you do about it if you’re ready to step into a new opportunity? Read Simply Law Jobs’ tips below on how to make 2020 your best year, and not just for your career.

Find time for you

Did you know that Britain reportedly has the worst work-life balance in western Europe? A study found that we as a country worked on average more than 50 hours a week, spending around 325 more hours at work a week than our German counterparts every year, for example.

In 2019, an insurance firm, Protectivity, ran a survey of 1,000 British workers to find out how stressed they were on a daily basis. The survey revealed that lawyers are the second most stressed professionals in the country, largely down to workload and time spent in the office (speaking figuratively).

For many of us, this is expected – but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. While working as a lawyer certainly keeps you busy and feeling like you’re ticking all the boxes, you could actually be sacrificing a good day’s worth of work if you don’t take time away. In fact, you’d be very surprised at how regular breaks and an evening without work could enhance your overall productivity.

You’d be very surprised at how regular breaks and an evening

without work could enhance your overall productivity.

Overworked employees often deal with chronic stress that can easily lead to job burnout. While this not only negatively affects employee health and well-being, it affects the bottom line too. If you want to be an efficient worker in 2020, take time for you and allow yourself the space from work that we all need for personal care, leisure or socialising.

Set SMART goals for your new career

If you are searching for a new legal opportunity in 2020, set goals for when you would ideally like to have secured this job by. By using the SMART principles, you can achieve your objective quicker than you think.

Specific: State what you want to do exactly, keeping in mind who, what, where and when

Measurable: If a goal can’t be measured, how will you know if you’ve achieved it?

Attainable: Your goal should be something that you have resources to complete

Realistic: A goal should always be something that is reasonable for you to attain

Trackable: Did you do it or not? Being able to track your actions can help keep you motivated if you are doing a good job, and get you back on track if you identify and adjust if you haven’t out the right steps in place

Setting goals surrounding when you’d ideally like to be in a new job can help you achieve this quicker, through setting smaller goals e.g. apply for X amount of jobs per week, track progress at the end of each week, reply to responses etc.

You can apply SMART goals to all of your new year’s resolutions too.

Invest in your future

Perhaps you’re not quite ready to go searching for new jobs just yet – but it doesn’t stop you from being able to develop your current skills, or learn new ones.

Identify courses that could help you towards your career goals. Sign up to one this year, and begin investing in your job. You’ll learn more, be ready to put your new skills to practice at work, and you’ll have a renewed sense of motivation to climb the career ladder. Participating in courses or training can also provide you the feeling of excitement in stepping out of your comfort zone or usual routine to try something new.

Identify what you want

Before you begin searching for a new legal career, ask yourself what you want, and what it is you’re not getting from your current job.

Are you looking for a better salary? Benefits? Do you feel like you’re not the right fit for your current workplace? Or are you simply on the path of career progression?

By identifying your needs before you start your search, you could save a lot of time applying for jobs that you don’t really want – which would be a waste of both your time and a recruiter’s.

By identifying your needs before you start your search, you could save a lot of time applying for jobs that you don’t really want.

Once you have an idea, this can help you on your job search, allowing you to filter out jobs that don’t interest you, and more importantly, those that do. Be picky – this is your career, and we bet an already established one at that. Ambitious? Don’t be afraid to go after what you want.

You’ll also find on some job sites, like Simply Law Jobs, that you can filter your personal needs for your legal career. For example, you might know which sector you want to work in, what benefits you like, or perhaps you’re looking for a role that accommodates flexible working so you can focus on the work:life balance you aspire to have? Filter these into your search to find roles suitable for you in your area.

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