This is the first of a series of Future Interests blogs on how to scope out job opportunities in places that are not necessarily publicized, documented in a job ad or vacancy announcement, or otherwise made known directly to the legal community.
This important topic is especially timely right now, when real unemployment in America is 22 percent (the official 10.2% plus 7% who have given up looking for work plus 5% who are working part-time or only intermittently, but need and want full-time jobs), (see www.shadowstats.com) with no relief in sight yet. If any of you believe that The Great Recession (actually The Great Depression II) is over, I have some submerged land in Central Florida I would like to sell you.
Attorneys, however, have an array of creative options for finding out what might be out there for them hidden under the radar. That is what this series on hidden legal job opportunities is about.
What Constitutes the Hidden Legal Job Market?
Simply stated, the hidden legal job market consists of job opportunities that are:
(2) not advertised through conventional media,
(3) not readily known to job seekers, or
(4) positions outside of "mainstream" law, where a law degree or legal training is
an asset, but not always a requirement.
Hidden legal jobs are found everywhere, in law firms, corporations, nonprofits, and government; in the United States and abroad; and in big cities, suburbs, exurbs and rural areas.
Why Are Legal Job Opportunities Hidden?
Good question. You would think that, if a job opportunity exists, the employer would want to shout it out to the world. It seems self-defeating to keep it to oneself. However, not all hidden legal job opportunities are concealed intentionally. They may be purposely hidden by the employer, or they may be unintentionally hidden from the candidate because the latter lacks the knowledge of how to find them.
Reasons why an employer intentionally "hides" a legal job:
- The employer keeps recently received resumes on file, just in case a job opportunity arises.
- The employer turns to an online resume bank for candidates.
- The employer wants to test the waters of its own internal "network" first, i.e., asking current employees to recommend possible applicants, or by going outside the organization to ask trusted advisors, acquaintances, or professional colleagues if they could recommend suitable candidates.
Reasons why a legal job may be unintentionally hidden:
- The employer is expanding so fast that it has to play "catch up" when it comes to hiring and does not have time yet to advertise openings. This is true of many high-tech companies, consulting firms, and even some law firms in hot fields during good economic times, or which have reached their "tipping point."
- The employer promoted an existing employee and has not yet recruited a replacement for the newly vacant position.
- The position, although inevitable, has not yet "crystallized."
- The position is not an obvious, mainstream legal job.
We will examine all of these as we uncover the hidden legal job market in the next several Future Interests blogs.