Tips to create a career plan in law

Law is an area that covers many specialties. It also requires many steps up the ladder when you finally finish your Law Degree. So, after you have burnt the candle at both ends, spent hours studying and getting some work experience, you should have a good understanding of what working in law entails.

But have you thought about what your Career Plan looks like? Think of your Career Plan just like a business strategy. You need to look at where you are now, where you’d like to end up in 30 years and then work out how you are going to get there. It will increase your odds of a happy & fulfilling career.

You need to ask yourself the following questions as a starting point. Then the next step is the actual career plan.

What type of law are you interest in?

Criminal law? Family Law? Corporate Law? The list goes on ….. Each specialty requires different knowledge and skillsets and some are more competitive than others. You can also think about what niche you might like to work in. EG: As a family lawyer you might like to specialise in mediation or helping children through divorce.

What are your career goals?

You should have a vision or end goal in mind for your law career. What specific goals do you have?

  • Work in Fortune 500 company?
  • Become a judge or Barrister?
  • Travel the world using your degree?
  • Help social cases or the less fortunate?

Defining your career goals will help you work out the steps you need to take to get the experience to take you to the next level.

What type of firms should you be applying to?

Depending on the type of law you want to practice and your end goals, you will need to consider what type of firm you want to work with. Large? Boutique? Specialist? Family-Friendly? Flexible?

Every firm has its own unique culture & values so do some research and find out more from the people working there. Then you can create a list of the firms that might be a good fit for you.

What are you passionate about?

Has there been a personal experience that has impacted your life and made you want to be a lawyer?

Is there a particular area of law that you are really passionate about and love? Understanding what drives you, can help you to work out what area of law is right for you.

Are you planning on having children?

If you plan to have children, you need to factor time out of your career into the overall plan. Taking a 1-5 year break to raise a child will impact your career trajectory so you need to be OK with that and consider what impact this will have on your career.

How will technology impact?

We are already seeing disrupters and technology impacting the types of new firms being set up. Innovation will continue to move at warp speed so consider what impact it might have in the future. Will it mean more contract roles in law? More remote work? More passive work? There is no doubt that technology will impact the jobs & opportunities available.

What if I need to change course?

There is no guarantee that you will love working in law. You might get burnt out,  lose the passion or find another area you want to transition into. Is there a complimentary area or industry that would suit the skills you have built? Think about what these types of roles might be and be open to such opportunities when the time comes.

If we skipped ahead, where would you like to see yourself in 20-30 years’ time?

If you think about the end of your career, where do you see yourself? Do you want to be working in law in 20-30 years? What does your life look like? Are you working full time or part-time? It can help your plan if you skip forward then work back from that.

In what skills do you excel?

Do a skills audit. Be honest with the skills you are good at and what you might need to work on. This will also help to determine what sort of additional training or work experience you will need to take on over the coming years


Your career is something that you have invested a lot of time, money, blood, sweat & tears in. Don’t take an ad hoc approach to it and consider that some moves will be up the ladder and some sideways (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Spend time creating a Law Career Plan. Not only will you feel prepared for what’s ahead, but it will also help you make the right career steps.

If you need help, please reach out and we can help you map out your PERSONAL career plan.

[email protected]


5 ways to be a leader in the finance industry

The Australian finance industry is worth an estimated $839 billion to the economy. In 2018, there were over 800,000 people employed in Financial Services roles, accounting for over 6% of employment across the Australian economy

If you love working with numbers in Australia, then you have a lot of competition. If you want to be a leader you need to stand out and here are 5 ways to help you do that.

  1. Write a blog

Writing a blog that shares your unique voice or vision is a great way to showcase your skills and expertise to potential employers. It shows you are proactive and knowledgeable and enables you to share your unique voice.

Whilst we understand that not everyone enjoys or is good at writing, you can get help to produce a quality blog. If that sounds like you then you can provide some key points and get a VA or blog writer to help you with writing the final version.

Here is some inspiration for the 10 top finance blogs in Australia to get you thinking

  1. Be visible

As a finance professional, if you want to be seen as a leader, you need to be in the spotlight. To do this you need regular visibility. Put simply, you want eyeballs on you! People that notice what you are doing, what you are about, your expertise and what you excel at. The more people who know your name and see you as an expert at what you do, the more you will be seen as a leader. Perception is everything!

If you are active on LinkedIn and relevant social channels, you are more visible. This includes sharing your own content, commenting on industry news or trends, contributing to conversations in groups and those occurring online and actively sharing your voice to help others.  

  1. Mentor new starters in the industry

Remember what is was like starting out in your career? It can be a little scary at times and often you didn’t know which road to take when it came to career opportunities.

As a career professional you can help others that are just starting out and pass on the knowledge you have that can help pave the way for a younger generation. Start by finding a mentor program in your business circle, suggesting your company starts one of its own or look for industry mentor programs that might be available.

There is a lot of personal satisfaction in mentoring and helping others. You might even find a potential new employee.

Here is one by CPA   

  1. Complete Financial courses & workshops for continued learning

Rules & regulations are often changing so staying up to date and learning new skills is essential and it will put you at the top of the list for potential career opportunities. Employers look for people who are proactive, want to learn and are not afraid of new challenges.

Short courses, workshops, reading blogs, attending industry conferences and events and formal education allow you to stay relevant.

We have so much access to information in our digital age that learning should be simple. Reading a new blog or industry article a day, puts you well above your competition.

                5. Get connected

Business and career are often about relationships and being connected. The old adage of it’s not what you know but who you know rings true.

It is estimated that approx. 70% of jobs still don’t get advertised as they filled before they need to advertise the role. It’s always better to be head-hunted than having to compete for a role along with 100 other people.

Spending time regularly connecting and building relationships online and offline means you expand your network, build your profile and are better connected in general.  Also, consider connecting with well-known recruiters and headhunters and build a relationship with them. Our team here at AFL Recruitment are privy to roles that have never been promoted so if you are connected to us, then you have a much stronger chance of landing that dream job because we know you.

Leadership requires you putting yourself out there, meeting new people, being visible and not being afraid of being in the spotlight. You can put your own unique style and personality to how you present yourself and consider doing 1 small thing each day to make your standout.

If you would like help to stand out, improve your profile or just to talk about potential opportunities, you’re welcome to contact me for a confidential discussion.

[email protected]

Why you shouldn’t make New Year’s Resolutions

It is that time of the year again. As one year winds down and we contemplate what we achieved and didn’t achieve this self-reflection can prepare us for the year ahead.

So now is the time to consider what you want to achieve in the next 12 months. I am not talking about making some New Year’s Resolutions on the 31st December, which you have usually broken by the end of January. We know New Year’s Resolutions do not work! The stats prove this.

Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their New Year’s Resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.

So, before you make an unrealistic resolution and become yet another statistic, think of putting smart goals in place instead.

What do I mean by SMART goals? Smart goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Let’s dive a bit deeper.

Specific – get clear on the goal and be as detailed as possible. Saying you want to lose weight means nothing. Be specific! You want to lose 10kg and fit into your wedding dress by June 2020 is a specific goal.

Measurable – Make sure you can measure the result. In this example you can measure success by how many kilos you lose each month, allowing you to track your progress.

Attainable – part of being attainable is understanding your limits and knowing if the goal will work in your lifestyle. If you travel a lot and you know you eat poorly when travelling, you will need to adjust your habits accordingly.  Attainability comes with changing your habits.

Realistic – not being realistic is just setting yourself up for failure. If you say you wanted to lose 50kg in 6 months, then it’s unlikely. However breaking it into smaller more realistic goals helps to keep you motivated and achieve desired results over time.

Timely – is that timeframe suitable? I like to set weekly, monthly and quarterly goals and milestones to help me track my progress. Sometimes the big end goal can be a little overwhelming and make it hard to start. By following SMART goals instead of a spur of the moment New Year’s Resolutions you are setting yourself up for SUCCESS.

We think this is a better way to help you stay on track with your goals and actually see some positive results. Try these actions instead and see the difference it makes in your results.

Let us know how you go.

Ways to stand out with limited experience

Have you found a role you want to apply for but worried you don’t have the necessary experience? You might cringe when you read the words “what experience or qualifications do you have for this role?”

Don’t despair you can still stand out and sell yourself and your ability, even with limited experience. Here are some tips to help you.

Embrace your inexperience – Don’t make out you have qualifications or experience that you both know you don’t. Instead embrace your inexperience and leverage that as motivation to learn. Share an experience you had where you didn’t have the qualifications to do something, but you did anyway, and show that it had a positive outcome.

Do your research on the company – Employers want people who have made some effort to get to know their company and what it is about. There is a plethora of information available online so there are no excuses to not do some Google searches to find out about the company and its leaders.

Show how keen & motivated you are – Enthusiasm is underestimated. I have interviewed people simply because they showed they were super keen, highly motivated to succeed and had a great attitude.

Tell them you are willing to get the experience or upskill as needed – Willingness to learn shows you are fine to move out of your comfort zone and grow as a person.

Share any volunteer work you do – If you do any volunteering work then share it. This says a lot about a person’s character and willingness to be part of a community.

Emphasise your soft skills – You might not have any formal qualifications, but you have personal skills that are relevant. Things like time management, listening, creative thinking, networking, team player, organisation skills are all valuable skills so share them.

Share stories and circumstances where you achieved something similar – You might not have direct experience for the role, but you will have life experience that you can apply. Think of a couple of circumstances where you have been challenged, how you solved them and what the outcomes are. This shows you are able to think and assess situations which is a valuable skill.

Connect with recruiters or employers on LinkedIn with a personalised message – make a good impression – Do not send the default connection message. Craft a short message sharing why you want to connect that is positive and gives them a reason to want to connect with you

Find a way to connect your passions and life experiences with the company – It might not be directly related but if you can find a link or something that will translate it can impress the hiring manager.

Keep it professional, and keep it honest, focus on the positive skills you have, fill your resume with real, valuable experience, have integrity and you might be surprised how much you stand out.

What impression does your LinkedIn profile make on potential employers?

Your LinkedIn profile is your first impression on potential employers, clients, partners, and recruiters. Think of it as a mini-website for your personal brand. It is usually the first place a recruiter will go when they are deciding to add you to a shortlist.

As much as you might not like to believe it, you are being judged by what your LinkedIn profile says about you. Your digital reputation matters and it is now more important than a CV.

Is your profile Google & future boss friendly? What impression does it make?

Be subjective and honest with yourself here. If you find it hard to review your own profile then ask a co-worker or friend to look at it and provide feedback.

If you are applying for a role, then the employer or recruiter probably has a tonne of applications to go through. So, making their job easier for them is certainly going to help you move up the list. This includes making your LinkedIn profile user-friendly.

How do you make it more attractive for recruiters and employers? Here are some tips to fast track your profile.

  • Make your headline descriptive- it should not be your job title but how you solve a problem/help clients or benefit the people you work for.
  • Include a summary – you have 2000 characters and your summary should be about your overall career experience. This provides a snapshot of your experience and the outcomes you have achieved in your career.
  • Match your career chronology to your resume – Your LinkedIn profile should match your CV. You don’t want gaps that will be questioned.
  • Describe your work – don’t just list a bunch of tasks you do. Describe how your work impacts positively on the company and its clients. Share the type of projects you excel at or really enjoy.
  • Maximise your profile – Your LinkedIn profile allows you to put a lot of information including projects you have worked on, articles you have published, volunteer work, memberships, skills, recommendations and more. Use it to your advantage.
  • Personalize your LinkedIn URL – you can customise your URL with your name so take time to personalise it and make it easy for people to find you.
  • Include your contact information – seems basic I know but something that often gets forgotten. Include your current email (not an old Gmail address you never access) and mobile number at a minimum.

Also, remember that your digital brand assets should reflect your personality. It is OK to have some fun in business. Show people who you are on your digital channels. People want to see an insight into who you are as a person, not just an employee.

Now you have no excuses for making a negative first impression.

Now get clicking!!

Is the grass greener?

Is the grass greener? Or are you just stuck in a career rut?

When things are cruising along seamlessly or not filled with drama, as people, we start to think maybe I am in a rut? Are things supposed to come so easily? Does this mean I am missing out on something?

We might be envious of what a fellow co-worker has done in moving into a fabulous new role that seems perfect. In this digital world, we have a sneak-peak into other people’s lives so we might think they have the perfect life or situation but that is not necessarily the case.

We are also trained to continuously want more and to strive for bigger and better. Bigger house, newer car, better job – which then leads to wanting more because we think that is what we need. We believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence however we can’t really see that grass, we are simply making an assumption it is better.

That is what FOMO is all about – that fear of missing out on something we think we should have. This also applies to our careers.

If you are not sure if you are just in a career rut, try asking yourselves these questions:

  • Has something happened recently to trigger these feelings in you?
  • Has a co-worker left to go to a better role (or what you perceive to be better)
  • Are you generally happy in your job?
  • Do you love the company you work for and still enjoy the work you do?
  • Do you feel fulfilled by the work you do?

If you answer yes to most of these perhaps you are just feeling envious of someone else and what they have, rather than you not enjoying your role.

If you feel like you are in a career rut, try these exercises:

  1. Get inspired –Think about who you look up to professionally. This could be someone that you know or someone that is a thought leader. This will be different for everyone. What is it about them that inspires you? If it is someone you know, spend time with them and allow yourself to get inspired.
  2. Meet new people – Learning and growing from people outside your normal day to day world is a great way to positively impact your career. Broadening your scope and connections with people from outside your normal circle opens up new learning opportunities.
  3. Find a mentor – A mentor can be a great person to look up to and help you along your career path. They can provide advice, direction and inspiration to keep moving forward in your career.
  4. Join a mastermind group – Benefit from the collective intelligence of others by joining a mastermind or peer to peer group, where you learn from each other and navigate through business challenges together. Ensure you find one that suits your situation and the level of conversations you need to have.
  5. Hire a coach – If you still don’t feel inspired, perhaps it’s time for a complete career change. A coach can help you successfully navigates the process. (Just make sure you do your research and hire the right one!).

Remember, you are in control of how you feel about your career. Feeling like you’re in a rut can negatively impact your mood and your life outside of the office. It’s important to adjust your mindset and take control.

How to resign in style

You’ve come to the decision that it is time to move on. Now what?

How do you tell your boss that you are leaving? It is never a fun conversation to have, no matter how good your relationship is with them. What you don’t want to do is text your boss your resignation on Friday afternoon, after having too many drinks. (it’s been done many times before).

Instead, you want to approach it as you would a task in your role – professionally and respectfully. Here are some helpful hints to ease the stress and anxiety and help you make the transition in a positive way:

  • Ideally, you should have a conversation in person. Sounds straight forward but you would be surprised by how many don’t have the respect to do this.
  • Email your boss in advance to set up a time to talk.
  • Be a bit vague in that initial email simply requesting a time to discuss a current matter.
  • Meet in a quiet space where you won’t get interrupted. You could even suggest you go and have a coffee in a local café.
  • Don’t walk in with an envelope in your hand. If you do have a resignation letter, put it in your bag or compendium. The envelope will trigger big alarms bells with your boss and could steer the conversation away from what you wanted it to be.
  • In the meeting, start with your agenda item then steer the conversation towards your future with the company.
  • Start out by thanking them for the training they have given you, the opportunity to work with great people, and anything else you’re grateful for.
  • Then say you’ve found a perfect fit for where you are in your career, and as much as you’ve enjoyed working with them, you’re moving on.
  • Give credit to specific members of your team you’ve enjoyed working with including your boss.
  • Reassure your boss that it is not personal and that your decision is about your needs in your career (even if your boss is the reason why you’re leaving).

The key thing to remember is not to burn your bridges. Especially if your new position is in the same industry or city. Your new boss might even know your old boss which could be awkward. Resign in style and at the very least you will feel good about yourself knowing you took the high road and did the right thing.

How to minimise the impact of a job move

There are some things in life that are very stressful and changing jobs is near the top of that list.  Quite often we move from optimism to stress as we pass the initial excitement of winning the role, to the reality of when it comes time to moving on.

Failing to recognise and manage your own stress levels around this can impact you so take note of how you are feeling and remember that a bit of emotional fortitude is required at this time.

Here are some tips to help make the transition smoother:

  1. Leave well – Leave on good terms with your boss and co-workers. When you tell people, you are leaving some might get upset, jealous and downright rude so be prepared for the fact that not everyone might be happy for you.Despite that, make sure you do the work required in your notice period, don’t slack off, don’t gossip about co-workers, don’t have a bad attitude and stay positive with clients. Take the high road and don’t burn bridges as you never know when that co-worker or old boss may turn up in the future. You want them to remember you fondly as a good employee that they would hire again.
  1. Don’t forget to remove your personal possessions – Tidy up your workspace, remove personal items and clean your desk. (you know cleaners never do that properly). Make your space inviting so it provides a fresh start for the person coming in behind you. You don’t want the new person to find a bunch of your photos or personal items awaiting them.
  2. Celebrate your time with your current team – Celebrating your achievements is important, especially if you have been in a role for a few years. Having some leaving drinks or lunch is a nice way for the company to say thank you for your service with them and provides an opportunity for you to thank them and your co-workers for some good memories. Think of it as closing one door before opening a new one. 
  3. Connect with people in your new company before you start – You can ask to be introduced to a couple of key people before you start. Another way is to look them up on LinkedIn and connect with them by letting them know you are starting work there in X number of days. It is an easy way to start a conversation and build some initial relationships before Day 1.
  1. Make the most of your fresh start – When you start in your new job, you will probably be feeling out of place and uncomfortable as you probably don’t know anyone. This could be a great time to introduce some new habits into your day. Bringing your lunch to work and mingling with new co-workers in the lunch room is a good way to get to know people quickly. Embrace new tools or technology that you might not have previously used. Take notice of how others work, what systems or processes are in place and how you use these to work smarter.
  2. Leave positive notes – Leaving a nice note for the new starter on the desk and perhaps even consider writing some personal notes to your boss and closest co-workers is a kind gesture. This personal touch will leave you in a very positive light when you are gone.

Having a positive mindset and recognizing how you are feeling throughout the process, should be embraced.  While often stressful, a job change navigated well can be an amazing personal and professional launchpad, especially when you leave on good terms.

Staying emotionally fit when looking for a new job

There is no doubt that searching for a new role can be emotionally draining. Everyone tells you to stay positive but, in reality, that can be really hard to do, especially when you are in a hurry to move roles or find a new role after being made redundant. It is a roller coaster as you move from a positive interview to rejection, which can repeat itself many times over.

So how do you stay emotionally fit when you just want to eat your weight in chocolate and wash it down with a bottle of wine?

Acknowledge your feelings

Firstly, it helps to acknowledge how you are feeling in a situation. Are you overwhelmed, sad, fearful, optimistic, hopeful? Regardless of if the emotion is positive or negative, feel it and acknowledge it because what you are feeling is OK and normal.

Remember you have full control over your emotions and the actions that stem from those emotions. Imagine this scenario: you wake up feeling like you haven’t had enough sleep, you stub your toe on the end of the bed, you discover you’ve run out of bread and milk so that means no breakfast for you. Your favourite shirt is unironed when means adding more time that you don’t have to iron it (and now you’ll probably be late for work). You finally get out the door after spilling coffee on your pants whilst struggling to get the door open with all your bags. You get stuck in traffic about 5 minutes into your trip then struggle to find a car park when you do finally get to work.

Chances are you’d be feeling pretty crappy and in turn be in a bad mood which will impact the rest of your day and everyone’s around you.

Or you can decide that your negative start can be turned around and all the bad stuff is behind you. You slap a smile on your face and decide to be happy and forget the last 1-2 hours. Option 2 sounds much better, doesn’t it?

The same applies to how you feel about your job search. Once you have acknowledged how you feel, put a smile on your face, pump up some positive music and get into a much nicer mental state.

Look at your diet

Your health and fitness plays a role in your emotions. You probably feel like eating potato chips, guzzling soft drinks (or alcohol) and sleeping all day. But the opposite is what is required in this circumstance. Getting 8 hours sleep a night and eating a nutritious diet can make you feel happier as you are giving your body the nutrients it needs.

Get your exercise on

Exercise in particular, is one of the best remedies. Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy. That is a scientific fact! I am not saying you need to run a marathon but getting some exercise, even a light walk each day, can make you feel happier and less emotional instantly.

Don’t take it personally

Rejection isn’t fun but we have all been there at some stage. You might feel invisible at times when a recruiter or employer isn’t getting back to you. There are many reasons why they might not be responding so don’t let your mind imagine all sorts of scenarios. Just continue your job search as you have been doing and if you are right for the role, the recruiter or employer will be in touch.

Friend therapy

If you need an instant pick me up, a good place to start is by calling a good friend who you know will give you the ego & emotional boost you might be needing. Spending time with friends who uplift and support you aka: friend therapy, is a cure for most ailments, including the job search blues.

You have the power within you to change how you are feeling so use these tips to turn your frown upside down. One final note – believe in yourself and your ability and stay focused on what you want and you can make it happen.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS created by your online profile-how do others perceive you?

Digital & social media are now an integral part of the business world. They are essential channels to communicate with future employers, current & potential clients and your wider network. Your online profile forms your overall digital footprint which means it gives an impression of who you are as a person and a potential employee.

Everything you do online is trackable. Every social media post, review, blog, purchase, where you have surfed the net – all leaves little footprints which can be found. You want those footprints to be positive, not negative.

Your online profile is your first impression! It can impact your success when it comes to getting an interview or winning a role.

What does your online profile say about you?

  • Are you proactive and willing to learn?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Are you motivated?
  • Are you credible?
  • Are you clearly knowledgeable in your role or industry?
  • Do you care what others think of you?
  • Are you keeping up with technology and using it wisely?

All these things and more can be seen very clearly in your online profile. When was the last time you did an audit on your profile? When did you update your LinkedIn profile last? When did you last write an article that showcased your expertise? When did you last review your Facebook profile to ensure it was employer-friendly (I have seen candidates lose opportunities due to a poor Facebook profile).

Your online profile directly impacts your offline reputation. Opportunities are lost everyday due to a candidate having an outdated, lack lustre online profile, which makes it hard to sell you to a potential new boss. Your profile is being judged and can make the difference between being at the top of the hire list, to being glossed over during the vetting process. Where do you want to be?

A small investment in time to update your profile can result in a great outcome, in the form of new opportunities.