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]

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.

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.

How to sell your brand culture to top talent

What is brand culture?
According to Wikipedia, the official definition is “a company culture in which employees “live” to brand values, to solve problems and make decisions internally, and deliver a branded customer experience externally. It is the desired outcome of an internal branding, internal brand alignment or employee engagement effort that elevates beyond communications and training. Everything the company does – every product or service it offers, every public statement, advertisement, website, internal policy, memo and business decision it makes must be congruent with that ethos and worldview”

In short, brand culture allows people to connect with the people in your company. Brand culture is all about people and people connecting with the faces, vision and purpose of a company. It is what you have to offer that can set you apart is your unique identity, communicated to people in the ways you present information, engage with others and do business.

Brand culture is seen to be authentic as we can look from the outside in and truly see what your staff experience. There is little marketing hype which makes it believable and relatable.

Consider these tips to sell your company culture and employer brand to future employees

  • Show don’t tell > Storytelling allows people to discover the why & the people behind the business which leads to your brand being relatable, personable and trustworthy. We have grown up listening to stories and they are what engage us as humans. Storytelling is less marketing, more engagement.
  • Set up a Talent Community > talent communities allow you to build a community of like minded people that want to be part of your company culture and allow you get to the know each other in a non threatening way.
  • Talk to current team members > your team is your biggest asset so getting them to talk about what it is like to work at your company, speaks volumes. They are much more trustworthy than the CEO or marketing team
  • Create a Brand Employee Ambassador Program > the logical extension of talking to your team is to create a formal Brand Employee Ambassador Program. If you have great content and marketing in place already, a BEAP will amplify your efforts and allow you to reach new people and markets without spending any additional marketing dollars.
  • Be relatable and show your personality > People do business with people they like – that is a fact. If they see you as being real people that they can relate to, then you go to the top of their list and they are buying into your company culture.
  • Create Job Descriptions ThatSell your culture > Job descriptions shouldn’t just list off the tasks required in the job. Include information about the culture, their purpose and do it at the start of the job ad. Tasks don’t sell people on your company, but your culture can.

It is not always about ‘Showing me the money’

Money makes the world go around. Fact! But as human beings we need more than money to sustain us, particularly when it comes to our job and our working environment. So, if you don’t have large budgets to buy the best staff you need to look for other incentives to get them on board. Examples of non-monetary compensation include flex-time, time off, free or discounted parking, gym membership discounts, professional development, tuition for further education and childcare.

How can you win top talent without ‘showing them the money?’

Find out what drives them

What non-monetary incentives would appeal to them? We all need money to put a shelter over our heads and food in our plate, however there are often other benefits that can make up for a lower salary. If you can find out what drives a potential new team member you’d be surprised how creative you can get when it comes to ways to get them across the line. The better you know them the easier this process will be.

Be flexible

Don’t just stick with “this is the way we have always done it”. As the war on talent heats up you need to be flexible. This will be different for everyone but could include ability to work from home some days, time in lieu, roster days off, professional development, working a 4 day week etc. Don’t lose a great new asset because you cannot be flexible.

Offer personal development

Provide in house training, the ability to do additional study to get more accreditation and allocate personal development budgets each year that they can allocate to further learning outside the company are incentives that not only have a positive impact for you while the person is employed with you, but also for their career as they acquire new skills.

Personalised incentives

Everyone is different and what appeals to one person will not appeal to another. Personalise non-monetary rewards accordingly. The gym junkie would likely love a gym membership but the coach potato would hate it and prefer a membership to a theatre company. Do what works for each individual.

Passion project time

Offer time out of normal work commitments to work on projects which your staff may be passionate about but are not necessarily related to your core business. This is was pioneered by Google and also something that Facebook do and has launched some successful & very profitable new products. Allocating a few hours a week for them to work on a passion project helps keep them more fulfilled and likely to stay with you longer.

Volunteer program

How are you giving back to society? Offering staff 1 day every 3-6 months to volunteer at the charity of their choice, puts your brand directly into the community in a positive way, engages the individual with something they are passionate about, increases morale and builds a positive company culture.

Opportunities to work interstate or overseas office

If you have interstate or overseas offices the opportunity to work in another location, can be very appealing and a positive program you can put in place that is a big point of difference over competitors.

Having small hiring budgets forces you to get creative but is also means you win top talent for exactly that reason. Plus, non-monetary or intangible benefits can often be the most powerful.



How to attract and win top talent

We live in a competitive world and when there is a shortage of talent, finding top talent becomes harder to do.

You have heard the phrase “the war for talent” which was derived from a late-90’s McKinsey and Co. study that surveyed 77 companies and almost 6,000 executives. From compiling the data, analysts gathered that the most important corporate resource over the next 20 years would be talent.

Build an attractive company culture that makes people want to work with your business.

We’ve all heard about the amazing office environment at Google right? The cool space, the free food, bikes around campus and the many other free perks that employees get. You likely don’t have the budget of Google but you can create an inviting & fun culture without fancy slides or gadgets. Listen to what your staff want and often it is the little things that matter.

Share your why and your vision for the company

Many of the talented people you are looking for now want to work somewhere that is not just another company. They want to know what is your why, your purpose, your vision. How do you contribute to society? How do you give back? Are you values aligned with theirs? A big packet doesn’t always help if their values do not align with yours as they are bound to leave pretty quickly.

Build a talent community

Having your own talent community is a great way to build a relationship with potential hires before you need them, making the hiring process simple and faster.

Find out what drives them

What non-monetary incentives would appeal to them? We all need money to put a shelter over our heads and food in our plate, however there are often other benefits that can make up for a lower salary. If you can find out what drives a potential new team member you’d be surprised how creative you can get when it comes to ways to get them across the line. The better you know them the easier this process will be.

Be flexible

Don’t just stick with “this is the way we have always done it”. As the war on talent heats up you need to be flexible. This will be different for everyone but could include ability to work from home some days, time in lieu, roster days off, professional development, working a 4 day week etc. Don’t lose a great new asset because you cannot be flexible.

Prioritise wellbeing

Workplace wellness is becoming very popular for a reason. It improves productivity, helps with mental health and minimises time off work, to name a few benefits. Top talent wants to know their employer truly cares about their health and well being  and creating a holistically healthful environment ultimately pays off in the form of company success.

Considerations when working with a recruiter

Recruiters can unfortunately get a bad rap, mainly caused by cowboys/cowgirls  in the industry that were not professional and had no idea on how to deliver the solution they were hired for.

What does a recruiter do? In its most basic form their role is to bring together two parties – employer and employee. However, it goes deeper than this and in essence it’s is about finding the perfect match of employer and employee. This is hopefully going to be a long-term relationship so matching the right people is important, just like any relationship.

So, let’s consider what you need to look for in a great recruiter.

Great reputation

Reputation is everything. Do your research! Sure, you can read testimonials on a website but dive deeper. Ask people in your industry or network if they know of this recruiter or have used them in the past. What do they think of them? Search online for reviews or comments on their LinkedIn profile or Facebook page. A great reputation is hard to fake.

Years of experience
How long as the recruiter been in the industry or related industries? If they have been on your side as a client, then they have a good understanding of the issues you face. Experience matters as they have connections, networks, and they have refined the best ways to get results for you.

Size of company
Are you just a number at a large agency? With high targets, there can be a lot of churn and burn, and it can be all about numbers and just filling roles, regardless of if they are the right person for the job. Boutique firms live and die by their reputation and are only as good as their last hire. They have a vested role in making sure the match works. Consider your needs and if a smaller agency is better suited to your needs.

Recruiters have connections and often know about jobs before they are advertised
They have a solid network and good recruiters build long-term relationships and have talent pools to draw from. They have great industry contacts and can hand-pick professionals who may be looking for a change.

Recruiters have different specialties
No two recruiters are the same. Everyone has different industries specialties, networks, levels of relationships and ways of working. You might use different recruiters for different roles in your company because one person is an expert in legal and another an expert in retail. You cannot be everything to all people so work with a recruiter that specialises in what you need for a particular role.

Do you have chemistry?
This might not sound important, but people do business with people they like. That is human nature. Do you have some sort of chemistry with the recruiter? I am not talking about physical attraction. I am referring to that positive first impression. Do you like them? Do you get a good feeling from them?

Trust your gut
Gut instinct is important in all areas of business and this is the same when choosing a recruiter. Ask yourself, does this feel right? Do you I think this person is the right person for the job? Trust your instinct – it matters.