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How to Sell Yourself Effectively

Emphasize Your Strong Points

An advocate by calling, you must learn early in your career to use your strong points to your advantage. Employers seek out candidates who are confident in their abilities and can articulate their strengths. They are reluctant to hire candidates who are insecure or unable to sell themselves during an interview. The reason for this is simple: Legal employers do not want to hire unskilled advocates or those who will need motivation and/or reassurance to get the job done.

When Tanya interviewed as a lateral associate, she was uncertain about her strengths and lacked confidence in her skills. Identifying what made her a good attorney provided her with good sales-pitch material for her interview. Tanya began analyzing her skills by reviewing her old memos and billing records to determine what areas she aced and where she needed improvement. She also asked her mentors and senior colleagues for feedback about her performance. She discovered they strongly valued her research skills because she could find answers to the most obscure questions. She also noted her history of writing winning motions. This helped her gain the confidence she needed to ace her interview and score major points by being one of the few candidates who gave hard evidence of strengths, rather than just naming them.

Analyze your strengths and prepare a sales pitch in advance of your interview. And if you do not yet know what your strengths are, figure it out by evaluating your law school performance, completed projects, and feedback from mentors and colleagues. If you are fresh from law school, for example, your good grades may indicate you are hardworking. Or, if your GPA is nothing to write home about, you can use high grades on certain subjects to explain how the employer will benefit from your expertise in that area of law. Similarly, you can note that the firm's corporate department can utilize your business skills. You can even emphasize your leadership positions and memberships in organizations as a sign of hard work, people skills, and commitment.

Once you know your strengths, prioritize them as you were taught to do in legal writing and make your strongest points first. Due to time constraints, you may never have a chance to address them all. And even if you get to mention less important points, do not dwell on them and risk boring your interviewer. Think about your strengths ahead of time so that they can roll off your tongue with the ease of “negligent infliction of emotional distress.” This way, you will sound prepared and convincing. But make sure you pause before you speak. Employers are more impressed with the candidates who think on their feet than with those who memorize their answers. If you are not asked about your strengths directly, build a discussion about them into your conversation. Regardless of what direction the conversation turns, you must find a way to explain why you are the one candidate this employer needs.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsHow to Sell Yourself Effectively - Emphasize Your Strong Points, Address Your Weak Points, Answer The “why” Question, Distinguish Yourself