Market Yourself as a Paralegal by Kevin Erickson

What does it mean to make yourself marketable or sellable? Does it require that you quit your job, completely change careers or go back to school. Perhaps, but for this article it simply means making the most of your skills and abilities and continually looking for ways to improve.

Whether you just graduated or you've been a paralegal for many years, learning to market yourself is an essential skill in maximizing your potential. Both financially and in the opportunities that come your way.

If you are a seasoned paralegal you may want to sharpen your management skills, make the most of your client interviews or change your area of law. The most convenient and least expensive way to start your research is to go online. Reading articles on career and paralegal websites, like Total Paralegal is a great way to get ideas.

As you get into your online research you'll find a multitude of resources. You will also realize that there are many others searching for the same information and the same answers as you.

If you realize through your research that you may need or want to take a class or two to strengthen your skill-set to better position yourself for advancement but you simply don't have the time to travel to a physical classroom. No problem, because in today's online world, taking an online course is not only practical but very smart.

The internet is also a great place to find other ways of getting to where you want to be, such as seminars and discussions for today's paralegal professional.

Take baby steps while you're working the daily grind. If you try to do to much you run the risk of driving yourself into the ground. And remember, it's imperative that you are proactive in reconstructing your assignments and informing your supervisors of your interests, skills and extra effort.

Let's face it, our supervisors are involved with their own deadlines, their own court appearances and their own business worries. As a result, they don't always notice extra effort because they've come to expect it. On the other hand, they always seem to notice our less than perfect work. Don't fret, stop mumbling under your breath, complaining to your family and co-workers, simply let your boss know about your extra effort. In other words, "toot your own horn".

If you are a recent graduate marketing yourself means making the most of your school experience. Use your professors, counselors and fellow paralegals to create an effective job search. Keep in touch with everyone because you never know if you'll be working with or for them sometime down the road.

Inform everyone you know that you are actively seeking a "full-time paralegal position in a large firm in... the city of your choice" or a "part-time paralegal position in a small firm close to home."

Whatever your situation, utilizing your personal contacts will make your search less stressful, time consuming and much more rewarding... as in a better, higher paying position. You may feel that you are at a disadvantage trying to qualify for many legal positions, but many employers would rather train someone to do it their way than re-train someone who does things their way.

I admire and encourage those of you seeking "second-careers" or for those of you who simply want to acquire new skills by going back to school. I went back to school, paid for it out of my own pocket and attended night classes. I can honestly say that I was a better student the second time around than when I was fresh out of high school.

"Older" employees bring a lifetime of experience, expertise and skills to any position and are a good role models for younger employees. Studies have shown that mature workers have lower job turnover, better overall attendance and fewer on the job accidents than do younger workers! Studies have also found that the ability to learn remains constant throughout most of our lives.

Regardless of your current situation. You CAN make it happen... where there's a will there's a way and there's always room for challenges and the accompanying mental and spiritual growth that will inevitably occur when you stick your neck out and go for it.

Kevin Erickson is a contributing writer for: [the website cannot be found] Medical Transcriptionist.

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