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A Relocating Paralegal Shares Some Tips for the Job Search

A Relocating Paralegal Shares Some Tips for the Job Search

by Jennifer Taylor

The last thing anyone wants to do in the midst of an economic downturn is move cross-country and look for work. But that is exactly what I did at the end of August. My husband’s employer transferred us from Cincinnati to Austin,Texas.

I had two months advance notice to plan and prepare for the move. Having worked as a litigation paralegal at a large Ohio firm, I enjoyed senior status, worked with great attorneys on interesting cases and earned a nice salary. Now I had to start all over in a brand new town. In short, I was terrified.

The first thing I did was update my resume. I had not updated it in over seven years. I asked co-workers, bloggers (thanks Lynne!), friends and relatives to review my resume. I started researching how to write a winning resume. I probably revised it 50-plus times.

I put feelers out in the Austin area before my move. I joined the Capital Area Paralegal Association and gained access to their job bank. I got an Austin cell phone number ASAP. I researched the job market and salary range for Austin paralegals.

I also learned that most paralegals in Texas are licensed by the state bar. No problem, I thought. However, when I contacted the state bar association, I was dismayed, upset and worried to learn that you must work under the supervision of a Texas attorney for three years before you can sit for the bar’s licensure exam for paralegals. Uh-oh. Undeterred, I applied for jobs that required licensure, explaining that I had a bachelor’s degree, plus over 10 years solid experience.

I did meet a wonderful contact through the local paralegal association who gave me all kinds of tips, introduced me to people and encouraged me. It took me 53 days, but I found a great job in Austin.

First of all, I treated the job search itself like a full-time job. Here are some of my tips:

  • Network; tell everyone you are looking for a job. I even put a notice up on my old employer’s internal message board to see if any partners knew Austin attorneys. I generated some leads.
  • Join the local paralegal association and gain access to their job bank.
  • Think outside the box. I looked for paralegal work on Craigslist, the State of Texas jobs website, and trolled the website of every law firm in town. I applied at insurance companies, mortgage companies and banks. Paralegal skills translate well into these fields.
  • Line up good references. I approached partners and former employers before I left town to make sure they would be willing to say good things about me.
  • Apply for jobs that are not in your field IF you think you can do the job. That is, in fact, how I landed my new job. Turns out they loved my resume, I clicked with the hiring manager and they fast-tracked me for hire. Having worked in complex litigation for years, I landed an in-house senior paralegal position with an organization that oversees compliance and enforcement of electric power plants in Texas. I have no experience in electric law.

The most important tip is to not give up. I obsessively looked for work and did my share of complaining to anyone who would listen. I applied for over 50 jobs but I only generated three interviews and actually received two job offers on the same day. I kept telling myself that unemployment was temporary. The power of positive thinking or doing my homework? You decide.

________________________
Jennifer Taylor is a senior paralegal with the Texas Regional Entity in Austin, Texas.

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Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]gmail.com

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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