It’s fair to say that most people are familiar with the role of a legal recruiter. And while they may not know the ins and outs of the job, they often have a pretty rough idea of what it is that a recruiter does. Far fewer people, however, know about career management. This is a problem, because many lawyers go to a recruiter hoping they’ll do for them the work of a legal career manager, and because of this misconception they often leave disappointed.
That’s why we’re using this article to clear up any confusion about the difference between the two roles. We’re going to be talking about what a legal career manager is, who they will appeal to and some of the major advantages that can be gained from working with a career manager.
The Real Difference Between a Recruiter and a Legal Career Manager
So, what is a career manager, and how do they differ from a typical recruiter? The first thing to consider is that there are many different types of recruiters, most of them doing brilliant work for their clients. However, unlike a career manager, a recruiter’s primary drive is often to place a professional within a certain role. Recruiters work for firms as much as they do for individuals, in some cases putting the interest of a firm head and shoulders above that of the client looking for work.
A career manager, on the other hand, looks out primarily for the client sat opposite them – the candidate. They are not just concerned with the quickest job they can land for them; instead, they’re interested in the candidate’s long-term aspirations, focusing on the big picture rather than the next immediate step. In this sense, a career manager is more of a trusted advisor. You can lean on them and trust that they will give you honest, objective advice.
So, Who Needs a Legal Career Manager Anyway?
We’re happy to put our hands up and say that a career manager isn’t for everyone. If you know exactly what the next step in your legal career is then you’re probably going to be better off with a recruiter. Likewise, many professionals gain from friends, family, colleagues and mentors what they could from a career manager; that is, sound, dependable advice and guidance.
However, for some people at certain junctions in their work journey, a legal career manager is exactly what they need. It’s easy in life to lose focus and forget where you want to be going. People become unclear as to what their true value is and find it difficult to imagine what steps they could be taking towards progression. A career manager is a great person to show you what your value is, figure out what you want and then point you in the right direction.
So, what are the specific advantages that a legal career manager can bring to you? Let’s start by talking about the approach that we use.
The Holistic Method
As we’ve already discussed, a career manager is often in it to help you in the long-run, meaning that they’re more interested in your overall career trajectory rather than your next move. Now, in order for a good career manager to really help you out in this way, they need to know more about you than what it says on your CV.
This means truly getting to the bottom of what exactly you value, whether this is money, freedom, autonomy or anything else. A good career manager will structure everything around your values, making the big decisions ten times easier.
An Open and Honest Relationship
There are a lot of different variables in your legal career, and it’s impossible for you to be able to see them all. That’s why you need some objective help. Friends and family can be great at this, but they often don’t have the expertise to give you the advice you sorely need. And on the other side of the coin, your employers might not be totally frank with you, as they may be looking out for their own best interests ahead of yours.
A career manager is an expert who has your best interests at heart. Of course, they want you to be successful and making money, but they also want you to be happy and fulfilled, because there’s no sense in setting a candidate up with a role that they’re unhappy in and will leave six months down the line.
In short, a career manager offers a totally different level of service to that of a recruiter. They are more concerned with building a relationship with the client: finding out what type of work they might want to do and where they want to live, and providing solid information such as what will be expected of them and how the first six to twelve months in the job will look. It’s not the role of a typical recruiter to take this more holistic approach.
If you want to learn more about yourself and have a more detailed approach to future steps in your career, then you need to take on a service that will give you that. This is the role of a career manager. It’s about offering a personal yet objective stance and becoming truly invested in a candidate’s future and success.