It’s been a very very very long time since I have posted here. I am pretty sure it was something I did but for over a year I was not able to find the blog. I’m not sure what I did but I most likely clicked when I should have kept myself from clicking ….. the blog went missing. I kept seeing your comments and your questions but I was not able to interact. I’m so sorry.
Again…. not sure what I did today but here I am. I have regained access to the blog and I am ready to go.
So……… without dwelling in the past and trying to figure out what happened, I want to concentrate on the future and figure out where to go from here. I know I want to post more about what it is that we, as paralegals do. I want to help you navigate the career development maze and help you learn from my mistakes so that hopefully it won’t take you as long as it has taken me to get ahead. Most of all, I want to work with you and be here for you. Please continue to send me your emails and your thoughts and your requests. I am sincerely happy to be back and I can’t wait to have a cup of coffee and a chat.
I am often asked about getting a paralegal job or breaking in to the paralegal field. It’s no secret that the economy has made fading a job, be it as a paralegal or as anything else, very difficult, to say the least. These days a resume must stand out or it will just be viewed as one of the many. Credentials are important (where you went to school, GPA, Extra curricular activities, etc.) however, you are one of a million candidates who will have the same type of credentials, if not better than, the ones you bring to the table.
This is where networking becomes your secret weapon. Don’t discard that friend who may be working at Starbucks or a clothing store. They deal with the public on a daily basis and, what do you know…. sometimes the public happens to be an attorney who needs a paralegal for a special project. If you discard that friend you will never know that.
As most of you know I have been working in the compliance world. I have been itching to get into the legal department again. I really miss being in the midst of the legal world. I wasn’t looking for a new position but, as I always advise my friends, you don’t have to be looking for a new job to keep your eyes opened. Sometimes opportunities come your way and the only way you will be ready to take them is if you have your eyes opened and cease the opportunity as if you were actually chasing it.
A few months ago, a friend of mine was speaking with an attorney who was thinking of posting a position for a paralegal with the exact same qualifications I have. My friend immediately mentioned my name and made the introductions. I me with the attorney even before the position was completely available and before anyone else knew about it.
I still don’t have the position. It just recently posted (was advertised) but I am almost certain that I will get it. Had I not developed a good network of friends I would have never heard of this job.
Networking is not something you do when you are looking for a job.
Photo from personaltrainerbusinesssystems.com
This coming Friday, I will be attending the New Jersey Paralegal Convention, being presented by The Paralegal Association of New Jersey (PANJ) of which yours truly, me, was President and is currently a member. If you are a paralegal in New Jersey you should make every effort to attend this event. The event is being sponsored by DGR Subpoena Service, Hudson Court Reporting, Investigative Solutions and The Provident Bank.
The convention is a great time and place to network with other paralegals and other legal professionals. It is open to members and non-members of the Paralegal Association of New Jersey it include vendors, whom I have to say, make our lives so much easier. Ok…, ok, so you got me. I think the vendors are really cool also because they have all the cool give-aways.
This is a great opportunity to brush up on your paralegal skills and obtain CLE credits for those of you that need them. This year the topics being covered are: Ethics, Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Consumer Fraud (I think this is very timely), Advanced Legal Writing, Where do I find that?, Preparation for Jury Trial, Bench Trial and Mediation, Sexual Harassment, A day in the Life (this one is always the favorite), The CLA Exam (you can bet you will find me in this one), and Stress Management.
Please come by and say hello. We would love to have you and if you see me, please stop me and let’s chat. I love to meet all my readers.
Here is the Registration Page.
I thought I would write a short note to you, my subscribers/readers.
I have been busy with lots of ideas recently running through my head and I am finally going to put them into motion. Let’s see where they all bring us. Why wait until the first of the year to start a list of things you want to accomplish? Here is a list of things that The Paralegal is planning:
1) The first thing I have done was create a Facebook page for The Paralegal. Please go and keep me company by becoming a friend. The plan is to keep you annoyingly (is that a word?) updated on what is going on in my day-to-day as well as what I am planning for the blog.
Now we have 4 ways to keep in touch, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and this blog. I’m sure I’ll think of other ways.
2) I am working on starting a podcast for The Paralegal. This will take a little bit of time, since I really have no idea how to even start one. I’m starting now to figure out what and how to do it. Maybe you can use Facebook and Twitter to comment what you would like to hear in the podcast. I want to keep it fresh and relevant so your input is really important. We can create this together.
3) Develop a seminar series. This is an extremely ambitious goal for me but I think we all need a goal that will really make us step out of our comfort zones. This is mine for the year 2011. I am determined to be exactly what you need me to be, a mentor, a teacher and a friend.
I know that with your help I will be able to accomplish all these goals and then some. So, if you still haven’t had enough of me, go and friend me on Facebook, go and follow me on Twitter and sign up for this blog. The podcast? Well, that I’ll have to learn a bit more but I promise that I will keep you posted as to the progress and I will let you know when I publish the first episode. I’m counting on you all to keep me honest and help me achieve my goals.
Thank you so much for reading this blog and allowing me to come into your lives one blog at a time.
Ana Pierro, The Paralegal
It’s the holiday season and for many of us that means there will be office parties, luncheons, maybe even drinks with the co-workers. If you’re anything like me, you look forward to spending some time outside of the office with everyone.
There are a few rules you should keep in mind when taking part in these office festivities.
It is ok to be friendly and have a drink with your co-workers. However, keep in mind that these people are not your childhood buddies and one drink is more than enough to be social. Not drinking at all is probably the best approach but if you’re going to drink make sure you keep it to a minimum. Remember that the next day you are still going to need to be respected and get your job done. Going shot for shot with the boss is not going to win you a promotion any time soon. On the contrary, it may wind up getting you fired.
What you wear says a lot about you: You have been invited to an office function. When choosing what to wear remember that you are not dressing for a club, hanging with your friends or a day at the country club. Find something comfortable but appropriate. For the guys a pair of slacks and a button down is always a safe choice. For the women a nice knee length dress or skirt with a twin set or sweater are great choices. This is not the time to express your individuality.
For those that are lucky enough to be able to bring their significant others to the party please remember that public displays of affection can make others very uncomfortable.
Remember to mingle. There is no reason you should sit at your table all night. Remember to use this opportunity to get to know people in other departments. Maybe you’ve always wanted to know what a certain department does. This is the time to introduce yourself to someone in that department and ask questions. Maybe even mention that you are willing to volunteer to take on some of their work just so you can learn. Remember that networking is very important.
There will be pictures. Lots of pictures and in today’s social networking world a lot of those pictures will wind up on the internet, on someone’s FaceBook page or Twitter. Remember to not give anyone reason to question your actions.
If you have to ask whether or not you should do something, most likely your should not do it. Be popular because you’re smart and a good paralegal, not because you got someone’s number at the office holiday party.
Learning to network and keeping in touch with old relationships has been one of the most important things in my career.
As happy and content as you may be in your current position, in today’s job market you must learn to network. Connections and opportunities may and will present themselves when you least expect them. In this short blog today I hope to give you some ideas you may not have thought of and which I hope you try.
On the Web: There are some great websites you can join. However, before I give you the websites I want to ask you to be careful as to what information you post on the web. First, remember that anyone will have access to the information posted and if you are using it in hopes of growing in your career the information posted must always be posted in a professional manner. A professional would not post unprofessional pictures of him/herself. You may look very cute/hot in that new sexy outfit, I am sure you do. But is that what you want your new boss seeing? Would you not rather that he/she see you in a more professional way? Second, As I am sure you know, there are predators out there who will be more than happy to use whatever information you post on the web to use it against you. Be it to steal your identity, harass or do whatever it is that slime normally does. Having said all that, please do not let the slime of the world who have nothing better to do preclude you from using one of the best tools of our generation, the web. Personally I use these websites in order to stay in touch with past employers, old college friends as well as to make new connections and hopefully friends. If these connections can help me in my career that is a bonus.
Besides the Web there are quite a few organizations I recommend you join. A search on the web will most likely reveal the organizations in your area. Here are some of the ones I am most familiar with:
If you have other associations in your area that you would like to see listed on the blog, please send me an email and I will make sure to check them out and add them to the list. Being a member of these organizations can be a really good “perk.” Most of them are well connected with the legal the community and, if you happen to be looking for a job, they are a great resource to have. LAANJ has a job bank and they will try to place their members whenever possible.
In addition to the professional organizations, your local Chamber of Commerce can be of great help as well.
When it comes to networking Jeremy Thorn, a Leadership Coach and workshop facilitator, has a list of ten things you must learn and do in order to succeed which will likely bring you success:
- Be Brave – put yourself out there.
- Make opportunities – go to the right places.
- Be prepared – Set a goal.
- Meet people you don’t know – When you go to a meeting or an event make it a point to meet people you do not know.
- Survey the land – Do you homework about the even you are about to attend. Try to get a list of the attendees and read about them.
- Make your first move.
- Make a powerful introduction.
- Ask who they are. Let them talk about themselves and learn from them.
- Disengage – Do not linger with the same contact all night. Learn to make an exit.
- Keep notes and follow-up – most people forget this part. It is a small but very important part. It allows people to keep you in mind.
Now, go out there and network. Let me know how it works out.