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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Transferring Skills

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am currently looking for a job as Administrative Assistant in a law firm, though my experience is solid Human Resources.

How do I convince the law firm I am qualified and that my skills are transferable?

Things to consider prior to answering my query:

I have a solid work record, my last three jobs lasting 6 years each.

I am a displaced worker as my company closed and laid off a few hundred.

I am competing with a different generation of candidates.

I truly am an awesome Administrative Assistant.

My skills are up to date and quite remarkable really.

I read your blog constantly. I know you will have advice for me.

Signed,

Older But Wiser


Quite frankly, I don't think you'll have a huge problem. There are a ton of legal implications and knowledge required for HR and that will transfer nicely to a law firm. There are, however, some skills that you will need that you don't have.

I'm not a legal secretary so I don't know what they are. You should. Find out. Ask other admins at law firms what you need to know that you don't already know.

In your interview emphasize your fabulous skills and how you are excited and willng to learn. A key point here will be convincing them that you want to work in a law firm, you are not just desperate for any job. Hopefully, your layoff brought you some severance pay.

We often say that it's easier to find the right VP than it is to find the right admin. That means that even though your experience isn't specific, if your skills are transferrable and your personality is a fit, you shouldn't have a problem.

Good luck!

1 comment:

Founder: Lea Setegn said...

As a resume writer who was in the same position earlier this year -- changing careers from journalism to admin work in HR -- I found that the best thing to do is create a resume that explains exactly what you've accomplished as an admin (outcomes of special projects in particular) and emphasizes the types of people you've interacted with.

I now work in HR for staff at a law firm, and I can say that we want admins (professional assistants who work with lawyers or administrative assistants who work for staff members) who understand how to work with CEOs and high-level people. It's crucial, especially if you'll have contact with clients.

Also, be sure to target your resume specifically for the job posting by including your experience as it directly relates to what the ad says is wanted. That should get you an interview -- and where you go from there is up to you.