If you are currently sat at your desk thinking about your next job, it is important that you carefully think through exactly what it is you want to get from your next role before you even start to make applications.

Work out what direction you would like your career path to go in, so that you can identify either what skills you need to gain before you are in a position to find the next role, or what role will be right for you.

It doesn’t matter if your career goal changes and develops over time, but it is important for you to have an idea of the direction you want to go in as this can help ensure you get the most out of your current role, and also make the right decision as to when it is time to move on.

For example, if you are currently a business development assistant looking to take the next step up to executive level, you need to consider whether you want a role aligned to a particular sector or practice group, whether you want a role which has lots of partner contact or something that will give you good exposure to client-relationship management.

We often speak to candidates on a consultative basis who although may not be looking to move right away, want advice on what skills they may be lacking in order to make that leap to the next level. If you constantly review your skill-set and look to grow and develop your existing capabilities, then when the right role does come along you will be in a much better position to move and will also be a more attractive candidate to your prospective employer.

Once you have decided to actively look for that next role and are receiving various different job descriptions, as well as speaking to your recruiter, you should also do you own research into the firms which you have been sent roles for to see if a particular firm is for you. It is important to remember that each law firm has its own culture and not everybody will be suited to every firm. If you want an international remit to your role then there is little point in interviewing for a position at a national firm that would be unable to offer you this exposure.

Make sure you ask the right questions throughout the interview process. Does the role give you the career progression you are looking for? If you want a position that involves travel, find out what kinds of opportunities there are for this. Does the role give you the level of responsibility you want?

It may sound obvious, but we often see candidates who have accepted and started in a new role, before really assessing the actual job they are being given and then are looking to move again within a relatively short time. Or, candidates take a role and shortly after starting, realise it is not going to offer them the career development they were hoping for.

By making sure you carefully evaluate what you want from your next position and whether the role you are being offered can match your expectations, you can ensure that you have made the right move for you and that your career is going in the direction that you want it to.

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