In-Home Counsel: How To Overcome The Job Title Dilemma (And Stand Out)

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Top view of stack of resume files,magnifier on black surface.Concept of reviewing resume applictaions,searching for new employees

(through Getty Pictures)

Job titles are sometimes a misnomer as they don’t at all times inform the total story or element the breadth of expertise, management, and worth somebody brings to an organization. Generally, you don’t get a title elevation, however your work tasks and management features enhance. Different instances, you could have a job title change as a formality, however your work tasks and management features keep the identical.

Within the in-house counsel world, your title can imply various things relying on the dimensions and construction of the authorized division. At one firm, you could be a senior counsel and at one other firm, you may maintain the titles assistant normal counsel, affiliate normal counsel, or deputy normal counsel. Maybe you don’t maintain the title of chief compliance officer, but you maintain the purposeful accountability of main the corporate’s compliance and ethics program.

I see this conundrum day by day by the broad publicity I’ve in working with senior- and executive-level company counsels at publicly traded corporations, privately held corporations, personal fairness venture-backed capital corporations, and start-ups. When these in-house counsels strategy me for assist with their authorized resumes or LinkedIn profiles, they typically fear that their job titles will maintain them again of their search compared to the titles different friends maintain.

I inform them with full confidence that the job title dilemma actually isn’t one. It’s about how successfully you inform your story.

Strategically Place Your In-Home Expertise 

Whether or not you’re seeking to transfer up the ranks in your present authorized division or embarking on a job seek for a distinct alternative in a authorized division at one other firm, it’s crucial that your resume and LinkedIn profile correctly and strategically body your expertise and management stage.

You may at the moment be the assistant normal counsel in a lean authorized division that has lower than 5 members, and your subsequent function could also be labeled as a senior counsel, but you’ve obtained accountability for main a staff of 30 and have wider tasks that span a number of geographic areas.

To successfully market your self and your management worth, you must take into consideration the hierarchy of the authorized division and the place you stand in it. Should you’re second or third in command, state so with readability. Clarify who you lead (direct reviews versus oblique reviews), what your core tasks and features are, what enterprise models you’ve got direct dealings with, what your interplay with the board of administrators seems like, and what further tasks you’ve acquired or undertaken by your tenure.

I like to recommend making a listing of what your tasks had been once you first joined the corporate and examine them to what your tasks are within the present time in addition to in between. Take into consideration the tasks you’ve led, challenges you’ve labored by, and the extra work you’ve undertaken that emphasizes your influence within the authorized division.

Showcase Your Job Title Will increase 

One of many largest errors I see on a authorized resume or a LinkedIn profile of an in-house counsel is defaulting to the present title with out displaying the total story of how you bought there. Should you joined an organization as a litigation counsel, earned a promotion to senior counsel, and finally turned the affiliate normal counsel and government vp over a 15-year span, your authorized resume and LinkedIn profile ought to checklist these titles in a timeline format. Your resume and LinkedIn profile mustn’t checklist you because the affiliate normal counsel and government vp for the complete 15-year span. It’s inaccurate, and it detracts from the truth that you simply’ve continued to extend your breadth of expertise, your rating, and your publicity to completely different areas throughout the firm and the authorized division. Why wouldn’t you need to showcase that you simply’ve had job title will increase over time at an organization?

The identical thought course of applies should you’re elevated to accomplice at a regulation agency. Your resume and LinkedIn profile ought to clarify that you simply started as an affiliate legal professional within the litigation division, you had been subsequently elevated to accomplice, and also you finally ended your tenure with main the complete litigation division.

In case your aim is to extend your footprint and improve your influence to a authorized division, you must state your worth with specificity. Don’t let a job title derail the worth you deliver and have introduced in your in-house counsel work. You deliver much more to the desk than only a job title.

Have a urgent query on body your in-house expertise or categorize your job titles within the in-house or regulation agency setting? Join with me on LinkedIn and I’ll be pleased to reply.


Wendi Weiner is an legal professional, profession knowledgeable, and founding father of The Writing Guru, an award-winning government resume writing companies firm. Wendi creates highly effective profession and private manufacturers for attorneys, executives, and C-suite/Board leaders for his or her job search and digital footprint. She additionally writes for main publications about different careers for attorneys, private branding, LinkedIn storytelling, profession technique, and the job search course of. You’ll be able to attain her by e-mail at wendi@writingguru.internet, join along with her on LinkedIn, and comply with her on Twitter @thewritingguru.



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