Could Sarah Palin be President – the power of self-belief in job hunting.

Welcome Sarah Palin, the President of the USA and leader of the free world.  That has to be pretty much the ultimate job title and think of the power that goes with that.  It is certainly not the best paid job by any stretch of the imagination and I bet half of the people walking into Macquarie Bank or Goldman Sachs every morning earn more.   President Obama makes about US$400,000 pa plus some pretty unbeatable benefits including Airforce One.twosteps legal and accounting jobs blog

Now I mention Sarah Palin because the world’s press has been pretty unkind to her and it seems a bit of a running joke that the former Governor of Alaska could become arguably the most powerful person on the planet in 2012.  Even though she has had some of the best approval ratings of any Governor in 2009 but her personal life has been her Achilles heel.  Personally I think that she is a bit of a character and good luck to her for bringing some life and spark to Presidential and Vice- Presidential campaigns.

So how does her quest for the top job apply to the rest of us? She must have huge self belief and a very strong conviction in her ability to succeed against enormous odds.  Would she be able to run for the title without any talent? I suppose arguably so, in that for those of you a little older may remember the billionaire oil baron Ross Perot running in 1992 and 1996, who as far I can remember, did not have much to offer apart from cash.

Let’s not be foolish about this if you are applying for a job where you have absolutely no skills required, ok sorry I forgot about George W Bush, then in normal circumstances you will never ever be invited for interview.  So why persist in making applications for jobs which will always fail?  When I was in my early twenties (also a time of economic gloom) we all used to think and be told that if you sent your cv off knowing that you were wrong for the role then just possibly someone may see your potential for something else.  Pure unadulterated fantasy.  If you know someone who this worked for then great, but it is a one in a million and HR managers and recruiters alike just get irritated by you.  End result is your cv in the bin.

I heard somewhere that most skilled recruiters spend no more than 8 seconds on a cv, I think it could be faster at times.  If they do not see anything of interest or relevance on page one then forget it.

So self belief and confidence is very important but in reality this is demonstrated best during the interview process.  Even with the best will in the world someone with only a school certificate stacking shelves is never going to be interviewed for a job as an accountant.  When applying for jobs, even if you appear to fit the selection criteria, do your research first.  There may well a job suitable for you but if you send an irrelevant cv your card will have been marked already.

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Social Media and Recruitment Consultants – help or hindrance? It’s your career, don’t blow it

In my former life I was a head-hunter for 14 years and I am certainly not anti-recruiters, I twosteps legal and accoutancy jobs blogam also a big fan of social media when used sensibly.  However, it always amazed me then and now wearing a different hat as an employer and business owner, how otherwise successful people become unstuck when dealing with the recruitment process.  Perfectly rational, confident professional men and women suddenly lose all sense of virtue and prostrate themselves on the altar of recruitment only to be thoroughly disembowelled and in some cases butchering their career in the process.

Now of course this is only the exception and hopefully not the norm but my point is that it is your career and do not be led astray during the recruitment process.  If you can manage a court room of lawyers and judges or a boardroom of bankers and executives why let your guard down in arguably of the most important roles in your professional career – finding and negotiating the next job.

All of you who have had successful experiences with the recruitment process need read no further except for amusement.

This week as I had a truly comic experience with a recruiter and although laughably bad it is serious.  They shall remain anonymous, though that is being very kind to them, so let’s call them ‘Churn & Burn’.  The mortal sin that they committed was to tell the candidate that they should forget about their last job, erase it from the cv and their mind, look the interviewer in the eye and lie as best you can.  Why? Simply as leaving a job after 5 weeks could be seen poorly by a potential employer, obviously not as poorly as wilful deceit.  If the guilty person decided on this path on their own then maybe it is understandable but this was advice from a professional who was expecting to get paid.   So the candidate spent the entire interview telling us about their current role which of course they had left months ago, even explaining quite diligently the notice period they would need to serve.

Forget the recruiter for a minute, everyone else will, but why did the candidate feel the need to lie and follow the poor advice?  Well clearly in this case the candidate felt that the recruiter held the position of power and knowledge and that they would know best.  Not a great decision and of course humans are fallible.  However, what really made it funny was that this particular person was very honest in their linked profile detailing their work history and giving the game away entirely.

So my advice, if you want it, is to apply the same level of honesty and diligence when job searching that you would in your every day life as a professional, don’t let others dictate to you.  Ask for the truth and if you feel that you are not getting it then use your intuition and walk away.  Being led like a lamb to slaughter does no-one any good.  If you use social or professional media you must expect potential employers to check you out, it is part of the referencing process, in this case your own personal testimony.

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Legal blogs we think you might like

Blogging is seeing a huge growth globally and is extremely popular in the legal industry. There are hundreds of law blogs – many have been established for years and there are also some great newcomers. Some are focused on specific practice areas or types of law and others much more general and cover current affairs, legal career advice or personal experiences in training or their hunt for law jobs. Here are the twosteps favourite law blogs (we’ve also included links to their twitter accounts so you can follow them there too) – covering students to barristers, partners to in house counsel. We hope you’ll take some time to visit them out and enjoy them as much as we do…..

There are obviously many more great ones out there and we’d love to hear about them. If you write or follow one you think should be included, please e-mail or tweet @janeraetwosteps so that we can add it to the list.

Australian Blogs

Adelaide Criminal Defence blog by Simon Blade

Criminal justice in South Australia, by the Senior Partner at Lipson Chambers, Adelaide’s leading Criminal Defence specialist law firm.

Australian Trade Marks Law Blog

This blog is designed to communicate with international law firms seeking a reliable source of information and commentary on Australian Trade Marks. The platypus is adopted as our masthead because the platypus – like Australian Trade Marks Law (and the Australian version of English) – can seem odd at first encounter.

Barnold Law

Written by Bruce Arnold, this blog covers legal or other issues that have caught his attention, expressions of opinion, works that he’s reading and miscellaneous “stuff”

BlandsLaw Blog

Written by NSW solicitor Andrew Bland covering employment issues.

Crime at the Coal Face

Crime at the Coalface gives the reader a look into the professional life of a criminal lawyer Craig Borg of Kells The Lawyers, his trials and tribulations, his exploits and insights as he acts for clients and appears before the courts of New South Wales. @CrimeCoalFace


General IP blog with European focus, edited by Jeremy Philips, the editor of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice. @IPKat

Mainly intellectual property (IP) issues Down Under. Written by Warwick Rothnie, a barrister practising mainly in intellectual property, trade practices, telecommunications and general commercial law in Australia. @wrothnie

Law Font

LawFont is a group blog dedicated to discussing issues with a tech and law flavour. Because of the nature of the subjects, and the bloggers, the discussion often flows into economics, policy, and the occasional bit of pure geekiness. All of the contributors work in the law, with some element of tech mixed in. The blog reflects our multi-jurisdictional interests, too.

Lightbulb: Dilanchian IP Blog

A blog specialising in technology and intellectual property law, management and commercialisation. @noricd

Open and Shut

This blog takes an interest in all issues associated with Freedom of Information (FOI) and privacy legislation in Australia. It also includes comment about open transparent and accountable government and privacy issues generally drawing on developments in Australia and overseas.


The Patentology blog is devoted to issues and developments in patent law and practice, as well as musings and commentary on patent strategy, policy, and related matters that capture the author’s interest. It is written by patent attorney Dr Mark Summerfield. @patentology

Peter Black’s Freedom to differ

A blog that speaks freely about law, politics and the internet. Written by Peter Black – Senior Lecturer in Law at Queensland University of Technology, Political commentator, Dynamic thinker. @peterjblack

The Australian Professional Liability Blog

Stephen Warne on professional negligence, regulation and discipline around the world.

The Fortnightly Review

The Fortnightly Review is a fortnightly online journal hosted by IPRIA and the CMCL at the University of Melbourne. Our mission is to provide a forum for independent and critical and cross-disciplinary analysis of issues and ideas to do with IP & Media Law, drawing on the talents of an eclectic group of (mostly academic) writers from Australia and elsewhere..

The Real Estate Information Centre

Real estate news, legal issues, consumer alerts, plus general information and commentary on matters affecting real estate in Australia.

101 reasons to kill all the lawyers

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001. Blog by Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia – he adds to the list every couple of weeks and has almost reached 101.

UK Blogs

Ashley Connick’s Blog

The thoughts of a future lawyer….. Ashley Connick is a postgraduate student at the College of Law, London. He will be commencing a training contract with an international law firm following the completion of his legal studies in 2012 @ashleyconnick

Beneath the Wig

I once toiled at the bar, now play with computers. I’m not sure which is worse, although computers smell infinitely better. These are the musings from my rambling mind. Some related to law, some not. So says the author of this great blog Milly B aka @_millymoo

Charon QC

This popular blog is written by Charon QC, the pseudonym of Mike Semple Piggot. Charon blogs on anything and everything to do with law and beyond and includes podcasts and blogs. He offers his views on everything from women in law to the future of the legal profession to super injunctions. @Charonqc

Diet Justice

Diet Justice is about Justice and Injustice in public life. It’s written by a 25 year old ‘mature’ Law student and Special Constable who says ‘DJ started out life as a creative outlet for me, so I feel free to post about anything that takes my fancy, including; when i drop things, my cat, the weather, and student finance. @DietJustice

Digging the Dirt

Digging the Dirt is a law blog, mainly about commercial property law and environmental issues, by Jon Dickins. @JonDickins

GC’s Eye View

Tom Kilroy, General Counsel of a listed UK software company, writes the blog. The GC’s Eye view offers the observations and advice of a General Counsel and comment on all aspects of the legal industry. @kilroyt

Jack of Kent

Written by David Allen Green, freelance legal and policy writer, the Jack of Kent blog is hugely influential and offers critical and liberal views, usually on legal and policy issues. Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2010 and recommended by the Times as one of their Top 5 blogs in 2009. He also regularly blogs at the New Statesman. @DavidAllenGreen

Law Actually

The Michael is an LLB and LLM law graduate from the UK who currently works in-house for a wholesale business telcoms operator. It should come as no surprise, then, that his interests pervade IT / telecoms law and regulation, but they also extend far and wide to commercial law, corporate governance, criminal law, data protection and, well – anything that catches his fancy, really. He’s been described, on occasions, as a typically deranged law graduate, with a poor taste in blogging and too much spare time on his hands.

Marilyn Stowe Blog

Marilyn Stowe, the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA. The blog won Blawg of the Year 2010 in the UK Blawg Awards. @marilynstowe

Nearly Legal

Nearly Legal is written by a team of contributors, who are barristers and solicitors practising in the field of welfare, housing, landlord and tenant and public law. @nearlylegal

The Bizzle

Legal Bizzle is an in house commercial/contracts lawyer, mostly doing outsourcing work. He spends his days arguing with sales managers and tries to work as much Latin as possible into his contracts. In the evenings, he blogs passive-aggressively at The Bizzle. He also tweets @LegalBizzle.

The Bright Spark

Novel, inventive and capable of distinguishing: The Bright Spark offers an independent and provocative view of recent developments in Intellectual Property law and litigation. An English IP barrister’s thoughts on UK IP developments. @BrightSparkBlog @JamesAbrahams


Blogging about life as and the issues facing in-house counsel. Written by Tim Bratton, GC of the FT. Tim writes detailed posts on a wide variety of subjects: from law firm social media strategies to client care @legalbrat.

The Magistrate’s Blog

Musings and Snippets from an English Magistrate This blog is anonymous, and Bystander’s views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source. Contents are copyright

The Time Blawg

Brian Inkster is a Solicitor with an active interest in technology, social media and Web 2.0 in relation to running a law firm. Through The Time Blawg Brian will express his views on the past, present and future practice of law. @TheTimeBlawg

UK Human Rights Blog

The UK Human Rights Blog was launched in March 2010 and is written by members of 1 Crown Office Row barristers’ Chambers. The blog is now attracting around 60,000 page views per month and has over 4,000 subscribers across email, Facebook and Twitter and it’s posts are syndicated by the Law Society. @AdamWagner1

Ward Blawg

WardblawG is a law blog showcasing and contributing to Scots and other laws from around the globe. It is designed specifically for businesses, for law firms, lawyers and law students and is  designed to provide its audience with content from the best minds in the legal professions across the world, while also providing the most recent news relevant to lawyers and businesses. @WardblawG


This is the blog of Laurie Anstis, an associate solicitor with Boyes Turner, specialising in English employment and business immigration law. He writes on life and work and also blogs on the use of the iPad in legal practice at @ljanstis

US Blogs

Above TheLaw takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of law. The site provides news and gossip about the profession’s most colorful personalities and powerful institutions, as well as original commentary on breaking legal developments. @atlblog

Bitter lawyer

Bitter Lawyer is a leading BigLaw legal humor blog, with lawyer jokes, entertainment, and news. Company Overview: Come miserable. Leave happy. (Sort of.) – Mission: Entertaining lawyers. @BitterLawyer

The lawyering survival guide. Expert advice on law firm marketing, practice management, technology, career development, law school success, legal ethics, and how to start a law practice.  @lawyerist



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The private lives of the rich and famous influence privacy laws – is it right to protect these fallen heroes?

twosteps legal and accountancy blog post

Ok so Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF and French Presidential hopeful, and Sir Fred Goodwin former head of RBS are not really heroes in the traditional way but, certainly to many financiers around the world, they were figureheads.  More obvious megastars are ‘Arnie’ and Tiger Woods, they more readily fit the mould as fallen heroes after their private lives have been splattered across the world’s press.

The only one that I know of to have taken out a ‘super injunction’ is Sir Fred Goodwin but many more celebrities (35 in past two years) in the UK have reportedly done so to protect their privacy from being invaded having, of course allegedly, been caught up to no good or with their pants down.

Lord Acton’s famous quote from 1887 apparently still rings true:

‘All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority’.

Of course I do not mean this literally and neither am I suggesting that any of these individuals is either corrupt or bad just that many powerful people tend to allow the power that they hold to give them a bulletproof belief in their own invincibility and right to do as they please.

How much does the general public contribute to this?

Well we put these people on a pedestal and the higher you climb the harder you fall, they live a life of wealth and luxury and in a world very few people will ever inhabit but whose fault is it?  There will always be leaders and followers and that is human nature and these people for good or bad shape the way that the world turns and we could not lead our lives without strong and successful leaders.  Businesses, governments and iconic superstars succeed on the law of absolute supremacy, and we follow.

So while they succeed we bow to them but when they fall we crucify them, is it important for us to know what they get up to at home? Not really, and most of the time we could not care less, but there is a big difference from a paparazzi shoving their telephoto lens in their private bedroom, which is wrong, and supposedly squeaky clean world leaders trying to protect themselves from actions where us mere mortals would be crucified.

These stories are in the public interest and should stay there.  Privacy laws should protect all and not just the few who can afford to pay the legal fees to get the injunctions and enforce it.

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CV’s & Resumes – Your personal information, keeping it safe and accurate

I have read so many blogs over the past few weeks about the security of your personal information, and how many different ways that the world can access your career history.  There was talk about aggregating all of your information onto one website, is this really want we want?

Maybe you have a professional profile on LinkedIn and another more social one on Facebook, they serve very different purposes so what benefit do you gain from a combination of these.  Say that you have also posted your CV on a few job boards over the years for different roles, if you aggregated all of these channels I cannot imagine that this will paint a very accurate impression of who you are today.

Then of course there are several ways that your CV or resume can be electronically read, and this is what is called CV parsing, ‘Burning Glass’ appear to be one of the leaders in this field.  The ability to select keywords from a CV has been around for a while but the ability to map it and compare it to industries to gain relevance is something a bit more original. Of course technology is only as good as the data entered into it.  Personally I still prefer an online profile, as used by twosteps, which is searchable against pre selected values and is less open to misinterpretation.  However, there is a place for using both CV parsing and online profiling which I believe Monster does and I am open to persuasion.

So what are the lessons you can learn from the mass availability of media channels to promote yourself and the technology that will either help or hinder you.

  • Ensure you understand the privacy settings when creating an online profile
  • Ensure your profile is always current
  • Note all of the places where your profile or CV may be and clean these every 6-12 months.
  • Don’t try and pre-empt what employers may look for by littering you profile or CV with searchable keywords
  • Be honest and accurate, never lie or as it will always be exposed.

Your CV, whether electronic or in print, is the introduction to you from people who have never met you before.  Keep it simple and truthful, and remember to put your most recent experience first and not last.

Further Reading:

8 tips for writing an effective CV

What does your online profile say about you?

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Twosteps global legal jobs and law career adviceFor the vast majority of you this will just be a source of amusement but there are a couple of serious issues at stake.  What is the point of applying for a legal job only to be knocked back at the first hurdle because you think your email address is creative and funny or your email is written like a 17 year old serial text pest. Legal employers are not looking to interview you for your sense of humour, unless of you course you are going to be the next Seinfeld.

  • A professional e-mail address

I am constantly amazed, horrified and amused by e-mail addresses of jobseekers.  To your friends you may be known as ‘sexkitten’, the ‘lovemachine’, ‘thunderpants’, ‘thebeast’ or some other pseudonym but to a law firm, accountancy practice or corporation you may just manage to raise a smile on the face of the HR manager on a bad day or just irritate them.  Either way you are not going to get an interview with a serious job on offer.  It is really not that hard to select a professional email address from the millions on offer and keep that for all of your correspondence with potential employers.

  • E-mail style and content

Write your email as you would a covering letter or how you would write to a customer or client.  Email is of course slightly more informal but it is still a reflection on you and your attitude to behaving professionally.  Spelling mistakes are seen as laziness and unless you are applying for a job as an intern at a social media company or the latest advertising agency, write properly with proper words and sentences. This is crucial for professional services, for example legal jobs, where a spelling mistake or grammatical error can mean immediate rejection.

  • Reply to emails quickly

There is nothing more irritating that sending a detailed email and receiving no reply or acknowledgement.  Do not just assume that the sender knows you have received it, it only takes a second to acknowledge it and again sets the tone for all communication with your potential employer.  It is a pet hate of HR managers.  I have always had a rule as company policy that all e-mails must be acknowledged the same business day or within 24 hours at the very latest.  Lastly when replying to or forwarding e-mails remember to delete all information which is not relevant.

Further Reading:

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How to develop your legal career

Success in any industry doesn’t just happen. Generally, success comes to people who work hard and have a clear career trajectory and target. Even for the most motivated people, it can be easy to lose sight of our goals and become comfortable and complacent in our jobs and everyday lives. To avoid this complacency, think about how you can continually propel your legal career. Consider these tips on how to give yourself the best chance of continuing your career success.

–          Continue your wider education. Lawyers must undertake continual study and obtain accreditation points throughout their legal careers. But study doesn’t have to be restricted to the legal world. Learning technical or computing skills, for example, could increase your employability and attractiveness to legal firms interested in expanding their online presence. Improved written skills could also help lawyers produce high quality legal articles


There are also ways of continuing your wider education outside of study. Attending conferences and lectures, and consistently reading legal journals and the news will help keep you abreast of all that is going on in the industry.

–          Make the most of your legal association memberships. Almost all lawyers are members of their local or national law society and alumni. Make sure you make the most of these groups and organisations to network, meet other lawyers, and be involved in activities and conferences that will expand your knowledge and skill base.

–          Mentor/Career advice. In any career, having a mentor or advisor can help you stay on track of your goals and learn more about where you are trying to get to. Whether you talk to legal career consultants or have a close relationship with one of your superiors, a mentor or career advisor can be a useful tool for keeping you on track, revisiting your goals, and helping you to achieve them.

–          Know what’s out there. To improve your long term career prospects, keep track of what job positions are being offered at any time. Not only will this allow you to apply for any positions that interest you, but by reading job descriptions you’ll know what skills employers are looking for. If you’re in IP law, for example, using job specs to learn what skills are being required and demanded from employers will make you the best possible candidate when IP law jobs that you are interested in arise.

Actively pursuing your long term career is about doing the best in your current position while constantly looking forward to see what may be coming up, or what credentials will be needed should that dream job come along.

Author bio: Online job boards such as can help you keep up to date with the latest industry news, resources and available jobs.

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