When finding the right job, setting criteria for yourself is important so that you know exactly what you are looking for. These expectations that you set for a future career is key because you do not want to be stuck with a job that bores or fails you. The biggest part of your life is your career, so you want to work in an environment that you are comfortable with and be great at what you do. Saying this, the criteria you set for your job is what will make your job feel less like work and more of something you enjoy and look forward to. Since I know that the job I maintain after graduation will hopefully last a few good years, I have set many standards for when I am searching for one. I want to be able to wake up and want to go to work and brag about all of its successes to my family and friends. I want a job that will make others happy and have the same values that I have for myself. These are just a few of the criteria I keep in mind as I am looking for a potential job opportunity. I make sure I have a checklist of everything I look for when searching for a job, and these are what I believe are the most important:
Q: What field of work am I most interested in? A: After earning my undergraduate degree from NC State University, I plan on attending law school at either Wake Forest University School of Law or University of Virginia School of Law. Once I have obtained my Juris Doctorate degree, I plan on partnering with a major law firm that focuses on real estate and investment law. Being a lawyer has always been a dream of mine. Sometimes I doubt myself because I feel like I will not have a chance at attending a law school in the future. The best thing to do, is to not write or type up a backup plan on your checklist for your future career. If you set one really amazing goal for yourself, focus only on that one goal, and do not think about the easy route or a back-up plan if you think it will not work out.
Q: What type of location would be the best for you to work in? A: I have always wanted to work in a gigantic building in a prospering city. Big cities mean more people which means more potential clients. I am not exactly sure which city would be the best fit as of right now. North Carolina will always be at the top of my list because all of my family lives here, so I won’t have to travel so far to visit them. If I stay in North Carolina for law school, I want to look for jobs in Charlotte or Raleigh. If I were to leave North Carolina, I want to look for jobs in the southwest region of the United States like Houston or Albuquerque. I feel like I could live a comfortable life in outside of the city and be able to drive into the city everyday for work.
Q: What type of work environment are you looking for? A: I want to be able to work in an environment where people are excited to accomplish goals and help others. I do not want to work an environment where everyone is competing against each other. Businesses succeed when everyone works together. I do not want to fight over which cases I work on. I rather be assigned the cases I need to be responsible for.
Q: What is your ideal schedule for work? A: Being a lawyer, schedules are not usually the regular 9-5 work day. Cases could be presented in court at 7pm or a briefing could be scheduling for 8 in the morning. I plan to be pretty flexible when it comes to scheduling, but once I have a family, I want to be able to make time for them. My main focus will be my job right outside of law school. Scheduling will not be a big deal, as long as I have a job and am making good money.
Q: What is your desired salary? A: Since I will have attended a university for about 7 years before searching for a job, my standards for a starting salary are fairly high. Law school is not cheap. so student debt will be a big weight on my shoulders for a very long time.
Shown in this picture, the average starting salary for a lawyer is around $66,000. I expect to earn about this much during my first five years as an attorney. Once I have experience and am ready to own my own practice, I hope to be making around six figures. This may be a long shot, but there is no shame in aiming high, especially when it comes to money. The reason I want to have a substantial income is because I want to have a family one day and be able to travel and experience new adventures with them all the time. I also want to be able to live comfortably without the thought of not paying a bill or mortgage in time. I want to live a happy life by keeping my family happy, and if that means working more for an increase in pay, I am all for it.
Q: What are your long term career goals? A: After working at a large firm for the first few years out of law school, I hope to have obtained the experience I need to open up my own practice. Once I own my own practice, I will hire other attorneys to assist me in my cases and legal/clerical assistants to keep my schedule organized and updated. During my time as an attorney, I plan to run for judge either locally or for the state. I have always wanted to go into politics, but more so on the judicial side. It just seems to be less hectic over there. If I am appointed or elected to be a judge, I will pass my practice onto one of my trusted attorneys and plan to retire pretty early so I have time to travel more with my family.
Q: What benefits are you hoping to get from your job? A: When working for a large firm, I expect to receive healthcare/insurance coverage. If I am expecting to travel more than 100 miles for my job, I expect to be reimbursed for gas or drive a company car. As a potential mother, I hope to receive maternity leave for at least the first six months after each child’s birth. I am planning on having my own practice by then, so I may not have to worry about that since I will be able to make my own hours.
Q: Would you mind taking work home? A: As I said before, I am sure that my schedule will not be a set 8 hours a day for work. Sometimes lawyers have to go to court really early in the morning or really late at night. I fully intend on taking work home for the preparation of court for the next day. In order to be a good lawyer, one must know exactly what they are talking about in court and not refer to any notes or documents.
Q: Are you open to take business trips or travel for your job? A: I want a job that I will enjoy and I love to travel, so being able to travel while on the job would be awesome. Even if the trip requires me to be in meetings every hour of the day, I would still do it because I like to be in new environments and meet new people. The only exception for traveling for my job would be if it was an all-expenses paid trip or not. If my job does not pay for my travels, then I would not want to travel for them because I am not going to shell out my hard-earned money to go do something for them far away. That may seem hypocritical to my first statement, but I do like to travel. I more importantly like to travel cheap, so if they send me off to a fancy hotel in a nice city and I have to pay for it, then I would not enjoy it as much.
Q: What tasks will I enjoy if assigned to me? A: As an attorney, I hope to be assigned cases that improve my professional skills in and outside of the courtroom. I want to be able to discuss my clients needs and wants with them and be able to figure out a plan to give them the customer satisfaction they deserve.
Q: What management style do you prefer?
A: By looking at this infographic about different types of manager styles, I have come to the conclusion that I am looking for a boss that has the combination of consultative and democratic managerial skills. I learn most from observing others and what my subordinates have experienced. I also feel as if I do not do my best unless I receive input from others. My work can always be improved when other people give their criticism. Moreover, I like to work together with my coworkers and higher-ups. If everyone inputs their ideas about certain tasks, then the workplace will be more productive.
Q: How do you want the workspace to feel like? A: When I come into work, I want to feel comfortable and accepted. I want my coworkers to feel like they can ask me anything and I will be able to help them with whatever they need. I value growth, so I hope to work with others that value it as well. By value growth, I mean that not everyone is going to be at the same level as everyone else. We grow through experience and I hope to work with people who will accept that.
Q: Do you hope to gain professional/career advice and skills internally? A: At my future job, I hope to attend meetings and seminars where I am taught or refreshed on professional skills that will help me advance in my career.
Q: When you come home from a day of work, how do you want to feel? A: I want to feel like I have accomplished helping others when I come home from work. The feeling of satisfaction from helping others is something I yearn everyday. When I come home, I do not want to have work on my mind, though. Home is where you focus on your personal life and family. When looking for a job, I rather not have to take work home, but that is something I could compromise if it is not so much of a burden to where I can not get sleep.
Q: What are you willing to compromise? A: Salary is non-negotiable. I hope to make at least 60,000 for a starting job at a big law firm. I can, however, negotiate benefits and hours. Going into a starting position at a big law firm, I am not expecting 9-5. Although, I hope to only be working 9-5 or 8 hours in a day, I am fully prepared to have to work overtime on a case or bring work home with me.
This is my personal criteria when looking for a job after earning my Juris Doctorate at either Wake Forest or UVA. I hope my questions can give you a good idea of what I am looking for and will maybe help you in figuring out what you are looking for in a career. Although this is my criteria for now, I one hundred percent expect my thoughts and ideas on my future to change as the years pass. These are also more preferences than actual standards for a potential job. Never be too specific about what you want because you’ll never find what you are looking for. I hope you liked and understood my preferences and criteria for my personal job search and good look with your future career!