If you’ve chosen to pursue a career as a paralegal, you probably already understand that career training is just the beginning of your journey. Once you have a firm grasp on the legal concepts, research requirements, and rules around client privilege and confidentiality, you also need to understand that the law is continually evolving. To stay in the know, you need to have an open mind, and always be willing to learn more. You also need to network. Here are 4 ways to get started:
Start right now. Reach out to your instructors and fellow classmates in your paralegal training program and get to know them. Your teachers possess valuable knowledge –and connections. They may be able to point you toward job openings or write recommendations on your behalf. And your peers today could be your colleagues tomorrow. You might wind up working beside them or for them. Or maybe you’ll be the one looking to hire a competent paralegal!
Attend career events and seminars. Don’t miss opportunities to learn from experts in the field and your peers in the profession. Conferences put on by national and regional paralegal associations give you the opportunity to stay current on hot topics that might affect you and the attorneys you work for. Check out the calendar of events of organizations like the State Bar of Michigan and look for classes and seminars that might be related to what you do. For example, if your law office specializes in real estate, why not learn all you can about real estate law by attending free workshops? If you work for an elder services attorney, attend community events that teach seniors what they need to know about estate planning.
Join professional and community organizations. Just a few of the paralegal associations you may want to consider are the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the National Association of Legal Assistants, and the Great Lakes Paralegal Association. You can also support causes and join organizations that you’re interested in. When you’re involved in your church, a charity or a worthwhile community group, it’s an opportunity to do good work while also meeting people who can become a part of your network.
Get on LinkedIn. You’re probably already on social media, but are you on the one social media site dedicated to making professional connections? You should be! But don’t just jump on LinkedIn without a plan. Make certain to use a professional looking image, appropriate keywords in your headline and a fully built profile. Then find out who you know –and who they may know.
If you want a long and successful career as a paralegal, start with career training at Career Quest Learning Centers. Then, make certain to keep up with all that what’s going on in the paralegal profession.