Why resigning without a firm job offer is career suicide

Recently I have spoken to an incredible amount of lawyers who are thinking of handing in their notice before having secured a new job. Maybe it’s due to wanting to take a break between jobs to travel or spend time with families, or maybe its due to issues with working conditions or internal politics. Maybe its due to a belief that having a shorter notice period or immediate start date will make you more appealing to employers (it won’t – in fact you may find yourself out of work for many months leaving a big gap on your CV that would be difficult to justify, potentially hindering job searches not just immediately, but even for the rest of your career).

My biggest piece of advice to anyone right now is to tough it out.

I know that’s not what you want to hear, but in this job market it is a harsh reality. You are considerably more appealing to an employer when you have a job – that means someone else is willing to pay you to work and that you haven’t been managed out for poor performance.

Regardless of your reasons for leaving, in this competitive market Law Firms and Legal Departments will always err on the side of caution and remain cynical towards anyone currently out of work. By resigning you are giving potential employers room to doubt your employability, making your job search infinitely harder – and in some cases impossible.

Furthermore, resigning before you have a job offer can negatively affect your salary negotiations. If you are no longer earning a salary, you lose the upper hand in this situation  and leave yourself vulnerable to being negotiated down. This becomes an even greater issue if you find yourself in between jobs for some time – under the pressure of having no salary, you may find yourself in a position where you need to take a job that is even worse than the last.

Overall, resigning is a bad idea. But just because you shouldn’t resign it doesn’t mean that you are permanently stuck in a job you hate. Here are a few things you should be doing instead of quitting:

1) Update your LinkedIn profile – make sure you have your practice areas listed and a professional profile photo. It is important to select “No, do not publish an update to my network about my profile changes.” in the LinkedIn side bar in order to avoid your employer or colleagues becoming suspicious of your intentions to leave.

2) Have a CV at the ready – with a full transaction list. The last thing you want is to miss out on that perfect opportunity because it took you a week to get your CV up to date and you miss out on the shortlisting.

3) Reach out to trusted recruiters and contacts. A good recruiter will have an inside scoop on what is going on in the market and will be able to guide you on how best to target your applications. Make sure that you are working with someone well-connected and that you are comfortable with, as haphazard applications can be detrimental to your job search.

If you keep these things in mind then you can make sure you are in the best position to advance your career and secure that dream job!

For a more detailed discussion about the market or legal opportunities in confidence, please call our Singapore office on (+65) 6100 1900 or email Daniella-Louise Bourne (Danni) at danni@abeo.sg

Authored By Daniella-Louise Bourne from Abeo Consulting – a specialist legal search firm headquartered in Singapore.

We place a high value on our relationships and work with a comprehensive list of clients which include international law firms, multinationals and financial institutions operating in Singapore and within the Asian region. We give an objective, impartial and honest advice on your career and we pride ourselves on the tailored recruitment solutions we offer.

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