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I started my career in corporate law.

Specifically, I joined a large, well regarded commercial insurance litigation team in Auckland, New Zealand.

I thought I’d done enough due diligence and soul searching ahead of choosing my career path, including a 4-year degree complete with an internship at a top tier law firm. Post graduation, I took a year off wandering through Asia, teaching English, volunteering in community law, and ‘finding myself’ during that transitional period of adjustment that comes with abandoning the identity as a University student.

18 months into my legal career, I started getting itchy feet. It was like wearing a pair of shoes one size too small; the people were lovely, the work interesting, and I got to stand up in High Court, in full gown and regalia, and not once accidentally call the judge “mum” -  but I just couldn’t get comfortable.

And so, I took stock of my career. What did I love? What did I want more exposure to? And what were the pain points, the tensions, the frustrations, that I kept encountering? 

This was the key to finding something more fulfilling. Armed with my list of “must haves” (more autonomy, more flexibility, regular face-to-face contact with clients, creativity and problem solving element), I brushed up my CV, updated LinkedIn, and hit

Ironically, I didn’t use a recruiter. Recruitment is not a major industry where I come from, and it was probably this lack of familiarity which meant I didn’t see the immense value in having an industry professional to guide me through the process. Luckily, my points of contact at Morgan McKinley were pretty tenured in the art of making new hires, so I was in safe hands. 

Suffice to say, it’s been a whirlwind two years since I joined. I’ve actually drawn on my legal skills and background more than you might think - helping finesse finer details of a candidate’s employment contracts, for example - but I’ve grown so many other skills which the law firm left pretty much dormant. 

I had (unfounded) concerns that I was trading in an intellectually stimulating and challenging industry for one a little more transactional. But that couldn’t be further from the truth - I’ve interviewed ASX100 CEOs, I’ve attended prestigious panel discussions and talent development events, I’ve met countless promising strategists who are literally changing the world, one tech startup to the next.

The responsibility for the relative ease of transitioning from my previous life to something totally different rests primarily on the shoulders of Morgan McKinley. With a strong history of transitioning employees from totally different industries, and developing the core competencies of a successful recruiter, I knew I’d get the training and infrastructure I needed to build my new career.

Since the ‘War for Talent’ was first discussed in 1997, recruitment and retention have become one of the corporate world’s hottest topics. Directors of HR, People and Culture now play a key role in big business and occupy seats on powerful ELTs Australia-wide. I’ve joined an industry which is increasingly recognised as vital to business performance; is responding to changes in technology and perception; and is attracting talented professionals from various traditional client services industries.

I used to help businesses combat specific legal issues. Now, I’m tasked with understanding a business from the ground floor, identifying the capability gaps, and building internal talent which will tackle the biggest challenges - and opportunities - facing big business. I’m so glad I made the transition, and I’m so grateful to have found an employer who made it so seamless.

So whether you’re a lawyer struggling to find impact, in a sales role headed nowhere, or part of the 33% of Australians actively anticipating the next career move - consider adding ‘recruitment consultant’ to the list of possibilities.

  • Sep 06, 2018
  • Australia
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