I am a sucker for a good holiday movie.  I love the classics like ‘Miracle on 34th St.,’ ‘It’s A Wonderful Life,’ ‘Christmas Vacation,’ ‘Earnest Saves Christmas’ or ‘Jingle All The Way.’  What they all have in common is their overall theme of friends, family and hope.  The protagonists in each movie find their way differently and each have their own sets of hurdles and difficulties, but in the end my heart always feels joyous when the heroes find their way to their happy ending.  This message of belief and hope is one we need to remember throughout the year when searching for a new legal position.  Even though there may be many of our own speed bumps along the way, if we keep hope alive, well, as the Conductor says in Polar Express, “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”

There can be many Grinch’s that get in your way during a legal job search.  We may run into difficult partners, uncomfortable interview settings and inconvenient times.  These can easily throw us off and be a major distraction.  There may be other candidates that seem to be more qualified, or a firm may indicate that they are just not that interested in hiring.  These situations definitely belong on the ‘Naughty List’ but if we keep our confidence and keep believing, they are challenges that can be overcome.  Sometimes our friends, spouses and even a negative recruiter can shake our hope by not believing that a better position can be had.  But much like Ralphie in ‘A Christmas Story’ if we stay vigilant and refuse to be distracted or give up, our ultimate dream job can become reality (hopefully without shooting your eye out!)

The point here is that there are many factors we all know that weigh heavily on one’s job search and candidacy.  Experience, academic qualifications, books of business, recommendations and even timing are things of which everyone is already aware.  Here lies the catch. At the highest levels of legal practice, many attorneys have very similar academic and professional backgrounds.  So what can set a candidate apart from a very talented crowd?  Belief.  Hope.  Determination.  The intangible qualities that we all have but don’t always use.  It is these qualities that allow a candidate to truly shine.  There is a very good reason that we love rooting for Clark W. Griswold or Buddy the Elf.  We identify with their struggles and cheer their determination.  We want to believe with them and want to see their hope rewarded in the end.  The same can happen in an interview setting.  If a candidate comes into that room with a sincere confidence and a smile; and if she can succinctly get across her belief that she is the best candidate for the job, people are attracted to those qualities.  People want to work with someone with those qualities.  People want to hire someone with those qualities.

Belief and hope are very much around our lives this time of the year.  We would be well served to remember these qualities when they are less evident in the other 11 months.  I like to think that even in the dog days of summer a reformed Ebeneezer Scrooge thinks back on his journey and keeps his hope alive.  There are many qualities that will get a candidate a position, but please do not underestimate hope and belief.  They are attributes that will not only help in an interview, but will carry over into the rest of our lives and careers.  Plus, who wouldn’t want to work with someone like Buddy who says “”First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle.” (Full Disclosure; that last quote really doesn’t apply, but it makes me smile and I HOPE it does the same for you).  On behalf of the believers here at The Partners Group, I wish you all the happiest of holidays and best wishes in the New Year.