Landing an In-House Position - 5 Legal Career Strategies to Keep in Mind

Whether you're a recent graduate looking to land a full-time legal job or an attorney wanting to make a move , here are five legal career strategies to help land your ideal  in-house legal position :

1. Build your business experience.  Whether you're still in school or already working as an attorney, never pass up opportunities to build your business skills. As corporate counsel, you'll need to be familiar with a wide range of legal and business issues such as finance and tax regulations, mergers and acquisitions and employee benefit laws, to name a few.

2. Expect a different interview process.  Interviewing for a position in a company's legal department will differ from interviewing at a law firm. For example, a law firm may be more interested in your knowledge of the law, your ability to research and write, and any client service and rainmaking skills you may have. On the other hand, a corporate legal department may want to know not only about your legal skills but also how you can help the business advance while minimizing exposure to risk and saving money.

3. Be prepared to speak to people across the organization. You may interview with the general or assistant general counsel at some point but expect to first speak with a hiring manager. In your interview, be prepared to explain why you want to work in-house. Focus on your desire to work for a corporation and how you feel your business and management skills will be best put to use for one primary client -- the company, instead of many clients who divide your attention.

4. Tailor your networking.  If your goal is to work for a corporate legal department (or even become general counsel one day), become active in transactional law groups and in-house counsel associations. Members of professional organizations can provide you with the best advice and help you get your foot in the door. Consider inviting people you meet for coffee. This may be an analog tactic in a digital world, but it can also be effective. Everybody enjoys a coffee break, and face-time pays off.

5. Know where to apply.  Don't strictly limit your job inquiries to the legal department. There are other opportunities to use your license in a corporate setting. Look for positions in compliance, contract administration and litigation within a company.

Companies are looking for attorneys who have business and management skills, not only legal knowledge. You can better prepare for a career as an in-house attorney by focusing your networking, familiarizing yourself with  compensation trends , honing your business acumen, and broadening your legal knowledge base to areas that affect businesses.

Visit our Salary Center to learn more about salary and  compensation trends ; download a complimentary copy of Robert Half Legal's 2014 Salary Guide or access our salary calculator .