When applying for a legal job, undoubtedly there will be a lot of other attorneys who are also applying for the same position. There are several ways to stand out.

The best way to stand out is to make yourself indispensible. The best way to do that is to bring a book of business. Since most people can’t manufacture a book of business overnight, there has to be another way to stand out.

Luckily there is another way to get recognized. Showing a potential employer that you WILL develop clients is the next best thing to bringing a book of business with you when you switch firms. The best way to demonstrate what you can do in the future is to create a business plan. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy document, but it should demonstrate who your contacts are, how you will grow that list of contacts, how you will reach out to them and why moving firms will give you a better platform from which to ask for their business.

Further, your business plan gives you an opportunity to outline your marketing efforts that you plan to undertake while at the new firm. Will you put on a CLE in your area of expertise within the first 3 months of employment? Will you draft an article and submit it for publication in a local bar magazine within four months?

This document serves two purposes: it gives you a roadmap for your first few months at the new firm and it demonstrates to a new firm that you have thought about how joining their organization can contribute to their bottom line.

Above all else, it will show that you are willing to put forward a little extra effort to get a job than just sending a resume and cover letter. A business plan can be an effective tool to get your resume to the top of the pile!