Speed and accuracy are the hallmarks of any court reporter but there are other important characteristics that set great reporters above the rest. These are the assets that hiring managers look for and the skills that will keep these professionals relevant in the years to come.
In a court setting, a reporter can expect testimony on a wide variety of subjects. Having an excellent vocabulary is essential. Hiring managers look for reporters who demonstrate an initiative to learn about the world at large. Great reporters know that they will become better reporters if they understand the topics of proceedings. Having an innate sense of curiosity is key to being a great reporter.
A reporter’s skills are the tools of their trade and there is always something more one can learn. Time spent learning new vocabulary or new technologies not only make a reporter’s skills more marketable, but demonstrate a clear commitment to the craft. Computer knowledge and experience is no longer optional. Hiring managers look for reporters who have adapted to and utilize new technology willingly. Many court reporters choose to become real-time certified. Hiring managers recognize the reporter who takes steps to achieve this next level of speed and real-time reporting fees are higher, which offers reporters a financial incentive to take this next step.
Because court reporters are expected to work independently so they must be proactive and have excellent time-management skills. Organizational skills and efficient processes are a must to deliver accurate transcripts while keeping to very strict deadlines.
Legal proceedings require reporters to be accommodating and respectful of other people’s time. Often times, the parties involved will be stressed. Professionalism and punctuality demonstrate that a reporter values the time of others and these traits are vital to building a solid reputation. Not all reporting jobs will take place during regular hours. Some will require working after-hours or in locations other than a courtroom or conference room. Flexibility is a part of the job.
Court reporters will encounter all manner of topics. Confidentiality is always expected. The ability to stay focused and nonjudgmental is essential to being successful. Keeping a positive attitude, the ability to remain detached and a having a good sense of humor will help get a reporter through the toughest cases.
If you have these skills or are interested in becoming a court reporter, we’d love to talk to you!