You’re anticipating graduating and passing the bar, and you’re ready to find a job. Here are tips for your job search.
• Evaluate whether a recruiter will be able to help you. Recruiters are hired by employers to find candidates with specific credentials and skill sets, and those employers usually won’t pay recruiter fees for someone with less than two years of experience. Big firms rarely bring on junior associates who haven’t come through their summer associate program and, because recruiters also make candidates more expensive, smaller firms likely won’t accept submissions from recruiters. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. It just means a recruiter probably isn’t the solution for you.
• Seek out informational interviews. Reach out to people who work in an area of interest, and find out about their work. Here’s a good guide (thegirlsguidetolawschool.com) to the process, with good suggestions for whom to contact. This networking will give you insight into these jobs and may give you access to positions that never go on the open market.
• Volunteer on a committee. Simply attending networking events doesn’t give attorneys any insight into your skills or work ethic. If you join an organization and volunteer to help on events, attorneys will see that you work hard and are reliable. They’ll get to know you and want to vouch for your candidacy.
• Focus your resume. It’s tempting to put every bit of experience on your resume, but a kitchen sink resume doesn’t make you look like the right candidate. Tailor your resume to each particular job opening. If it accurately reflects your experience, use language from a job posting in your work description.
• Proofread your resume and cover letter. Be sure to have at least three reliable people review your resume and cover letter for typos or other errors. Don’t send a resume or other job-search document out in a rush because it’ll likely have at least one mistake.
• Search job postings. Good sites to start with include indeed.com, simplyhired.com, idealist.org, LinkedIn, your law school career page, and even Craigslist.
• Apply through an employee. When you find job openings, apply and also try to submit your resume through someone who works at that organization. It greatly increases your chance of getting an interview.
• Network with alumni from your law school. Do this with people who graduated up to 10 years before. Perhaps you share another community, such as a law school activity or leadership role.