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Every job search is different. No single job search strategy will be applicable for every student or situation. It's important to meet with a Career Services counselor to consider your options and create a job search strategy that works for you.
Be flexible in your search. Flexibility and perseverance will go a long way toward finding the right match for your skills, interests and values. This is particularly true when you are working full-time and looking for something new, because a job search can be a full-time job on its own.
Allow ample time for your job search. Allow extra time for your search if you plan to continue working while seeking new employment.
Before you send out resumes and go on interviews, be sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do, and what type of work environment you find most enjoyable. Knowing this will help focus your search area, and help you answer interview questions such as "Why do you want to work here?"
Talking with friends, faculty and former employers can help you identify your likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, etc. You can also gain insight by asking yourself questions related to your academic training and previous employment:
When you have a good idea of your strengths and goals, you should research employers who fit your preferred criteria. This will help you locate your best-match employers, and provide you with information about the employer that can be used to bolster your interview responses.
After you know what you want to do and the type of employer you're looking for, how do you get your foot in the door?
from Deborah Arron, J.D., author of What Can You Do with a Law Degree?
How can I stand out from the crowd and get hired?
1. Find out what's not getting done that ought to be. One lawyer heard through the grapevine that a community hospital was in danger of losing its not-for-profit status because of failure to contribute to the community. He successfully proposed a new position. He now conducts needs assessments and recommends intervention projects, as well as advising on risk management and acting as employee ombudsman.
2. Figure out how you can save an employer time or money. A lawyer with private practice litigation experience discovered in the local business newspaper that a corporation without in-house counsel was involved in extensive litigation. He accurately calculated the company's legal costs and showed the company president how much money would be saved by hiring him to oversee the litigation and handle routine discovery work in-house.
3. Do both. A savvy new admittee had previously been turned down by a busy litigator when she tried to get hired by him as an associate. She later offered to organize his file for a looming trial at a reasonable project rate. He was so relieved by her assistance that he asked her to sit as second chair throughout the trial. That work led to other projects; she now works in tandem with him on all of his litigation, earning more than most of her contemporaries.
from Kimm Alayne Walton, author of Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams
Why should I network as part of my job search?
1. Personal contact is the single most effective way to get a job. Nationwide, almost half of the jobs reported to NALP were obtained through self-initiated contact with the employer or by referral from a friend or relative.
2. 90% of jobs are unadvertised, and networking is virtually the only way to find out about them. Remember, most attorneys practice in small firms (2-10 attorneys), and those firms don't use the on-campus interview process. They often put the word out on the street.
3. You'll get the competitive edge by being referred directly to employers. What do you think works better? The employer going through a stack of resumes or getting a phone call from a trusted friend telling him/her that he met this new attorney at a CLE seminar, and he thinks this person would be great for the firm?
4. Effective networking skills are the equivalent of being in the top 10% of the class. If you know how to use your networking skills effectively, there are no employers that are off-limits to you.
5. The networking skills you'll use to get to be a lawyer are the same ones you'll use to actually be a lawyer. The same interviewing and networking skills you use to get a job are the ones you'll use to perform that job. If you intend to go into private practice, your success depends on your ability to generate business. That means meeting people and talking to them... That is networking!
6. Networking is virtually the only way you'll get other jobs down the road. Over the space of your career, you'll probably have several jobs. You'll get those jobs through contacts you make—the same way you got your first job.
7. The simple fact is that networking works. It will work for you now, and it will work for you forever. So get over whatever roadblocks you have that prevent you from networking and get out there.