BY HILLARY MANTIS
Whether your New Years’ Resolution is to find a job, or improve the one that you have, it make sense to build your network. In all of my years as a career counselor, this has been the most dreaded task.
Here are a few easy ways to get started (no cold calling, or attending huge functions where you don’t know anyone, required.)
1. Publish or Perish: One easy way to get your name out there is to write an article, or contribute to a blog. Many law schools have student run blogs now, and many legal newspapers would more than welcome freelance contributions. It will give you prominence, built in credibility, and a chance to interview lawyers that you may have wanted to meet.
2. Develop a Niche Practice Area: It’s good to start to develop an expertise if you can, even early in your career (preferably one where there may be some growth in the years to come—see my earlier blog post, What are the Hot Legal Practice Areas Right Now, for some ideas.) A good way to do this, beyond taking law school classes, is to join a Bar Association Committee. Many have student committee memberships, and reduced rates for recent graduates, or those who are unemployed. It’s a good way to meet lawyers, and build your resume.
3. Plan a Panel or Event: Once you have joined the Bar Association committee, it’s also a good idea to offer to take the lead in helping them plan a panel or seminar. You will be able to show initiative, learn more about the practice area, and get to know the speakers, who are experts in the field in which you are trying to develop contacts.
4. Use Linked In: More and more, I am hearing from people who did make contacts that ultimately led to an interview, through Linked In. You can not only build your contacts and join groups, but you can even think about starting a Linked In Group. Like all social media, however, use it carefully.
5. Go with your comfort level: If you like to write and are the quiet type, start with writing an article. If you are more outgoing, start with planning an event. Go with whatever method works best for you.
You can write to Hillary at: firstname.lastname@example.org