By Hillary Mantis
School is over. You don’t have a summer job yet, or you are trying to line up a job for fall. The job market’s still slow. How can you keep your job search going while the rest of the world is on vacation? Here are some easy ways to start:
1. Check in with your Career Services Office: Your law school career services office is open all summer. Usually these offices are a bit quieter when classes are not in session. Keep in touch with them, and let them know that you are still looking. I have seen law students land jobs even in July. This would be a good time to also go in and see them for a resume tune up, and to make sure you are doing everything you should be doing.
2. Network with Alumni: Networking with alumni of your law school and perhaps your undergrad is a good idea at this time of year. This is a great time to attend college reunions, law school events, and reach out to alumni working in areas that interest you. People may be slower at work, and have more time to talk to you. It’s probably more likely that they will open your email. You can locate alumni through your school’s online alumni directory, your law school’s Linked In group (you should join if you haven’t already), and search engines like Martindale-Hubbell. Just make sure you write to each alum individually, and focus on your connection to them.
3. Write an article: If you don’t have a job, perhaps you can write a law related entry for your law school’s blog, or write an article for publication on the area of law you want to find a job in—this will give you credibility, serve as credential, and possibly allow you to interview people in the field that can connect you to others.
4. Volunteer: If you have not yet landed paid employment, you can still volunteer on a part-time basis for a legal organization, or even a non-legal nonprofit that does work which interests you. It will give you something to put on your resume, and enable you to network, and learn something new while you continue to look for paid employment. I have seen volunteer work lead to a job offer many, many times over the years that I have counseled students.
5. If you are studying for the bar exam: If you just graduated from law school and are starting to study, you can still keep up a limited job search over the summer. Obviously, the bar exam should be your main priority. Law is a profession that requires a license, and that is certainly one test you don’t want to have to take again if you can help it. But, the beginning of the summer is not so bad, study wise. You can at least bookmark all of the major job websites, and keep sending out your resume. Chances are, not everyone else in your position will be actively looking, so perhaps there will be less competition.
Maybe you can even do a little bit of networking while you study. For example, I recently attended a job search seminar at which a career counselor I know suggested you carry your Bar Review books with you to Starbucks, on the train, or wherever you are studying. Lawyers will no doubt see them, and strike up a conversation with you. I’ve done this myself, when I have seen someone in Starbucks studying a Bar Review outline in the middle of July. You can exchange cards, and get in touch with them after the exam, when you have more time to network.
You can write to Hillary at firstname.lastname@example.org