Help: I’m about to graduate and have no job lined up. What should my next steps be?

It’s a tough market for new associates this year, and things can look bleak if you’re unfortunate enough not to have a job at graduation. Here are some tips to get you started:

•    Come up with a concrete job search plan and put everything in writing. Assess your strengths, interests and career goals. Pinpoint potential employers and come up with a schedule for your job search, detailing how much time you’ll spend accomplishing related tasks, such as attending networking events or sending out resumes. Then, hold yourself to your plan.
•    If you haven’t already done so, contact your law school’s career services office as soon as possible. Present your job search plan to a career counselor and talk with the counselor about your options, your resume, cover letter and writing samples and leads and recommendations.
•    Stay flexible. Keep an open mind about potential job opportunities — you may have to reconsider your first preferences and consider various new options. Don’t be afraid to take a job that isn’t everything you’ve ever wanted, and use every job as an opportunity to learn, grow and mold your career.
•    If you can afford it, consider applying for an unpaid position in your area of interest, to gain experience while you continue searching for paid positions.
•    Network. Go out and meet lawyers, attend seminars and social functions and build your professional relationships.
•    Be proactive about your job search. Stay informed about the field and about employment opportunities, and don’t wait for a job offer to find you.