The following checklist may help put you at ease before meeting with a potential employer for the first time:
— Check with the employer ahead of time about whom at the firm you’ll be meeting with and find out some professional information about the person(s) that you can use to your advantage in conversation during the meeting.
— Understand what the meeting will entail. For example, will it be a formal meeting at the employer’s location or a short meeting for coffee? Is the purpose of the meeting to find out information about the firm, or are you going on a formal interview to be considered for a job or internship?
— Be punctual and avoid anything that could make you late.
— Err on the side of being conservative and formal in your demeanor, dress, and presentation.
— No matter how relaxed you may be at the meeting or how friendly the potential employer may be, be sure to stay professional and courteous. Remember that you’re trying to make a first impression as a professional — act like one!
— Show enthusiasm: ask pointed questions about the position, the firm, or the employer. Prepare those questions ahead of time, and avoid “canned” questions by doing some specific research about the employer before your meeting.
— Be prepared to answer questions the employer may have. Have your “career Sound Bytes” ready for some of the most frequently asked questions, such as:
Why should we hire you?
What do you know about our firm?
What makes you stand out among other applicants?
Why did you decide to go to law school?
What are some of your interests?
— Bring with you extra copies of anything that the potential employer may ask for, including business cards or other contact information, your resume, your references and a writing sample.
By Ursula Furi-Perry