A new year offers a lot of new opportunities. Here are some easy ways to get back into the swing of things as you resume your job search after the holidays.
- Create or update a LinkedIn profile. If you are a student, you may not see the need to have a LinkedIn profile yet. But it can really help you land networking opportunities and interviews. Two especially great features of LinkedIn can help you do this — the alumni search feature, where you can search for alums of your school; and the connections section, where you can see if any of your contacts (or their contacts) have worked at an employer that interests you. Having any sort of “in” can help you get an interview. If you already have a profile, update it now and add more contacts.
- Have your resume and cover letter critiqued. Have you met with your career services office to have your resume and cover letter critiqued? Has it been a while? If so, contact career services and set up an appointment to have your latest resume and cover letter critiqued. Go early before they get super busy with the spring semester. You can also look on the web page of your career center for examples of sample resumes and cover letters to get you started.
- Line up your recommenders. If you will be applying for summer internships or permanent post-graduation jobs, no doubt you will be asked for references. If your references are from jobs you held a long time ago, get back in touch with them and update them about your current career goals. Let them know if they are about to get a call from a potential employer, so you can tell them about the position. Think about additional recommenders that you can add to your list.
- Get in touch with professors. Is there a professor that might have ideas or contacts for your job search? You might be surprised with how well connected they are. I’ve known many law students over the years who have found an internship or job through an employer that their professor suggested. The start of the semester is an ideal time to get in touch with them to say hello, and ask if they have any suggestions, especially if you want to go into the practice area in which they specialize.
- Add something new to your resume. As the semester starts, there is a lot going on at school. Is there a new club you could join? A student blog that you could contribute to? A professor who is looking for a research assistant? An opportunity for volunteer work? If so, this is a great opportunity to make your resume look more current, by adding something new to it.
- Meet with alumni. You can find alumni either through LinkedIn or your school’s online alumni directory, or through alumni mentor programs offered by your school. While you may be intimidated to reach out to them, they might be thrilled to hear from you. Many alumni are always looking for ways to reconnect with their alma mater — and many love to talk with current students.
- Consider taking a career test. If you are having trouble figuring out what type of job or practice area would make you happy, you may want to take some career self-assessment inventories. Most likely, your career services office may even offer them. Some schools even offer them online. There are many career “tests” out there which can help steer you in the right direction. Many people take the New Year as a way to reassess their interests and goals — why not you?
Hillary Mantis works with law students, pre-law students and lawyers. She is director of the pre-law program at Fordham University and author of career books, including “Alternative Careers For Lawyers.” You can reach her at email@example.com.