9 easy ways to get your job search going in 2019

by Hillary Mantis

Whether you are looking for a summer job or a job for after graduation, a new year brings an opportunity to try new ideas. Now that finals are a distant memory, it’s time to refocus your job search.

Fortunately, there’s a free and easily accessible resource that you may not have taken full advantage of to help you — your campus career services office. In my experience these offices are staffed by knowledgeable and dedicated people who can help you. They may not be legal recruiters who can actually place you, but nonetheless they offer tremendous resources which may very well land you a job in the end. Here are ways they can help you get your job search off the ground this year:

- Perfecting your resume and cover letter: It’s almost impossible to perfect your own resume without another set of eyes reading it over. Because you know your own life so well, it’s ironically hard sometimes to describe it. Likewise, it can be really awkward to compress your entire work history into three paragraphs for a cover letter. But most employers still want to see a well written cover letter.

- Spring on-campus interviews: Everyone seems to be focused on the fall interview season when the Big Law firms come on campus. But at many schools, there is a vibrant spring recruitment season as well, often focusing more on small firms and government agencies. Check it out.

- Mock interviews: Do you get nervous before interviews? Most campus career centers are happy to go through a practice trial run with you before the big day. They can sometimes also lend you a quiet space if you have a skype or phone interview coming up, that you don’t want to do from your dorm room.

- Alumni career panels: Guess who is more likely to hire you? Alumni of your alma mater. They often volunteer to come back to campus to speak on career panels. Introduce yourself at the beginning or end of the program, then look them up on LinkedIn if you want to network with them.

- Mentor programs: Alumni also participate in mentor programs, where they agree that students can contact them for networking or job shadowing. Most of the work has been done for you already by the career office that runs the program. You just have to find an alum in your targeted practice area and reach out to them.

- Job listings: Your school will have its very own database of job listings, with part-time, full-time and summer jobs, as well as listings for alumni. Often I’ve seen jobs on these databases that don’t appear anywhere else. You can generally set it up so it will email you job listings in targeted fields. It’s free-sign up for it!

Career fairs: Some schools hold large-scale career fairs with employers tabling throughout the day. Although they may not be conducting formal interviews, inevitably candidates do make connections through these events. Try to go early before it gets crowded.

Off-campus career events: Whether it’s a meet-and-greet event at a law firm or a public interest job fair, most schools advertise a variety of off campus events that students are welcome to attend — generally for free.

LinkedIn profiles: If you are not already on LinkedIn, it’s a good idea to join. Some career services offices offer free photo sessions to help you get a professional photo to use with your profile. LinkedIn can be a great way to start to connect with alums and others in your targeted field.

January is traditionally one of the biggest months of the year for hiring, so pick some new job search strategies and give them a try.

Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students and lawyers. She is director of the pre-law program at Fordham University, and author of “Alternative Careers for Lawyers.” You can reach her at altcareer@aol.com.