Four ways to de-stress during fall interviewing season

Do you feel like you are the only one not getting interviews this fall on campus? Let’s face it: Law School can be a pressure cooker, especially at this time of year, when it seems like everyone’s going on interviews and talking about offers.

Fall on-campus interview season — or OCI — presents quite the pressure. With some law firm salaries climbing up to a new record of $180,000, there’s a lot at stake. If you get interviews, you have a mere 20 minutes to impress the interviewer. If you don’t get interviews, you have to watch, filled with envy, as your peers walk around in suits.

You are definitely not the only one feeling the stress. And you are also not the only one not getting offers. But how do you survive this stressful time?

1. Law school interviews don’t end with OCI. The hiring of summer and entry-level associates continues throughout the year. The big firms usually show up on law school campuses in August, large government agencies and mid-size firms follow, and smaller firms and non-profits often don’t hire until spring. So hiring does not end now. In fact, it’s barely begun.

2. Keep in mind your own end goals. While big law is tempting, it’s not for everyone, and it may not be right for you. If you went to law school because you want to be a prosecutor, or work for a non-profit, don’t let peer pressure divert you from your ultimate goals. Wait for the openings at the places you have always wanted to work. So often, when I meet with unhappy practicing lawyers for career counseling, they tell me that they grabbed the first offer they got, and they didn’t think about whether it was something that actually fit their long-term interests.

3. The job market seems to be getting better. After years of struggling, the economy appears to be turning around, and hiring seems to be headed in the right direction. While it may not be back to where it was when times were booming, it’s definitely looking more promising. There are also alternative legal careers available, such as compliance, where there is plenty of growth happening. There’s reason to believe that as the year goes by, there will continue to be new opportunities.   

4. There are a lot of other ways to get interviews beyond OCI. Continue looking at your school’s online job listings, and also the commercial sites, where job listings will be posted throughout the year. Keep networking through your internship supervisors, professors, alumni of your law school and even alumni of your undergrad. There is a whole department of career counselors in your law school, ready to help you brainstorm, practice interviewing and fine-tune your resume. There are a lot of people available, and resources to take advantage of to really help you reduce the pressure you are feeling at this time of year.

--

Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students, and lawyers about career and admissions issues. She is Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University and author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers. You  can reach Hillary at altcareer@aol.com.