3 ways to get your job search going this fall

When the fall arrives with classes, how will you find the time to get your job search going? Whether you are looking for an internship for this semester or a job for next summer, or for after graduation, there’s a few easy steps to take now to get the ball rolling:

1. If looking for an internship

If you want to quickly line up a fall internship, check with career services for employers who have hired students in prior years. Make sure you are signed up for your school’s job listing database (it’s called Symplicity at many schools).

Talk to professors, especially those in your preferred practice area. They are often tapped into the job market and sometimes have connections who hire interns.

Be aware that government agencies usually hire in advance, so it may be easier to get a last minute internship in the private sector. If your school has a public interest career specialist, ask them if they know of any agencies still hiring.

2. If looking for a position for next summer

You may have already started interviewing during your school’s early interview week. If not, or even if it’s started, set up a meeting with a career services counselor to update your resume and set up a mock (practice) interview. You may need help adding the job that you finished last summer to your resume, and career counselors are very good at helping you to focus on accomplishments (and also keeping your resume to one page). They are also helpful with interview advice.

There’s nothing like getting feedback before you interview to figure out what you should focus on — those twenty-minute interviews go by fast. Tempting as it may be to just read tips on the career website or skip their meetings, there’s nothing like getting in person advice to prepare for something that may affect your future.

3. If looking for a post graduate job

If you are in your last year of law school, it’s a scary and exciting time.

Finally, the finish line is near — you are about to officially have your J.D. May is not that far away. But along with your happiness might be fears that you may not have a job lined up by then.

The good news is that the job market has been slowly improving in recent years, and that you have a lot of time to position yourself between now and graduation. Find a career counselor that works with 3Ls in your career services office and plan on meeting with them on a regular basis all year until you are set with a job.

When I worked in law school career services, many 3Ls would wait until just before they graduated to come in to the office. If you start now, you will be able to ask about relevant job web sites, alumni networking opportunities, resume and cover letter help, and on campus interviews. Consider it part of your weekly schedule to designate time to look for a job and attend events. Join the area bar association as a student member if you are planning to remain local after graduation. If you are not, ask your school for a list of alumni practicing in the city you are moving to after graduation and start networking with them now. You can email them and set up meetings for Thanksgiving break, or whenever you plan to next visit.

Focus your job search on your dream job, but also have back up areas to look in, especially if you want to go into something competitive like entertainment law. Talk to your professors you know on a regular basis-many of them practiced in the private sector before becoming professors and are still well connected. They may not know you are looking for a job. Update your LinkedIn profile (or sign up if you haven’t) and make sure to join groups that may post job listings in your practice area.

As busy as you are, the sooner you get started with your job search, the sooner you might meet someone who can connect you to your dream job.


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.