The Law Student’s Job Hunt Survival Guide

As law school comes to a close, many students fear the job hunt that is about to ensue. And unfortunately, there could be several other times in your life when you have to brave the weather yet again to find a new job. For any individual, running from interview to interview, keeping up with emails, and finding new prospects can be stressful and draining. Luckily, this small job hunt survival guide can help you get through it.

Any successful job hunt starts with the proper preparation to give you all the necessary tools to take on applications, interviews, networking, and so on. The following survival tips will help you prepare and execute a job hunt that is organized, successful, and relatively easy.

OCI The Law Students Job Hunt Survival GuideSurvival Tip #1: Perfect Your Resume

No job hunt can take off without a great resume in hand. Before you even apply to a single place, make sure your resume is up to date, carefully worded, and a showcase of your greatest talents and achievements. Without a resume like this, there’s little point in looking for a job because there’s nothing to get your foot in the door. Furthermore, having a piece of paper that lists your education and work experience isn’t enough these days, either. Your resume shouldn’t look like any old resume, or you risk blending in and having your resume lost or forgotten. Find ways to design a clean but intriguing resume that jumps off the page and catches the attention of hiring managers. Potential employers will notice the hard work and dedication you’ve put into your resume and they’ll be sure to start calling you up.

Survival Tip #2: Hone Your Interview Skills

You might look good on paper, but making a great impression in person is something else entirely. Talk to your law school’s career services for information on interview skills. Talk to your professors about what law firms are typically looking for in candidates and ask them to practice with you. Being able to answer difficult questions without hesitation, breaking a sweat, or breaking down completely will be important once you’re in the hot seat. Keep in mind that interviewing is about more than the firm and position you’ve applied to; it’s about networking and possibly getting interviews at other firms. A person that interviews well but ultimately isn’t the right fit for the firm could mean your interviewee could make a few calls on your behalf. Therefore, brush up on your public speaking skills and find ways to keep your cool under pressure. A great interview can lead to many great opportunities.

Survival Tip #3: Stay Organized

In the midst of a job hunt, papers can get scrambled, emails can get lost, and your contacts might be forgotten. Make sure you stay organized during the entire process so you’re never caught off guard when a hiring manager calls you three months after you’ve applied. It happens, and you don’t want to sound uninterested or surprised. Employers will appreciate the organization, especially if they have lengthy interview processes, and it’s a skill that’s sure to carry over to your work ethic. Keep spreadsheets of which firms you’ve applied to, how you applied (mail-in or email application), when you applied, and who your main contact should be. Also, jot down any relevant information like “John’s uncle’s firm” so you can keep your contacts in the loop. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of whether or not you’ve followed up with the firm and how long it’s been since you heard back from them. Just because you haven’t heard from a hiring manager, it doesn’t mean you’ve been rejected. Sometimes, a simple phone call can be enough to start the interview process back up and get you into their offices. Keep everything organized during your job hunt and there should be little left to question or surprise.

Survival Tip #4: Manage Your Online Reputation

Job hunts aren’t always about what you’ve written on a piece of paper or how you’ve answered a series of questions. With social media becoming ever-popular and with it’s penchant for becoming a platform of self-expressions, hiring managers are starting to learn that you can find a lot out about a candidate from their Facebook and Twitter accounts. And while you should still use social media to connect with friends and share pictures, you should do so with appropriateness and professionalism. Don’t block your profiles completely, as they can still be used in your favor so long as you make sure you don’t have any black marks that can get your application thrown right out the window.

While you hunt for the right job after law school, the pressure of too many applications, crafting a great resume, and dealing with difficult interview questions can really start to sink in. Remember the four survival tips above to get through your job hunt with as little pain as possible.

Written by Pete Wise for the Douglas and London Law Firm; whom represent clients across the entire US, taking on cases noone else will. They have decades of experience as an law firm in New York and it translates into the courtroom.