Say “Thank You”, and Other Advice for Legal Job Seekers

Rachel J. Littman, Esq.

How to stand out in a buyer’s market? You can spend a small fortune on job-finding books, but the assistant dean of career development at Pace Law School sums it up for you with 11 simple tips:

1. Be flexible – You may not be able to secure the job of your dreams on the first (or even third) try. Map out the skills that are important to your ideal job, and be flexible and open to opportunities that can help you build those skills and create connections towards your goal.

2. Show an employer why they should hire you – Highlight relevant skills and experience. Once at work, be proactive in seeking assignments; work hard, ask questions, and solicit constructive feedback.

3. Do your homework – Research areas of practice and particular potential employers. Be as prepared as you can for interviews and your assignments. At work, ask about outside reading or CLEs you could attend to improve your knowledge of a particular area.

4. Create tailored cover letters and resumes – Researching an employer, as well as the industry or practice area, will help you create the best cover letter and resume.

5. Build a network of references – Networking is STILL the best way to land a job. You need as many allies as you can to create a useful network of people who can vouch for you and your work quality, and to help pass your resume along to potential employers.

6. Be a self-starter – Being capable, confident, and proactive at work is the best way to ensure that you have a steady work flow and are valued for your contributions.

7. The practice of law – Learn the business of the practice of law, whether it is in private practice, government or public interest.

8. Gain as much experience as possible – That will give you an edge and make you valuable for your first, second and succeeding jobs.

9. Follow-up is important – Follow up on leads, references, and interviews to express your interest and to maintain contacts.

10. Always say “thank you”! – This is true for interviews, referrals, and positive feedback on your work.

11. Once again, be flexible – You may not be able to secure the job of your dreams on the first (or even third) try. Map out the skills that are important to your ideal job, and be flexible and open to opportunities that can help you build those skills and create connections towards your goal.

Rachel J. Littman, Esq.
rlittman@law.pace.edu
Copyright 2009. Reprinted with the permission of Pace Law School

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