You’ve studied hard, aced your exams, and graduated from law school. Now all you need is a job! The profession, it is true, is competitive and you may find it overwhelming to think about pounding the pavement. However, with some forward thinking and a willingness to put in the time on an active job search, you will be on your way to landing your first job as a lawyer. Here are some tips to help organise your efforts.
Apply to Every Job that Seems a Good Fit
As a new graduate, you may have cultivated an idea over the last few years of your studies of the “perfect job” – but don’t let “the perfect” be the enemy of “the just fine.” In a competitive market, it makes the most sense to apply for every job for which you meet the terms of the position. Even if you have no intention of accepting anything other than your dream job, the application process itself may be very insightful. You may find that you don’t get interviews for jobs that you felt well-qualified for, and in this case, you may benefit from that signal to refine your cv or cover letter. If you do get interviews but don’t receive an offer, this could signal a need to improve your interview skills. And, you just might find that your perfect job comes along where you didn’t expect it!
Don’t Limit Yourself Geographically
This one can be tricky if you have a spouse or family obligations in one place, but as far as possible try not to be bound by place. The truth is that there are more jobs in cities such as London or New York than there are in St. Louis, and your chances of finding the right job increase with the size of the city. If you are offered a job in a city that you hadn’t considered or that you don’t want to live in, try to think of it as an opportunity to develop your cv so that you can eventually move to where you want to be. And the reality of your first few years as a lawyer is that you won’t be leaving your office much anyway!
Without becoming “that guy” who can’t have a conversation with anyone without it turning back to the job hunt, do make sure that you develop your networking skills and develop a sense of when there may be a lead for you to follow. Former professors, other students, people in related fields, friends who have already found a job – all of these people may have useful leads that could help you land your first job. Let people know that you are hunting and ask them for referrals. Very often, it is informal referrals that can be the difference between getting an interview and not.
It can be a challenge to land your first job as a lawyer, but perseverance is how you got through law school after all!