Well, stop worrying and start taking action! The summertime is a great time to jumpstart your search.
I know, it seems like everyone is away the beach, but that’s simply not true. Lots of people are stuck in the office!
Here are six suggestions that will put you in a great job-hunting position come Fall:
Six Suggestions for Jumpstarting Your Job Search this Summer
- Get your application materials together, and ask for help. It goes without saying that your résumé and cover letter and, if necessary, writing sample need to be perfect by the time you apply for jobs. Do not leave this for the last minute! How many jobs applications have been sunk because of typos introduced the night before in a manic editing session? Go ahead and do a final version now. Then ask for help from your career services office, trusted mentors, etc. to make things even better.
- Take advantage of the slower work pace to do some quality networking. Let’s be realistic, most people don’t want to work as hard in the summer! You can use this to your advantage by inviting people you would like to get to know for coffee or lunch. They’re much more likely to say yes now than in the end-of-the-year rush (especially in a firm, when everyone will be trying to hit their yearly billables in December). Aim to set up one informational interview a week from now until you go back to school. It’s not a ton of effort, but can pay large dividends later on.
- Hit up some summer social events for quantity networking. I remember summering in New Your City, and it seemed like there was a legal social event almost every day. From gala balls, to lunchtime CLEs and affinity group Happy Hours, there was always something going on. This is a great opportunity to drop in on a new crowd and see what comes of it. If things don’t work out, you’ll still have enough daylight for a drink with friends!
- Critically evaluate your current job situation. If you’re doing legal work this summer, take some time to critically evaluate how things are going. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and not really stop to look around. But think about it! Do you enjoy the type of work you’re doing? What specifically do you like or not like? Is there enough work to keep you busy? Do you like everyone else that you work with? Do they seem committed to their jobs? Are they happy? Would you be happy working in this environment for the long term? If so, perhaps that determines what classes you’ll take. If not, think about other directions you might wish to explore. Whether your experience is great, or awful, put it to good use. Let it inform the rest of your law school career, and it can help position you for the job you really want.
- Line up your helpers. There’s a good chance you’ll need recommendations (letters or personal references) when you start looking for a full-time job. If you’re working now, go ahead and lay the groundwork. Drop by the office of people you worked with this summer just to stay at the top of their minds. Collect your work product, so you have it to refresh memories later if necessary. You might even want to talk with the HR folks about how the recommendation process would work. (The exception here, obviously, is if there’s an expectation that your current position will lead to permanent work. In that case, you don’t want to imply you’re looking for another job!)
- Dream a little. What better time than summer to brainstorm and dream about the sort of job and career you would like to have? Even if it seems fantastical, let yourself envision your ideal path. Then, when the days start to darken and chill, you’ll have something to work on!
Follow even a few of these suggestions, and I think you’ll find your job search progress accelerating. Good luck!
What tips do other people have? How should law students be thinking about and working on their careers this summer?
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Here are some other helpful posts:
- Project a Consistent Image
- When Networking, Ask for Help!
- What Makes You Unique?
- How to Handle Difficult Feedback
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