Think about areas of expertise or types of law-related work you’ve always been interested in but never got to experience much in school.
Recent graduates and those in their final years of law school are often looking forward to finding their first post-graduate jobs. Job markets can be competitive, but here are six tips for finding a job after law school.
Networking is a vital skill for any job seeker, so don’t hesitate to develop relationships within and outside your chosen field and your areas of expertise. You should seek to network both online and in person whenever possible. LinkedIn is a particularly effective online networking tool, and for in-person networking, you can attend various events or join a local bar association or law club. You should seek out and cultivate relationships with all sorts of people in law-related fields in your area, such as attorneys, paralegals and court reporters in Seattle, for example, or whatever major city you live close to.
2. Keep an Eye on the Big Picture
While it can be tempting to try to apply to every job you find and to constantly refresh the job board websites, you should pace yourself. Find ways to avoid focusing on your immediate needs and manage your stress and anxiety. Take the time to really research the jobs available to you and the organizations that are posting those jobs. You don’t want to jump at the first job offer you get only to find you’re not happy at that organization or that the job simply isn’t right for you. Taking your time and allowing yourself to focus on other things besides your job hunt is healthy and will help you find success.
3. Hone Your Skills
While you’re looking for your job, you should also be seeking to improve on your current skills and learn new ones. Think about areas of expertise or types of law-related work you’ve always been interested in but never got to experience much in school. You can also consider the types of legal work that may complement your chosen career path or area of expertise. You can also pay attention to trends and work on skills related to industry trends and booming sectors.
4. Meet with Career Counselors
Not only should you network with professionals in law-related fields and alumni networks, but you should also speak one-on-one with career counselors at your law school. These counselors can assist you during your time as a student and point you in the right direction or directions after you graduate. Counselors stay aware of the current and developing trends in the law industry and through your meetings with them can get to know you and your interests and desires. Knowing these things will help them pinpoint specific organizations, job opportunities and other resources that are most likely to help you.
5. Find Pro Bono Work in Your Chosen Field
There are a few ways to find pro bono work. You can find a pro bono firm that allows volunteers or you can get in touch with your state’s bar association to seek a mentorship and pro bono work program. Pro bono work can function similarly to an internship. The organization you work for may be more likely to hire those already working for them or to provide you with a reference, and you gain helpful real-world experience.
6. Track Job Market Trends
Rather than doing a broad search on multiple job boards, you should choose a few well-established law-related job boards and check them regularly. The American Bar Association has a career center, and there are also career resources on the bar association websites of each state. You can also find good opportunities via recruiters and your university’s alumni association. All of these resources also provide information and news on the industry and trends within that industry, which can help you determine the best locations or types of jobs available to you.
Searching for your first job is something many people find nerve-wracking, but with these tips in your toolbox, you can be better prepared to face the job market and discover opportunities.
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