Getting geared up for your job search should take some thought and organization. It’s not something you want to jump into without considering your options and taking the time to cover your bases. Please review the other links associated with this section and stop by the career services office for guidance, suggestions and feedback.
Make sure to review the Planning Checklists for ALL Law Students to see what activities
you could be working on right now!
A resume is your marketing brochure. It is your chance to sell an employer on taking another look at you. Your resume doesn’t have to get you the position- it just has to get you in the door! This means that your resume should be a summary (not a detailed listing) of the best you have to offer. However, it does not mean that you should misrepresent yourself or the truth. Be honest and precise.
Current law students or recent alumni do best with a one-page resume. This allows you to focus on the highlights, making sure that every word counts! If you are someone with more experience (law-related or otherwise) and you think your background will benefit you as you apply for positions, a two-page resume may work better for you. When in doubt about what to say or how to say it- stop by our office and we will be happy to help!
Good references are a MUST for any applicant. It is expected that you will ask your references if they can serve as a “positive” reference for you, before including them on your resume. (It would be disheartening to find out that someone you thought could give you a good reference was not able to do so when asked about you by an employer.)
Cover letters should accompany every application (unless you are attending a job fair or an employer eliminates the cover letter from the application). A cover letter allows employers to see your writing style first hand. A cover letter should contain the following sections:
*The Law Career Services Handbook can provide you with additional information and examples on the above topics. This resource can be obtained by stopping by the Office of Professional Development.
Thank You Letters
Thank you letters were once considered to be a nice touch. Now they are fairly standard and are expected. In your thank you letter refer to the positive aspects of the interview, perhaps mentioning a particular topic you discussed. Confirm your interest in the firm by drawing attention again to how your background could be utilized by the employer. The letter is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your communication skills.
When you have a "day" of interviews at a firm, a letter to the hiring partner and/or to the person who coordinated the interviews should be sufficient. However, if the firm is high on your list of preferred employers, a short letter to each person who spent time with you may make a difference in the selection process.
If you have specific questions, contact the Office of Professional Development.
Writing samples are a very important piece of your application. Sometimes the employers will ask for you to include writing samples along with other application materials, and other times it is best to wait until you are asked for your writing sample (because the employer already has enough paper to manage). Considering how much time it takes to read through all the writing samples an employer may receive, it makes sense that you will want it to be the best piece of writing you have to offer and you want it to be as “unedited” as possible.
NOW-the Job Search
What to do and where to begin? Now that you have your resume ready and an idea of what a cover letter should include, it makes sense to begin gathering information and determining what employers to target.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I want to practice in a particular part of the country?
Do I want to practice a particular type of law?
Am I open to any opportunity that presents itself?
What type of law firm or employer do I want to work for/with?
Asking yourself these questions will give you a better framework for understanding how to proceed.
After you’ve determined what type of employer you’re looking for, sometimes the best way to begin is to find out if any of our alumni are already employed there. You can do this by requesting alumni lists from the Office of Professional Development. Also, sending out hundreds of resumes and cover letters to firms or employers is not uncommon. Additionally, you can check firms’ sites and other job sites to see what positions are already being advertised.
For a personalized “plan of attack”, stop into the Office of Professional Development and set up