GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona
Job search during finals, are you kidding me? Though Reading Week has arrived, and I am frantically trying to reassure myself that I am prepared and ready to take practice exams, and my actual exams in less than a week. If you are like me, your focus will be exclusively on finals, but don’t forget that with the arrival of December 1 it also means that we can start submitting applications to firms in an attempt to secure our 1L summer positions.
It is VERY accurate that paid 1L positions are rare, but there are a ton of unpaid opportunities out there allowing us to gain experience while also giving back. Many of us will spend our summers working for non-profits, clerking for judges or by supporting government agencies. So rather than wasting your winter break hitting refresh to see if grades have posted, prepare your application materials, update or create your LinkedIn page, and take a proactive approach to land your summer legal position.
First, get your application materials together
This will typically be a resume, cover letter and a writing sample (be sure to pay attention to page limits). The great thing is you can use the resume that you prepared for law school applications, as a jumping off point for your resume. Be sure to update your resume with your law school and add any awards you received, plus be sure to mention when your GPA can be expected. There are a lot of great resources out there for you to find example cover letters, and resumes, but be sure to book some time with your career services for any extra help or advice.
Next, update or create your LinkedIn
If you do not already have a LinkedIn account, now is the time to create one. LinkedIn can be an excellent tool for networking, learning more about law firms, and establishing your personal brand. If you aren’t sure where to start here is a recently published article from Above the Law to get you started. I have used LinkedIn this semester to build my network as I met with people who have visited my law school for lunchtime chats and to connect with visiting students. This has already paid off, as I have received leads on 1L positions! If you’d like to add me to your network, feel free to connect to me!
Finally, reach out to Employers
There are a variety of different ways to do this. Most people will just send their cover letters, resumes and writing samples and wait for a response. That is a sound approach, but don’t be afraid to be a bit more proactive. You can list your resume on career sites like Monster and Career Builder, and do not forget about your law school’s career website. You will likely to need to have a presence on your school’s career site for Spring OCI, so take advantage of winter break to get your account established and to reach out to employers.
In many cases, your school should be your first place to look for opportunities, however, I am also excited to let you know about a new BarBri website to help you look for a job that is just for law students, The Law Preview Job Network. Be sure to check out the link and establish your account today.
As a final point, do not forget the value of face to face contact and try to visit law firms. This is a great move, especially if you will be home for the holidays and you know you want to find employment in that city. Get out there be seen! Good luck on your finals and job search and I will see you next semester!