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Tip 1: Take Advantage of Holiday Gatherings
Job opportunities and connections to those who may be hiring are closer than you think…but only if you ask effectively! Use holiday gatherings and festivities as a chance to let people know:
1) Who you are,
2) What kind of employers and opportunities you are targeting, and
3) What you are looking to accomplish in your legal career.
Where are these opportunities? Local or state bar associations often have holiday functions which students may attend. Law firms also host holiday functions, particularly for 1Ls or diverse candidates. Also, don’t overlook the chance to volunteer at your local charity; you will often find others with the same interests giving back to their community over the holidays. Check CareerLink, law firm websites, and bar association websites for winter break events open to students.
Tip 2: Craft Your Pitch
Speaking of asking effectively, you need to have your pitch down so that you don’t look like a deer in headlights when someone asks you what you want to do. Being able to quickly and convincingly articulate your skills, interests, and accomplishments is key to presenting yourself in a compelling and focused manner. For guidance on crafting your pitch, see OCPD’s How to Create Your Elevator Speech in the Interviewing & Networking section of the Resources Library on the OCPD Website.
Tip 3: Effectively Use Your Pitch
Once you’ve crafted your pitch, you need to put it into action at holiday events and during informational interviews. This is the dreaded “networking” – but it can be easier than you think! All you’re really doing is building relationships by using your contacts to lead you to more contacts in order to establish valuable relationships, gain insight into your area of interest, and ultimately secure a job. For more details on how to create your networking game plan, see our Art of Networking guide in the Interviewing & Networking section of the Resources Library on the OCPD Website.
Tip 4: Set Up Informational Interviews
Since people may have more time during the holidays, you should request informational interviews with alumni who practice in the areas you wish to pursue. The purpose of an informational interview is to gather information and make contacts, NOT to ask for a job! Your goals are to: (1) learn more about your practice area of interest; and (2) gain contacts, leads on opportunities, and potential mentors. You should be prepared to ask questions that drive the interview. For guidance on informational interviews, see the Take the Work out of Networking: Informational Interviews guide in the Interviewing & Networking section of the Resources Library on the OCPD Website.
Tip 5: Review Your Resume & Cover Letter
Your resume and cover letter must be error free! Review your materials carefully before they are sent, ask a friend to proofread them, and meet with an OCPD career counselor to review your documents. Don’t forget the basics such as adding or updating your GPA and adding a brief or student organization that you’ve joined. You can also add spring internships on your resume now to demonstrate experiences you will have. For resume examples and cover letter guidance, check out the Job Applications Documents link on the OCPD Website.
NOTE: Please note that AUWCL (and therefore, OCPD) will be closed from Wednesday, December 24 through Friday, January 2. We will return to the office on Monday, January 5. In the meantime, feel free to access CareerLink to request an individual counseling appointment on or after Tuesday, January 6 or take advantage of our extended drop in hours resuming on Monday, January 5.
If you are still undecided on which practice areas interest you most, visit OCPD to review Practice Perspectives: Vault’s Guide to Legal Practice Areas.
Image from Vault.com
Also, be sure to take advantage of your online access to Vault Career Insider. Login instructions can be accessed through your CareerLink home page.
If you are interested in learning how to use LinkedIn to its full potential to help advance your legal career, come check out OCPD’s newest resource, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers by Dennis Kennedy and Allison Shields. The book is available now in both the OCPD Resource Library and Pence Law Library.
Congratulations on successfully making it through exams this spring! As you prepare to start your summer internship, be sure to check out OCPD’s Ten Tips for a Successful Summer, which is available in the CareerLink Document Library.
Are you considering practicing law in a small or rural area? Come check out OCPD’s new resource, Becoming a Rural Lawyer, by Bruce M. Cameron. For more on Bruce Cameron and the practice of “small town law,” check out the author’s website, Rurallawyer.com.
Are you interested in working for a corporation this summer? Check out OCPD’s new resource, “Corporate Counsel Offices That Currently Offer Legal Internships or Have Offered Legal Internships in the Past.” Interning for a corporation is one of the best ways to open the door to post-graduate in-house opportunities. You can find the resource in the “Document Library” under the “Resources” tab in CareerLink.