Goodwill Job Hunting

by Joshua on January 3, 2012

I remember this time of year in the LL.M. program being somewhat bittersweet. Like in law school, I had just finished finals, which meant no more long days at the library sipping gallons of coffee, surrounded by coughing, sneezing, yawning, nervous students (including students who were not in law school, but were using the law school library). Despite the end of this terrible time, I did not feel satisfied because I knew it meant that I needed to kick my job search into high gear. Although I knew that I had the time to spend on my job search, I didn’t really know what the most effective way to use this time was.

During the school year, I did what many law students and LL.M. tax students do – I went on law firm websites, looked for a partner that went to my undergraduate, law school, or LL.M. program, and emailed them my resume. This method produced a lot of what I like to call “fan mail” (i.e. rejection letters). I recall receiving at least 3 of the same “no thank you” letter from one recruiting coordinator. At one point I thought she wanted to be my pen pal.

At some point I realized that I was going to have to find a more effective way of reaching out to employers. Here are a three techniques I used to help with my job search:

1. Contact prior colleagues. One thing that I found was really helpful was contacting attorneys that I had worked with during summers or while in law school to see if they could put in a recommendation or put me in touch with a contact. For example, I sent one email to an attorney who i had worked with and who had worked at a big law firm early in her career. My email to her led to a recommendation and an eventual part-time job while I was in the LL.M program in New York City.

2. Pick up the phone. I was at lunch with one of my friends in the LL.M. program one day and he asked me how I went about my job search. He wasn’t sure how to locate firms in the area he wanted to work, so I suggested that he pull up the U.S. News Best Law Firms list and locate firms in the areas he wanted to work. Once he did that I told him he should try picking up the phone and calling those firms. Because he was looking in a smaller job market, the firms he would be a candidate for would likely not be traveling to New York to interview on campus. I suggested that placing a call would provide a personal touch and provide a quick answer to the question of whether the firm was hiring. One phone call later and my friend landed an interview and eventually a job.

3. Look for a part-time job. As a follow-up to my first suggestion, I found that having a part-time job was very helpful in landing the job I have now. First, landing a part-time job gets your foot in the door with a law firm. Second, it is a resume builder. One of the things I lacked on my resume prior to working part-time was private law firm experience. Working part-time in New York gave me valuable job experience in tax law as well as a foot in the door at a firm.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: