I was recently contacted by a law school graduate who is in the process of looking for a job. She had several concerns about her writing sample, her resume and cover letter. She was right to be concerned about the state of these documents. If they are in good form and catch the recruiter’s attention, she is likely to get that all important interview. Of course Tantamount can help polish all of these documents so she feels confident in her submissions and makes a great first impression on prospective employers. Talking to her reminded me of several tips all law school graduates looking for a job and law students looking for an internship should remember.
- Emphasize a unique quality that will make recruiters want to meet with you and find out more about you. So you don’t have a unique quality? Your mother would probably disagree. But if you really don’t think you are unique, make your cover letter unique and clever. You don’t want to go too far and seem weird or quirky, just enough to grab their attention.
- Have your cover letter tailored to the law firm, government agency or company and say something complementary about them therein. This will require research on your part and Martindale-Hubbell is a good starting point.
- Internships often lead to post-graduation job offers so be selective in choosing with whom you spend those all-important two summers. This is especially true for the second year internship. Did you absolutely hate your internship and loathe the thought of returning? That’s okay. Hopefully you left on good terms and will be able to secure a letter of recommendation from them. If they seem miffed that you aren’t returning, tell them you appreciate the time you had with them but that you want to get some experience in a different area of the law.
- Figure out where you ultimately want to end up in your legal career. It may take several steps to get there, but if you have a long-term goal to strive for, you are less likely to lose your way.
- And finally, find a mentor, the sooner the better. This person can be anyone in the legal field who knows you, likes you, and is willing to offer advice based on their own years of experience in the legal profession. Most lawyers love to talk and give their opinions, so this should not be a hard goal to achieve. Look to your professors or family friends who know a lawyer. Still uncomfortable? Return to your home town and contact the local bar association. They should have some good suggestions for you on who would be willing to mentor you.