Perhaps the on-campus interview (OCI) process at your law school has gone swimmingly for you.
You dazzled the recruiters. Your resume sparkles. Now it’s just a matter of sitting back and sifting through the job offers to pick the one that’s right for you.
But what if that was not your story? What if you got no offers? Or you opted not to even participate in the OCI lottery in the first place?
Out of luck, right? You’re doomed to scramble for the crumbs that fall to the floor from the BigLaw banquet table. Or destined to don the red vest of a Lowe’s sale associates.
Not at all.
If OCI didn’t pan out for you, don’t panic. There’s plenty of time left on the clock. Most small and medium law firms don’t even get around to making offers until after graduation. Many others hire on an ad hoc, as-needed basis.
Steps for Job Success
Here is a game plan for landing the law job of your dreams:
- Think positively. It’s not the worst thing in the world to come away from OCI with no job offers. In fact, it might even be a blessing. You might well have dodged a bullet. Perhaps the interviewer saw something in you that you couldn’t see yourself – namely, that the position was not a good fit for either side. At the very least you got a real-world opportunity to polish your resume and fine-tune your interviewing skills, both of which might come in handy down the road.
- Look inward. “Start by evaluating your strengths, weaknesses and interests,” writes one law career consultant. “Think back on your professional and educational experiences. Where is the intersection between the skills you have mastered and the skills you love to exercise? When and where were you happiest? What drives you? Think about what you are — or have been — most passionate about. Assess your functional legal and non-legal skills and start doing your homework on what roles exist within your target universe.”
- Express yourself. You’ve got an impressive resume and solid references. Now go out and update your Facebook page, LinkedIn account and Twitter feed. Start a blog where you write about your unique interests and qualifications. Create a personal brand that employers will find irresistible.
- Reach out and network. Sure, it’s an old-school concept. But the truth is that the finest credentials are worthless if nobody knows who you are. So get out there and network. Create a contact list of practicing lawyers, fellow alumni, local business leaders, bar association representatives and peers who are in the same boat as you. Make a point to personally meet at least one person on that list every day.
- Look outside the box. Private practice is not the only way to go. Consider corporate in-house positions, government work or military law. Clerkships at all judicial levels are growing in popularity. Opportunities abound in law firm administration, public interest law and non-profits.
For some, OCI may be the yellow brick road. But the majority of law students are still actively looking for Oz after graduation.
So don’t despair. There are many roads to the same destination. Stay positive, be confident and don’t be afraid to ask for help – or a job.
Tell Us About Your OCI Experience
Did you go through the OCI process? What was it like? We’d love to hear from you.
Source: Mark Newall http://mashable.com/2014/01/12/new-lawyers/
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.