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Making the Most of Your Winter Break

As the semester is winding down, it is important to think about ways to make the most out of your time off over winter break. These few weeks off provide a great opportunity for you to work on your career plans without the time demands that you face throughout the semester.

Here are several things to do over winter break to make effective use of your time.

Finalize your resume and cover letter. You’ve probably already met with your career coach (and if you haven’t yet, try to fit it in before break!). Use your down time to make sure your resume and cover letter are polished, incorporate suggestions from your career coach, and be ready to hit the ground running in January.

Set up informational interviews. Winter break is a great time to meet with professionals in the field(s) that interest you.  Start researching employers as soon as possible, then contact them to set up a time to meet during your break.  Keep in mind that many people take time off over the holidays, so the sooner you contact them to schedule a meeting, the better.  Also, try to be as flexible as possible as to the day and time of your meeting to make it convenient for the professional.  Don’t forget to follow up by sending a personal note to the person who took the time to meet with you.

Set up a job shadowing opportunity. Ever wonder what asset securitization lawyers do all day? Following one around might be the perfect opportunity to determine what type of practice you’re drawn to.

Join professional associations. Affiliating with professional associations provides access to networking contacts, educational opportunities, and information about local job markets.  Consider a student membership to the American Bar Association, your local bar association, and other specialty bars such as the American Intellectual Property Association or an association of women attorneys.  Most groups have a minimal cost for student membership.

Create a master job search “to do” list and develop a job search tracking method. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or Word chart, including the name of the employer, contact information, date of application, and notes on follow-up.  See page 41 of your Career Planning Guide for an example.

Visit prospective employers – If you are applying for jobs at home, your winter break is a good time to follow up in person with potential employers.  An in-person visit to the employer’s office can leave a lasting impression and can make you stand out from other candidates.  Of course, you want to make sure that you are leaving a positive lasting impression, so be sure to dress professionally and be considerate of the employer’s time.

Check e-mail and Symplicity over break. The OCPD staff will continue to update job postings over break and may send out emails with important announcements.

This article and more detailed advice can be found in the OCPD weekly newsletters:

1L Newsletter4

2L Newsletter11

3L Newsletter11

Use Thanksgiving to Help Your Job Search…

If you’re going home for Thanksgiving, here are three effortless things you can do to further your job search.

You might be asking, how can Thanksgiving dinner help with my job search? Can’t I just enjoy my turkey and football and not think about the job market for one day? Of course you can.  But there are a couple of simple things you can do that don’t require leaving the comfort of your home – you never know what might pay off!

First, tell people that you are looking for a job. You should be doing this anyway.  Your kooky Aunt Sally might just happen to know someone in the field of your interest.

Second, share what you’ve been learning.  You can pull this off without seeming obnoxious.  For example, if the turkey is dry, don’t start talking about what section of the UCC you can sue under.  But if there’s a subject you enjoy, getting into a debate with your cousins about it might just highlight an area of practice that interests you and help you focus your job search.

Finally, manage the expectations of your family and friends. Are you feeling pressure from them about the job search? Do their expectations seem unrealistic? Be up front about your plan and tell them about your strategy.

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the holiday! Take the time to listen to what’s going on in other people’s lives and get some perspective on life outside of law school.

More information is included in the OCPD weekly newsletters, available here:

1L Newsletter2

2L Newsletter9

3L Newsletter9

Networking 101

This is a recent article from our OCPD Weekly Newsletter, sent to 2Ls and 3Ls.

You’ve heard it over and over again.  Networking is the key to success. Networking will help you find a job.

If one more person tells you networking will solve all your problems, you’ll scream!

Take a step back. Think about all that networking entails.  It is a skill – much like analyzing a case or presenting an argument.  Like all skills, these take education, practice, and time to develop.

Networking is not just about finding a job. It’s about building relationships.  This is a skill that you will use throughout your professional career.  Employers – whether law firms, government, or public interest – expect law graduates to not only have excellent analytical skills and writing ability, but also be able to develop connections with coworkers, clients, and potential clients.  By building rapport with colleagues, community members, and other professionals, you begin to establish the trust that is the foundation of a business relationship.

You already do a lot of networking. Are you on Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? These sites are about building relationships.  People who are active in social networking generally enjoy personal engagement, enjoy getting to know people.

Nevertheless, you’re not going to get very far if you limit yourself to online networking.  You have to get out there, attend professional events, volunteer, take part in community activities.  Just show up.

Once you’re there, here are some tips for “working the room.”  The more events you attend and the more actively you participate, the more skills you will build.  As you get more comfortable in this type of environment, you will see that building relationships gets easier. Who knows, it might even turn out to be fun!

Have something to talk about. If you’re going to an event sponsored by a specific group, see if that group has been in the news lately (it’s easy to run a news search on Lexis or WestLaw). If you know who is going to be there, read up on their bios. Keep up on what’s going on locally – what are people talking about outside of the law school bubble?  None of these things may come up in conversation, but you’ll feel more at ease knowing you have something to break an awkward silence.

LISTEN.  This may be the most obvious, but hardest to do. You’re nervous, you’re thinking about the next thing you want to say in the conversation. Focus on what the person is saying and let the conversation flow naturally.

Get over your distaste for “small talk.” Small talk is the foundation of any relationship. How did you meet your significant other? Chances are you didn’t immediately start out with discussion of serious issues like money and children. Small talk allows you to find the connection on which you will build a deeper relationship.

Finally, DON’T check your Blackberry/iPhone, text anyone, or look at your phone in the middle of a conversation. Nothing says “I’m not interested in what you’re saying” more than this.  If you check your messages out of nervous habit, leave the phone at home (or in the car, at the very least).

This week’s student newsletters are available in their entirety here:

 

3L Newsletter6

2L Newsletter6

 

September 30, 2011 Student Newsletters

This week’s 2L and 3L Career Updates are now available. Don’t miss the latest career advice, job postings, and other important information!

3L Newsletter – 9/30/11

2L Newsletter – 9/30/11

September 15, 2011 Student Newsletters

Check out the latest Career Planning Updates for information on fellowships and 2L job search myths, in addition to recent job postings, articles of interest, and upcoming deadlines.

3L Newsletter – 9/15/11

2L Newsletter – 9/15/11

3L Career Services Newsletter: December 21, 2009

In this week’s issue:

  • Job Highlights:
    o 2010-2011 Capital Fellows, California Senate Fellows Program, Sacramento State Center for California Studies – Deadline is February 24th. See the Government Honors Handbook for more details.
    o US Department of Justice Tax Division is currently hiring civil trial attorneys and criminal prosecutors – Deadline for applying is January 11th.
  • Bar Info:
    o Please make sure you check your state’s bar admissions policies and review the application process over the break. This process is time-consuming and varied. Now is the time to focus on getting your bar applications in.
    o Having trouble deciding which state bar to take? Visit www.ncbex.org and find the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements. Find out which bars have reciprocity with other bars, waive-in requirements, and other helpful information that may assist you in deciding which state bar to take.
  • What should you being doing over winter break? Continue reading »

3L Career Services Newsletter: December 11, 2009

In this week’s issue:
• It’s time to apply for the state bar exams!!!!! Beware of upcoming deadlines!
• Law Student Writing Competition of the Court of Federal Claims Bar Association – Deadline December 31, 2009
REMINDERS:

  • Please remember to periodically check Symplicity for Job Postings!!
  • If you are feeling frustrated with your job search, please schedule an appointment with career services advisor!!!!!!!!!!!! Continue reading »

2L Career Services Newsletter: December 11, 2009

In this week’s issue:

• Law Student Writing Competition of the Court of Federal Claims Bar Association – Deadline December 31, 2009
• 2010 State Government Internship Program – Deadline January 20, 2010
• Timap International Internship Opportunity
REMINDER: Do not forget to check Symplicity regularly throughout your winter break and if you are feeling frustrated with your job search, please set up an appointment with your career advisor!!!!!!! Dian Smith is the career advisor for 2Ls whose last name ends with (A – K) and Kala Taylor is the career advisor for 3Ls; however, feel free to make an appointment with anyone in the office to discuss your job search. Continue reading »

1L Career Services Newsletter: December 1, 2009

In this week’s issue:

1. Q&A – What should I be doing with my job search right now?
2. Symplicity – Jobs Section (*several upcoming deadlines)
3. Symplicity – OCI or Resume Collect section
4. Writing Competition – The Court of Federal Claims Bar Association – Deadline December 31, 2009
5. North Carolina State Government Internship Program – Deadline January 20, 2010
6. International Internship Opportunity – Deadline January 31, 2010 Continue reading »

Career Services Newsletter: November 25, 2009

• Upcoming 2L Government Honors Deadlines
• Upcoming 3L Government Honors Deadlines
• 2010 EPA Region 5 Honors Attorney Fellowship Continue reading »