The post-graduation job search for graduating students is undoubtedly one of the most, if not the most, stressful times of law school. Anxiety and nerves skyrocket in the winter, when many start to believe the clock is ticking for finding employment after graduation. But hope should not be lost.
For those students without an offer, there is no set time window for finding employment, and it is never too late. The government, public interest employers, and many small and medium-sized firms often hire later in the spring semester. Also, many opportunities also come after graduation for the important reason that many employers, especially smaller law firms, require bar passage before hire.
For those students still searching and eager for a job by May, the Career Planning Center offers the following pieces of advice:
The word we all love to hate. The reality of the situation often is that the key to finding a job within your realm of interests is maintaining and building contacts. Attend the events on campus that attract members of the outside community, even if that event doesn’t necessarily match your goals. We live in a very small world, especially in Connecticut, and you never know how the people you meet can help you. Take advantage of the bar associations and attend events off campus to meet practicing attorneys in your field(s) of interest, or even other law students who may be able to help. Consider contacting previous employers to keep those connections alive. Keep in mind that small and medium-sized firms may not even advertise open positions, but rather fill them through word of mouth or references from current employees. And make sure to let people know you are still looking for a job! Mention your search to law school faculty members and the individuals you meet at networking events, so that they know they have an opportunity to be of assistance.
2. Be proactive
Although it is true that many employers do not necessarily post openings until later in the semester, this does not mean that it’s best to sit and wait for that dream job to pop up on Symplicity in April. Get your resume out there. Getting your application materials in early could make a tremendous difference and put you at the top of the pile once those later-hiring employers do start the candidate search process.
3. Stay focused on your goal, but be realistic.
It is not yet time to abandon your hope of landing that dream job. By April, it might be time to consider your plan B, while still not losing complete focus on what you really want. But keep in mind, alternate plans can, and often do, serve as necessary stepping-stones to get you to where you really want to go. Be open to the opportunities that present themselves to you, even if you would not have considered them previously. Consider looking into a clerkship, a part time position, or even volunteering your legal services. Although these options may not be ideal for your situation, they will provide you with experience and more contacts that will be invaluable to your ability to secure that dream job in the future.
Although these are all important pieces of advice to follow, you should always do what feels right to you. Continue the process of self-assessment, and decide when it feels right to you to move onto your plan B. And as always, career planning counselors are available to talk to anyone about employment questions, plans, and goals. Good luck!