Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beyond OCI for 2Ls: Finding a Summer Job

If you have not obtained a summer job even after participating in OCI, do not panic! Only 20 to 30% of 2Ls get a job through the on campus interviewing process, even in years where the market is robust. Many summer jobs, like those at small and medium sized firms and government and non-profits, become available as the year progresses. A job search for your summer job after your second year of law school is just like any other job search: it takes endurance and persistence (qualities necessary for being a successful attorney). It is never too late to apply but it is better to apply earlier than later. Here are some tips for your job search process:
1. Networking and Informational Interviewing: Learn as much as you can about potential employers (practice areas, culture, life-style) through networking and informational interviews with family and friends, Rutgers alumni, professors, other students, speakers and panelists at on-campus events, and by joining Bar Associations.
2. Make Yourself Marketable: Try to gain experience that will enhance your skills and demonstrate your commitment and interest to a certain type of employer or area of the law. Ways to do this include seeking part-time employment during the school year (sometimes this work can turn into full time summer employment), as well as reading law journals, taking a CLE course, volunteering in a clinic or community outreach program or doing an externship or conducting independent research for credit. Keep yourself up-to-date on both the status of the law in which you are interested (The New Jersey and New York Law Journals; http://www.law.com/) and about the state of the world in general (The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; your local newspapers).
3. Prepare to Apply: If you have not already done so, put together your resume and a cover letter. Most importantly, make an appointment with Career Services to review your materials by emailing CareerServices@kinoy.rutgers.edu .
4. Target Potential Employers and Apply: First, check job postings and opportunities on Symplicity and other websites such as http://www.lawjobs.com/, http://www.vault.com/, http://www.idealist.org/, http://www.pslawnet.org/, http://www.nalp.org/ to name a few. Second, if you are interested in a job with a firm, conduct your own research on firms via http://www.martindale.com/, Westlaw and Lexis Nexis. Many firms have their own websites with contact information. You may want to call the firm to see who at that firm is the contact person for job inquiries. Third, be sure to tell everyone you know that you are in the market and continue to network (see step 1 above). Fourth, take advantage of the Career Services Library: Kimm Walton's "Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams" is just one of many books that may help you with your job search.
5. Keep Detailed Notes of Your Job Search and Follow Up with Employers: It is important to keep a record of where you applied, when you applied, and what version of your resume and cover letter you sent. This makes it much easier to follow up with employers either to confirm they received your materials or to resend updated materials.