How to Develop a 3L Job Search Strategy
If you’re a 3L and don’t have a job lined up for after bar exam results come in, you need to develop a strategy to help you land your first job out of law school. Here are five things to keep in mind when making a plan to find your first job with a J.D.
1. MAKE YOUR JOB SEARCH YOUR TOP PRIORITY
Once you reach your 3L year, your job search should be your top priority. Many entry-level positions like judicial clerkships, post-graduate fellowships, and “bridge to practice” positions (the types of jobs you can take while waiting for bar results) have strict application deadlines. If you’re not being proactive and organized in your approach to your job search, these deadlines will pass you by and you’ll miss out on career opportunities.
During the summer after graduation, you’ll be focused on bar prep and far too busy to apply for jobs. Most legal employers are aware of this and don’t actively recruit recent law school graduates during the months of June and July. And while your law school grades are important, spending your valuable time in your last year of school trying to bump up your GPA by a few tenths of a point isn’t going to help much if you’re unemployed when your student loans come due.
Don’t procrastinate on your job search! Finding gainful employment with room for growth is the reason you went to professional school in the first place. Shift your priorities so that you have ample time to search for jobs and submit thoughtful, quality applications that you’ve tailored to each position.
2. ASK FOR ADVICE
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Seek out advice on finding a job from anyone who’s willing to give it to you. Make regular appointments with your school’s career services office, reach out to lawyers who practice in the field(s) you’re interested in, talk to your mentors, consult recent graduates from your school, and speak with your adjunct professors who are practicing lawyers.
This type of networking is critical to your success in landing your first paid position after law school. If you think you don’t have time for this, you’re wrong! Set up as many informational interviews, coffee dates, and lunch meetings as you can. This is a great way to let people know that you’re on the market for a job, and they’ll be much more likely to forward you relevant opportunities and connect you to other lawyers who can help you
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