Summer jobs for many law students this year have been postponed, cancelled, or just never materialized as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, shelter at home orders and the impact on employers’ summer programs. That said, even without a job this summer, there is a lot you can do to enhance your future job prospects.
For example, this summer is a good time to research and refine your interests in various practice areas, research potential employers, and expand your professional network. These are important steps in your career planning and job search process that might have been put aside in light of the disruption of the spring term at law schools across the country. Informational interviews can be an important part of these efforts, so please check out our previous article on Vault.com about informational interviewing.
Becoming a “Preferred Candidate”
If you have time this summer, you can use it to position yourself as the “preferred candidate” employers so often describe in their job postings. Job postings typically includes statements like “Preferred candidates will have . . .” followed by a list of important characteristics, knowledge, and experience. The following are our recommendations for becoming a preferred candidate. With your laptop and internet access, you can do all of them from home.
“We are looking for candidates with initiative and who are creative and practical problem solvers.”
Employers look for a host of traits in candidates. Most commonly they are looking for candidates who work hard, show initiative and are creative, practical problem solvers. It’s a near certainty that in your interviews in the coming year you will be asked how you spent this summer, particularly in light of the unexpected changes and unique circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic. This summer and how you spend it is an opportunity to demonstrate the traits employers are looking for. Our recommendations below provide a roadmap for doing so.
“Candidates should have a demonstrated interest in and commitment to our practice.”
There are many simple ways to demonstrate your interest in a practice area.
“Preferred candidates will have knowledge of their practice area of interest.”
Focused study in your practice area of interest this summer will demonstrate your interest, increase your knowledge of the law and current issues, and ultimately will put you in a position to be more productive and valuable when you start your first job.
“Candidates should have experience in our area of practice.”
How can you get experience without a job? Even volunteer opportunities may be difficult to find. So, what can you do?
It’s easy for those of us who have experienced more than one economic downturn to say, “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine,” or “Focus on the long term rather than the short term.” That advice isn’t helpful when your classes suddenly became virtual, your plans for the summer collapsed, and employers are cutting salaries and laying off staff and lawyers alike. So, we’re not offering that advice. Instead, we offer some specific suggestions for steps you can take and circumstances you can control so that you will be best positioned to get the job you want when it finally becomes available.
We hope you find our advice helpful!
This is a sponsored blog post from Perkins Coie LLP. To view the firm's full profile, click here.
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