During bar prep, the last thing you want to think about is being unemployed and the fact that you have no prospect of employment after the exam. If you’re going through bar prep without a job offer in hand, I know it’s unrealistic to ask you to ignore this issue. You may have taken out bar study loans and you’re uncertain about how you will pay this back after the bar or you may have a family that’s looking to you for financial support. At the very least, you may be stressed about how you will pay your impending bills: rent, utilities, and insurance without a job. Adding these stresses to the stress of your bar study coursework makes this journey seem unbearable. However, I want to assure you that you can manage this burden and that you can successfully find a job and also pass the bar. But you have to carefully juggle these two major priorities if you want to be successful. Here’s how:
1. Make your Job Hunt Priority #2
I know your financial burdens are clouding your mind but the first thing that you should do if you want to be successful on the bar while job hunting is to make your job hunt a second priority. I know Sallie Mae won’t care that you’re taking the bar and other bill collectors will be ruthless in their demand for your payment, however, you must put things into perspective. If you don’t pass the bar how will you be able to keep a job as an attorney? Therefore, it’s important that you focus primarily on studying and passing the exam and then treat your job hunt as a second priority. That means that you should only focus on your job hunt during the time you have set aside on that day to deal with that issue. Most of your day should, however, be spent studying.
2. Let your Career Advisor Know/Get a Recruiter
Another way to ease your job hunt anxiety, is to take the pressure off yourself and place it on your career advisor. Although you’ve already graduated, your school will likely have a post-graduate career advisor whose role is to focus on helping post-graduates to find a job. If this resource is available to you, then you should definitely take advantage. Let your advisor know that you’re studying for the bar but you’re also job hunting. Give your advisor specific details about the job you would like to receive and then ask them to send positions your way if any comes across their radar. By putting this responsibility in the hands of your career advisor, this will ease your burden somewhat because you have an additional person looking for jobs on your behalf. Just be sure to check in with your advisor at least once a week to ensure he/she hasn’t forgotten to notify you about a position.
If your school doesn’t provide post-graduates with career help, you also have the option of getting a job recruiter. A recruiter will essentially do your career search for you, leaving you with more time on your hands to just study. If you’re unsure about how to find a recruiter you can start by utilizing LinkedIn. Just type legal recruiter into the search box and it should pull quite a few recruiters who would be happy to assist you.
3. Set Aside an Hour At Least 3 Days a Week for Job Hunting
As you prepare your weekly study schedule be sure to schedule your job hunt as well. I would recommend setting aside an hour, at least three days a week to dedicate to this process. If you’re an early riser maybe conduct your job hunt early in the morning before beginning bar prep. Use this time to amend your resume or draft cover letters and send off applications, to open positions. It’s important however, that you treat that hour as a strict timeline and not go over. Remember your job hunt is a second priority.
4. Use Job Search Notifications
Another way to successfully juggle your job hunt with bar prep is to take advantage of notifications on job search sites. Whenever you use a site such as Indeed, LinkedIn Jobs or Zip Recruiter, they usually give you the option to notify you if a new position in your field of interest becomes available. Be sure to take advantage of this because this essentially saves you the time of having to search for these positions on your own.
5. Schedule Interviews Around your Study Schedule
Once you’ve started applying the above tips, I’m sure that job interviews will begin rolling in. Once you’ve gotten to this point, it will be important to schedule your interviews around your study schedule. Don’t allow an interview to throw off your entire day because those are 24 hours you cannot get back. Try to schedule an interview for a set time block in the morning or in the late afternoon. This way you can get your interview either out of the way first thing in the morning and give yourself the remainder of the day to study or you can start your study schedule early and give yourself the afternoon for the interview. Be sure to let the employer know that you’re going through bar prep, and they will likely be more understanding about setting the schedule per your flexibility. However, I do know that some interviews can take up to several hours a day. If that’s the case for your interview, you have no choice but to dedicate some of your study time towards getting it done. But don’t worry, you can try your best to get some of that time back by either working later into the day or canceling a study break that you may have had in place for another day.