Okay, okay, I know what you could be thinking. What was the point of my last three years of school, or for that matter the bar exam? I don’t even have a job. Well slow down, for yourself. You have accomplished a lot, and a job isn’t the cherry on top – although it is a finishing touch. You passed the bar exam! That is huge, but understandably, that excitement can quickly vanish and embarrassment, frustration and lack of purpose may set in. So here are some tips to help you stay afloat and remember your end goal in these next few months while you search for your career start.
1. Keep on, Keepin’ On
The best piece of advice I can utter in this post is to keep on searching. If you are a little Type A (like a lot of attorneys) then I’m sure that list you have going, or the excel sheet with red lines through it can seem daunting. You invested time, energy, hopes in every interview, and you want to see results! No mater how long that list gets or the number of Lyfts you’ve taken from one opportunity to the next, remember not to give up. Think about it: the only way you get a job is if you keep looking for one. Unless you have a lot of connections and one falls in your lap. But here is some tough love – if you had those connections, they likely would have worked by now. So don’t quit searching, don’t quit making a list, don’t quit calling a Lyft.
2. Beggars Can’t Be Choosers
I would apologize, but if you have found this post you’re looking for some kind of advice. And the best advice I have for you now is that if you are searching for a job at this point, take the job that you get offered, not the job of your dreams. If one of the reasons you’re falling short in the job market is because you are sending your materials to the small number of firms that do a niche type of law – that might be why you aren’t succeeding. Try broadening your search. If you have broadened your search, and you are receiving offers but the type of law doesn’t seem like what you want to do the rest of your life, take it anyway. The best thing about life is that you aren’t stuck in this career, or position, forever. Use that year to gain experience, and the next job hunt will be easier. And, get this – you’ll make money while searching because you will at least be employed.
3. Think Outside the box
Having a J.D. is still worth something, even if you haven’t passed a bar exam. Employers, especially corporate employers, see value in hiring someone who went through law school and learned the analytical skills that accompany a law school graduate. So, if you are looking for a job, think outside of the box. Apply to corporations compliance departments, or other legal departments that don’t require a licensed attorney. There are many jobs out there that will hire you, even if you don’t need to use your license – or you don’t have a license – to work there.
4. It’s Not Always You, Sometimes it’s Them
Finding a job is a two way street. Sometimes hitting a slump in the job search isn’t because you are lacking but sometimes it’s because the hiring employer has a very specific idea of the person they want for the position. But that doesn’t mean you can’t present yourself as that person. The first step is to figure out what you can do for them. How can you add value to their company or the firm? How can you add to the culture? What specific qualifications do you have that you can authentically sell them. Sometimes, not finding the right job, or getting that offer letter is because you are presenting yourself to the wrong people who are looking for something you can’t provide. During your job hunt, make sure that you are putting yourself in a position to succeed, that way you are applying to firms and job opportunities that you can succeed in and, hopefully, that confidence will project through the interview and show the employer you can do something for them.
All of these tips take a lot of mental energy! But it will be worth it. One final, classic tip I can offer is making sure all of your interview materials are in order. Specifically, take a little time to cater your cover letters. Edit your writing samples a bit to update your current analytical ability. Make sure your resume is spotless for typos or grammatical errors. At the end of the day you will find a job, and you will likely have many jobs in the upcoming decades. This is simply a roadblock, so sit tight – hang in there!