By Robin Morisey • April 29, 2016•Law School, Choosing a Career and Landing a Job
Whether you’re a student who has recently graduated, a mom getting back into the workforce, or a woman looking to make a career shift, the law industry is a HUGE playing field to venture through. There are literally hundreds of law firms in any given location that are always looking for hot new talent. What also works to the advantage of those looking to work in the law industry is that there is always a need for legal representation, providing you with a bit of job security.
So if law is a good field to get into, why is it so hard to actually get hired? The truth is, there are a lot of tasks that must be carried out in a successful job search, and if you don’t complete these important steps from start to finish, you’ll find yourself in a pool of thousands of candidates for months on in. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common mistakes women make as they search for legal careers and ways to overcome them:
1. Only Relying on the Internet
Many job seekers make the mistake of ONLY utilizing the internet as a platform for finding a career. They will create online profiles for job seeking sites like Monster or Indeed, complete online applications, and essentially wait for a phone call to be interviewed. The issue with this is that not EVERY law firm is going to advertise their need online, and since most applicants utilize online resources, you need to have several options under your belt to stand out from the rest.
Solution: Yes, we live in a digitally enhanced world and rely heavily on the use of technology to carry out business tasks such as locating a job. While there are plenty of platforms you can use online to help get you started, this should not be your only resource for finding the right job. Utilize resources such as
· Your college career programs
· Legal networking events
· Let employers, coworkers, friends, and family know you’re searching as they may know someone they can refer you to.
· Drop off resumes or applications at local law firms you’re interested in. Putting a face to the application and getting to make a brief but impactful first impression can put you ahead of the game.
· Check online law and government directories such as HG.org. You can search for firms in a specific area. For example, if you were interested in working in Salt Lake City, you might come across information for Siegfried & Jensen, personal injury attorneys servicing the Utah area.
2. Failing to Select a Specialization
Attorneys and law firms generally have areas of law that they specialize in. However, many job seekers make the mistake of generalizing their search terms which ultimately yields a ton of results. When utilizing search engines, typing in keywords like “attorney jobs” will garner hundreds if not thousands of results leaving you to have to sift through and decipher which firm would be the best fit.
Solution: When completing a job search, it is imperative to be specific in what it is you’re looking for. This will ultimately help to narrow down your search which will help you in selecting the law firm that is best suited for you. To narrow down your search, choosing a specialization is ideal. According to the American Bar Association, here are a few of the more popular fields to specialize in:
· Personal Injuries
· Criminal (white collar)
3. Not Being Prepared for the Interview
Getting the call for the interview does not mean you have the job. However, many job seekers take a lax approach to prepping for and being involved in the interview. They fail to do their research on the firm, skip updating their resume, and rarely rehearse interview questions and answers.
Solution: Be prepared. Your interview is your first impression and if you’re going to have a laid back attitude, you can rest assure the firm will look elsewhere for a candidate. Wear the appropriate clothing, research the company, rehearse your answers, and of course be on time.
It can take some time to find the dream firm and the ideal legal position, but you’re one step ahead of the game if you avoid the three mistakes listed above and instead follow the solution. If you’re still struggling with finding a position as an attorney, you might start off in a firm as a paralegal or assistant to get you through the door. Once you’ve gained experience and developed a rapport with the other attorneys, you can move up the ladder a lot easier.