Take Two: The Journey to Retaking the Bar—Finding a Job

IT’S APRIL!!! I’m excited because it means that March is over, and I only have to wait another month (hopefully) before the results are released. Last month went by a lot quicker than I thought. I went back to my full-time work weeks between my job and internship. I’m the type of person that needs to stay busy and don’t necessarily know what it means to “do nothing.” I get bored with doing nothing, so I’m glad I have somewhere to be 9-5 Monday through Friday.

Every month when it’s time to write a new post, I come up blank, not knowing what more to write about especially while I wait for results. But then I think back to last fall when I wish I knew what I know now to help me get through “limbo.”

If you haven’t figured it out yet, limbo exists and it’s difficult to go through especially when you are trying to find a job. Hopefully these tips can help ease your mind:

  • You will continuously hear that once you receive your license, getting a job will become easier. While that is true, it isn’t completely accurate. On the one hand, the license will allow you to apply to attorney positions without having to explain that you are waiting for your results. However, remember that you aren’t the only one who passed and the applicant pool is now saturated with newly licensed individuals.
  • So how do you separate yourself and still get a job? Try broadening the type of jobs you are applying for. For example, I’m applying to positions that correlate with my undergraduate degree and skills I’ve obtained over the years. It may not be ideal and may not be in the legal field, but it is easier to get another job once you have a job.
  • Use your network. Have friends with jobs? See if you can send your resume to them to pass along to their HR department. Having a friend refer you can be quite beneficial. Use it to your advantage, but as always, be polite. The legal community is smaller than you think.
  • Don’t limit yourself. If there is an area of law that you know needs the most attorneys, but it is an area you never dreamed of working in, still apply. Don’t like tax or personal injury? Apply. Again it is easier to find another job once you have that first one. Also, if you still don’t like it after working, start looking elsewhere. Many employers do not expect you to remain there indefinitely. It’s your future. Be proactive.
  • Don’t give up. I know many people who couldn’t find a job right after being licensed. While that sounds unpleasant, it’s reality. Or maybe you aren’t getting as many call backs as you hoped. Don’t let it discourage you. There is a job out there for you, you just need to kiss as many toads until you find it. (Figuratively speaking, don’t actually start kissing toads or people and point your finger at me.)
  • Talk to your career services. Our school offers a Bridge to Practice Fellowship, allowing recent graduates to work for non-profits for a few months. Unfortunately, I was ineligible as I am currently employed, but this is a great opportunity for others. Your career services may have resources and are a great sounding board to bounce off ideas. I have called them just to see whether I was doing everything correctly to find a job.
  • Lastly, don’t push people away. That group of friends that you relied on throughout law school and bar studying? Talk with them, maybe they are approaching this differently than you. It may seem like a competition, but you can’t go about it that way. They can be on the lookout for postings that would appeal to you, and vice versa. Talk with former classmates. It doesn’t matter whether you were best friends or merely acquaintances. Again, the legal community is small.

I’m sure I have many more tips swimming around in my head. I’ll save them for next time.

Summary: You will find a job. It will happen. If you get overwhelmed, follow my method: take it one day at a time. Planning for the future, even a week in advance, can be stressful. Take it slowly, apply everywhere, but remember that your health is also important. If you are overwhelmed and stressed, take a break. Go for a walk. Interact with people. Talk with your family. Keep your head up.

Off to my new adventure: packing and moving apartments.

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