10 Tips for Starting Your Postgraduate Job Search

Ten simple steps you can take now to jump start your job search:

1. Make Use of the Career Services Office

  • Make an appointment by emailing Elizabeth Dambriunas, Director of Alumni Advising.
  • Check the job listings on Symplicity using your existing id/login. For assistance, email career@nyls.edu.
  • Searching out of town? Get reciprocity to use another law school’s career office and Symplicity page. For more information, email career@nyls.edu.
  • For additional job search resources, visit Career Services for Alumni.

2. Set Weekly and Monthly Job Search Goals

Set measurable job search goals at the beginning of each week. Determine the number of people you will reach out to and the number of networking events you will attend. Limit your time searching for jobs online by setting a schedule for yourself, devoting only a couple hours each morning to job searching and applying. The rest of your schedule should be filled with gaining legal skills, attending networking and CLE events, and conducting informational interviews.

3. Join Local Bar Associations

Attending events and participating on committees provides a relatively easy way to network, find mentors, and possible job leads. New York City residents should visit the New York City Bar and the New York County Lawyers Association sites to join and apply for committee membership. Find a complete list of bar associations here at “Get Connected: Join a Bar Association.” Don’t forget to contact the bar association membership offices for job seeker discounted rates.

4.Take CLE Programs to Build Skills

Look into CLE courses through NYLS, local bar associations, and providers such as the Practicing Law Institute for courses that will help you build your legal knowledge, add to your resume, or meet others in practice areas that interest you. Some providers have discounts for those who are not currently working full-time. Bar associations also offer CLE programs frequently, which may be discounted for recent graduates.

5. Volunteer/Do Pro Bono Work to Gain Experience

Connect with legal services providers in your city to see if there is appropriate pro bono work you can do while waiting for employment/bar results. Pro bono work can be a good resume builder, source of contacts and source of skills to talk about during interviews. “Pro Bono Opportunities: A Guide for Lawyers in NYC,” a searchable online database, is an excellent source of contacts for pro bono work. To find out about pro bono opportunities in your area, visit Probono.net.

6. Create a List of Attorneys in Your Network

  • Who are the attorneys that you know, or who in your network can introduce you to other attorneys? Who would you like to meet? Your network is bigger than you think it is. It includes all of your family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, former supervisors, classmates, professors, law school and undergraduate alumni, and even casual acquaintances.  Start writing down names and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the list grows.  Think broadly and continue to add people to this list as you continue your job search.
  • Once you have a list created, start reaching out to everyone in your network to let them know you are job searching, to seek out their advice in your job search, to ask them to introduce you to other attorneys working in your practice area(s) of interest, and to inform them of the types of jobs that interest you so they can send you leads.

7. Make Connections With Martindale Hubbell

Visit Martindale.com to research law firms and to find NYLS graduates who are working in firms and practice areas that interest you. Using the Advanced Search Function, select “New York Law School” and use the drop down practice area menus to find graduates in defined practice areas. Narrow your search of law firms by location, size of firm, and practice area. Use these results to request informational interviews and expand your network.

8. Use LinkedIn to Build an Online and Offline Network

  • LinkedIn—the largest online network dedicated to connecting to other professionals—provides an opportunity for you to showcase your experience and skills, find and share opportunities, keep track of people you know, and help expand your network. Learn more about LinkedIn.
  • To get started, upload a professional picture and update your profile with a headline, summary, and detailed descriptions of your experience and education
  • Connect with other NYLS alumni, college alumni, former professors and employers, and people you have met through your involvement in activities such as bar associations, politics, or volunteer activities
  • LinkedIn is also an invaluable research tool in your job search. Each time you for a job or go on an interview, search on LinkedIn for contacts at the company and information on the employer as part of your research process.

9. Set Up Informational Interviews

Once you have developed a list of contacts, start reaching out to them to set up informational interviews. An informational interview is an informal conversation with someone working in an area of interest to you who will give you information and advice. It is an effective research tool and a great way to build personal connections with practicing attorneys. It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to get hired. During the interview ask the attorney questions about his/her career path and their recommendations on how to get started in the field, ways to gain experience, other people you should talk to, and tips on finding available jobs.

10. Be Organized

Create a spreadsheet or other method to keep detailed track of your job applications and networking meetings. Bring the spreadsheet with you when you meet with a career advisor. The spreadsheet will remind you to follow up with employers you have not heard back from, and contacts you want to call again and prevent you from redoing the same searches and applications.

Download: Microsoft Job Search Log