Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Continuing Job Search for 3Ls

There's good news and no news from me on the 3L job search front.

First, the good news.  One of the talented 3L business law students whom I have been mentoring in the Quest for Employment (Q4E) recently secured a position that is perfect for him.  He is a great fit for the firm and the position, and the firm is lucky to get him.  Yay for our team!

The rest of the news on the Q4E front is same-old, same-old.  Two other terrific 3L business law students who have had career/life changes that have led them to seek employment in new markets better suited to their professional or personal objectives are still on the market.  Of course, this is nothing new in Knoxville and much of the rest of the State of Tennessee, where many law firms cannot really assess their needs until much closer to the bar exam/hiring start date.  And these two promising lawyers-to-be are getting bites at the line.

Haskell earlier wrote a great post here on resumes and interviews, and I earlier wrote a companion post on cover letters.  But what happens after you've sent the cover letter and resume and have not been granted an interview?  Give up on the Q4E with those folks?  No way!  At least, that's not my advice . . . .

What is my advice?

Go back to your spreadsheet (you do have one, right?)  from time to time when things are slow on the lead-generation front. Review your comments on the group of folks you've already contacted.  Those comments will note whether you heard back from the prospective employer and, if so, what the response was.  If the response was recent and indicates that the employer is not interested or has no openings, move on.  If, however,

  • you have received (1) a no-interest/no-openings response more than, say, six months ago, (2) no response, or (3) a response indicating that the employer is holding your resume on file or for further review and
  • you still remain interested in working for that employer,

take a second stab at it.  But do it professionally.

Write up a new cover letter.  The basic format is the same as that described in my earlier post, except that you want to acknowledge your prior communication(s) up front.  Tell the employer why you're writing again (e.g., refer to the earlier response, tell the employer you are writing to update the information it has on you, inquire about new openings since you last wrote, etc.).  Remember to show the recipient who you are through the letter, rather than merely telling the recipient who you are with adjectives and adverbs.  Indicate to the employer when you will next be in town or how you will follow up.

Revise your resume.  Add new honors and accomplishments.  Get feedback from people you've met along the way and from others who did not review your prior draft.  A resume is never "done!"

It's an old maxim, but: "if you don't ask, you don't get."  


Very little in life falls into one's lap.  Carpe diem!  Reach out and get those attractive late spring jobs.  I am rooting for you (and for your career advisors, who may actually be the ones reading this post!).

Joan Heminway, Jobs, Law School | Permalink


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