So I filled out my law school’s graduate employment survey about three weeks ago.
Being unemployed puts you in a strange spot, on the one hand you don’t want everyone to know but on the other hand you want people to know so they can help you if at all possible. I am more than willing to discuss my unemployment at just about any given opportunity since I want people to know what I didn’t when I started law school–it likely doesn’t matter just how much you want it, your opportunities are constrained in major part by outside factors. I had a lot of hubris and thought that I could overcome a bad market through my out of classroom experiences and personality–yeah.
In any case, I laid it out in the survey and detailed that I’ve been looking for more than six months, that I’ve only had a two real interviews (defined as jobs that were open and that my qualifications were sufficient to perform the job) and two fake interviews (for a recruitment agency and a job that my skills were insufficient to perform the job duties) and that I’ve been unable to find even a volunteer position in town.
A week or two later I get an email from a contact in career services saying that they’re sorry about my experience and wondering if I’d like to come in to discuss my job search strategy. Now, to be fair, career services is responsible for my getting one real interview. I mentioned that I was still looking after I passed the bar and when a relevant job opened, I got two emails from career services about it. I do appreciate the effort.
On the other hand I do resent the implication that if only I did (fill in strategy here) surely the heavens would open and deposit a job opening seeking an entry level attorney with less than three years experience.
I mean, I always submit a cover letter specifically tailored to highlight my relevant experience. I have a handful of resumes tailored to different positions that have been checked over by career services since I’ve graduated. I always prep for interviews when I get them, I snoop around linked in for connections in common and I pump them for info.
I like to use aggregate job websites like indeed since their searches cover more ground than my own but I also use my law school’s symplicity page, and the job posts on the state and local bar websites. I frequently check usajobs and craigslist (you never know). I keep in touch with contacts from undergrad and law school and have gotten in touch with their suggested contacts to no avail.
I’m not sure what they could suggest that is substantially different than what I’m doing–after all I’m following the advice I got during law school directly from career services.
I think the advice they gave neglects the problem an attorney might have if they don’t have an in anywhere with the budget to hire, the low number of entry level attorney positions open and the fact that most of those positions are occupied by summer associate alumni.
Well at this point I’ve tried everything else and it can’t hurt to get my face out there. At least career services will be thinking of me if something else opens up and well, they can’t say I didn’t try.
Law schools and therefore career services seem to believe that if you try hard enough, and follow all their tips, that obviously you’ll find work. They rely on blaming the student for lack of success and seem willfully ignorant of current market conditions.
Maybe my experience won’t change anything in their advertisement to 0Ls but if things don’t work out (as I suspect that they might not) career services will have at least one example of someone who did everything they said that still turned up nothing. At the bare minimum, I’ll be messing up their career placement stats, at maximum I’d hope that I stick in their minds and they’re reminded of me when trying to peddle those optimistic platitudes about how you can do anything with a law degree.
If it helps even one person avoid this crap I’m in, I’ll be happy.