Every year, as EIW winds down, some students realize they are not getting past the screening interviews; others may have had a single callback or even two, but have yet to hear back from firms.
If you fall into either category, what’s next?
While it is not uncommon for a student to think he or she has entirely struck out at EIW, only to get a late callback invitation which leads to a job offer, you should prepare for the possibility that EIW will not yield the results for which you were hoping.
The sooner you can rally and shift your attention to other channels of getting a job, the better off you will be. Below are ten tips for the post-EIW job search.
The quotes below in italics are from actual students from recent classes who found themselves in a similar situation and ended up with a law firm job.
1. Your first task is to tune out, as much as possible, the sounds (real or imagined) of other students receiving callback invitations and job offers. The reasons for different results are myriad, and while it is important to review what happened in your case, in order to improve your chances going forward, dwelling on others’ outcomes is unhelpful.
2. Meet with the CDO counselors. We are here to help, and we have resources and suggestions for you. We will work with you to figure out the reasons for the outcome, so that you can make necessary adjustments in your approach. We also try hard to help you keep your spirits up and stay focused on the task at hand: finding a great job for your 2L summer.
3. Get organized. Schedule job searching tasks the same way you do other undertakings, to give yourself structure and reduce procrastination. Create a file or spreadsheet to record your efforts, plan your next steps, and keep contact information all in one place. The CDO can help you with this; we have templates of action plans that we can share with you when you come see us.
4. Keep checking b-Line and apply for everything you would be willing to consider. In recent years, some firms have chosen to post jobs rather than send attorneys to recruit at the school. You may want to create a search agent (ask us if you don’t know how) that will send you emails with new listings according to parameters you set, in order to avoid having to log in too frequently.
5. Yes, network. Every year several students with a disappointing yield from OCI manage to arrange an interview through other channels that results in a firm job. Many others find their private sector jobs though personal contacts and independent outreach. Did you meet anyone during your 1L summer who offered to help with your 2L job search? CDO can help you identify people to whom you can reach out, and work with you to optimize your approach.
“Networking and using acquaintances to help get a foot in the door were invaluable.”
6. Think about what you have already learned about your strengths and weaknesses in the course of participating in EIW. Do your interviewing skills still need improvement? Did a lack of familiarity with practice areas hold you back? If you will be reaching out to personal contacts or writing cover letters, more self-knowledge, and understanding of the legal world will help improve your chances of success.
“It really helps to do some soul-searching and narrow your search to a few (maybe 2 or 3) areas of law that you have a genuine interest in. That way you can follow some sort of path and you will sound knowledgeable and interested to future employers.”
7. Look back to the firms you bid on at EIW but did not get interviews with. You may want to reach out to them and see whether it is still possible to get an interview.
8. Many law firms in parts of the country other than the Bay Area don’t travel here to recruit but would be happy to hear from a Berkeley Law student. You may find opportunities in your home town or state (or any part of the country where you have significant ties) that are not available to students without those affinities. Consider using the NALP Directory or the National Law Journal’s list of firms in order of size to identify employers who did not already interview on campus.
9. Start to look at other kinds of opportunities: externships, government placements, public interest, and smaller firms. If, in your focus on OCI, you haven’t been paying attention to the timelines for these, now is the time to turn to the resources available to you, both online and with the support of CDO counselors.
10. Do your best to stay positive, and be persistent.
“Keep your confidence up! Employers like to see your dedication and perseverance. It shows that you are a fighter even in a tough economy.”