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How to Stand Out When Applying for Your First Job out of Law School

Ned Barnett

How to Stand Out When Applying for Your First Job out of Law School

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After completing law school, it can be challenging to find a job. It can be difficult to know where to begin looking, not to mention how tedious it is to send dozens of applications to potential employers. However, it is essential to understand that there are ways you can make your resume stand out among other job applicants. Employers are looking for a specific candidate, and it is up to you to demonstrate that you are a good fit.

Don’t Present a Basic Resume

When it comes to applying for jobs, it is evident that your resume must be different than the rest. On average, according to a study done by TheLadders, an employer looks at a potential applicant's resume for six seconds. In those six seconds, your resume has to cater to what the employer is looking for along with the company's needs. Some tips to make your resume stand out include:

  • Customize Your Resume. Your resume should be a snapshot of who you are. You should make it as creative as you want, within reason of the job you are applying for. This is your chance to get the employer to notice you and your skills. A generic resume is boring and common, and it is more likely that employers will gloss over it. You should also make sure your resume is appealing to the eye and is easy to read.
  • Incorporate Language from the Job Description. As stated earlier, employers are searching for a candidate that fits their job description as closely as possible. Therefore, you should incorporate their language and jargon from the job description into your resume. Employers will be impressed when your experience and skillset directly relate to their open position.
  • Real-World Experience is Important. While any internship that you had throughout college is important, you should realize that other part-time jobs you had to add to your skill set as well. Employers like to see real-world experience since you often learn necessary skills that are beneficial in any workplace.
  • Have Multiple People Look Over Your Resume. You should have more than one person proofread and give suggestions regarding your resume. It is important to make sure that these people are in your field and have ample experience.

Be Persistent, but Patient

When it comes to applying for jobs, it is easy to reach out initially to a recruiter or potential employer. However, what do you do when they don’t respond within a week's time? Often, applicants don’t reach out multiple times for fear of bothering the recruiter or potential employer. It is important to remember that they are busy and are receiving hundreds of job applicants, but you should still reach out to them at least once.  

If you speak to a recruiter at a job fair, you should always connect with them on LinkedIn. In addition, you can message them, call the office, or use any other way you can get in touch with them. It is important to get their attention and demonstrate your commitment to their organization and the benefits you can bring to the company.

Thoroughly Research the Company

Before speaking with an interviewer, it is essential that you perform due diligence and thoroughly research the company. Often during an interview, a potential candidate is asked, "What do you know about our company?" In this scenario, it is important to demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for the organization's mission. Some aspects of the company you should be aware of include their:

  • Product or service they provide
  • Company goals
  • Morals and ethics
  • Competitors
  • History of the company

Make Yourself Well-Rounded

Recruiters are not just looking at your GPA. They want to see that you are well-rounded and have skills in various areas. To demonstrate this, you should try to volunteer with causes you are passionate about and get experience doing things other than just school.

While a GPA is important, it is not everything. It cannot show how well you work with others, your attention to detail, adaptability, and other important aspects that an employer deems necessary in a potential candidate.

Have the Right Online Presence

In today’s world, your online presence can speak volumes about you. This can be good or bad, depending on your posts. If your account is public, make sure that the content you are publishing is appropriate for a potential employer to see. If your account is private, you should still ensure that what you are posting is appropriate and use caution when posting any pictures with alcohol in them.

Be Courteous

This may seem like a given, but many job applicants fail to demonstrate common courtesy. When you meet a potential employer, make sure to exhibit politeness, shake their hand, and look them in the eye. After an interview, you should always send a written thank-you note along with a thank-you email.

By demonstrating all the above aspects on a job application and interview, you can be sure to stand out above the rest as a recent graduate.