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Career Resources

Don’t Be Afraid to Lean on Your Career Planning Office

William D Henslee

Don’t Be Afraid to Lean on Your Career Planning Office
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If you’re like most law students, you don’t realize all that your career planning office can do to help you focus your job search and find a work setting that fits your dream career. What can you expect from your career planning office?

Find a Job That Fits Your Career Expectations

Career planning offices aren’t career placement offices. It’s doubtful that your law school guaranteed you a job upon graduation, so it’s also not a recruiting firm that’s paid to find you employment.

But it does serve as a resource to help you figure out the substantive area of law in which you’re interested in practicing and the size of the law firm in which you’d like to work.

A lot of variables go into planning your career. Rather than find the perfect job for you, the career planning professionals at your school are there to help you make some of the threshold decisions required before you start sending out your resume.

After you’ve made those initial decisions, they’ll use their contacts and connections to help you get interviews with the firms you’ve targeted.

Sort Through Options If Your Interests Are Shifting

While you may have been set on a particular practice area before you started law school, your interests may change as you work your way through your required classes and electives. Factors to consider when you’re thinking about substantive areas of law that interest you include your prior work settings, your undergraduate focus, your graduate school degrees, your law school internships, your hobbies, and your contacts.

Your career planning professional may suggest internships that emphasize the area of law in which you think you’re interested, and the internship may help you decide that you’re not interested in an area of law. The career planning office will help you determine if your avocation can become your vocation as you incorporate your hobby into your legal career.

Your counselor will also direct you to think about whom you know who might be able to help you get started in the practice area of your choice. Finally, your career planning counselor, and your faculty advisor, can help you choose classes to complement your chosen career.

Fit Your Personality and Lifestyle into the Career

If you’re interested in practicing in a large law firm, your career planning office professional will be able to advise you about whether your desire for a big paycheck is realistic based on your grades, your background, and your law school. Your counselor will be able to help manage your expectations.

If a military career interests you, each branch of service has different requirements and expectations as to qualifications and the minimum number of years of service required. And if your lifestyle is more important to you than the size of your paycheck, your career counselor will be able to suggest firms known for their work-life balance culture.

Get Help with the Nitty-Gritty of Job Searching

Turn to your career planning office for help and advice in crafting your resume, preparing for interviews, setting up on-campus interviews, and guiding you through the job search process. Most also offer mock interviews with faculty and alumni to get you ready for interviews with firms.

Some offer tests that can help you understand your personality type so that you can focus your job search on firms and settings that complement it. Whether your counselors use a personality evaluation instrument or not, they will talk to you about your hopes and dreams for your career as a lawyer.

Your career planning office is a resource you should use to guide you through the career planning process. The professionals who work in your school’s office are there to make your job search as painless and rewarding as possible.