Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What They Don't Teach You In Law School About Job Search Etiquette

By Randi S. Lewis

Legal Recruiters of AmLaw 250 firms throughout the country have reported similar frustrations, disappointments, and other experiences in their dealings with second year law students during the fall interview process for summer associate positions. Below are a few tips for law students (applicable also to any job applicant in any field) interviewing for summer positions and full time associate positions.

  1. Voicemail message - make it professional: The voicemail message on your contact telephone should sound professional. Your message SHOULD NOT start with the word, "HEY." A simple, "Hello, this is Joe Smith. Please leave a message at the tone," will do.
  2. Returning phone calls and emails: Return phone calls and emails promptly from recruiters and lawyers from the firms with which you interviewed - even if you have no interest in working with that firm. You never want to burn a bridge because a few years after your law school graduation you might decide the firm to which you were unresponsive may be a better fit for you. It is likely there will be a note in your file about your failure to communicate that could hurt your chances of being considered as a lateral candidate.
  3. Decline ASAP if you are not interested: And, if you are not interested in working with a particular firm and have at least another offer with a firm of interest, kindly decline with the other firm(s) ASAP - notwithstanding the NALP rules that allow you to hold a certain number of offers. You will not hurt anyone's feelings. This is a business. For every offer a firm extends, they have multiple applicants who WOULD BE interested in the position.
  4. Accept as soon as possible: If you have an offer from your firm of choice, accept within a reasonable time. Don't hold on to the offer too long if you don't have a good reason. Firms like to receive acceptances early. The firm that gives you an offer remembers when people accept. If you are unsure, establish honest and frequent communications with the recruitment professional to continue reaffirming your interest while exploring other options.
  5. All written communications must be ERROR-FREE: Proofread all emails, resumes, letters, deal sheets and thank you notes before sending them. Make sure correspondence is addressed to the correct person with the correct title.

© Resume Boutique LLC 2007. All rights reserved.

For more information on resumes, interviewing techniques, and summer associate success tips, contact Randi S. Lewis, Founder of Resume Boutique LLC. 410.602.2500 ~