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One of the biggest hurdles to landing a good job for law students is taking the time to prepare a thoughtful application. That's why over winter break, law students might want to actually consider spending some time on their resumes and cover letters, and maybe even start sending some out.
While it's important to get some rest and relaxation over winter break, slacking on the job hunt really is not an option if you don't have a job or something lined up. Below are a few helpful tips for those law students looking to get the jump on the job search over winter break.
The general philosophy of job searching is to cast a wide net. That probably means you'll be applying to different types of practices and practice areas, which means you need to have cover letters, and resumes, specifically tailored to those practice areas and types of firm.
You can create a boilerplate choose your own adventure template for your cover letters that allows you to copy and paste together your best practice specific pitches. However, as each cover letter should really be uniquely created for the specific position (to solve the employer's problem/fill their need), you'll likely need to edit bits and pieces of your boilerplate. So remember: Always "Save As."
You'll want to have different resumes at least for the different types of positions you are seeking. Since students often end up applying for admin or file clerk jobs, rather than law clerk jobs, those resumes might want to emphasize expertise with Microsoft Office or other software, while resumes for clerking jobs would want to emphasize relevant coursework or research capabilities.
Use your family and friends that you will see over the break to help you with your resume and cover letters. You don't have to actually take any non-lawyer's advice because you're not asking for advice, you're basically using your non-lawyer friends and family as a focus group.
For your resumes (yes, plural, as you should have more than one if you're apply to different areas and firm sizes), you should have specific questions for them about how difficult it is to find information. The information you want employers to see, such as the fact that you've taken civil procedure and evidence, and have completed legal writing/research courses, should be easily accessible. For your cover letters, you can ask how attention grabbing it is, and whether the language flows.
If you're going home for the holidays, even if you may not be considering practicing in your hometown, it's a very good idea to check out local attorney networking events. You may find alumni from your school, or people who know attorneys in the state/city you want to practice in. While there's no guaranteed job offer, at very least it'll get you out of the house and make your family ooh and ah (maybe).
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