SWLAW Blog | Dean's Fellow Digest
December 18, 2020
Dean's Fellow Digest Issue #22 - Job Hunting: How to Effectively Use Winter Break
Dean's Fellows consistently strive to support students in realizing their full academic potential, leading ultimately to success on the bar exam and in the workplace. To support all Southwestern students in this goal, the Dean's Fellows created this Digest as a way to check-in at critical times throughout the semester with helpful tips, strategies, and encouragement.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Job Hunting: How to Effectively Use Winter Break
Job Hunting: How to Effectively Use Winter Break
By: Brynn Bodair*
Finals are over and the holiday festivities have started! Still, you may be feeling nervous about your upcoming summer internship/externship/job search. Here are some tips to remind you of proactive measures you can take during winter break to prepare you for your job hunt.
1. Reach Out
As finals come to a close, you may be tempted to shut-off your laptop and store it away. However, this is the perfect mid-December time to send any professional contacts with whom you have connected a greeting email. Simply wish the person and their family a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year to nurture your professional connection.
Then, after the holidays have passed, take advantage of your slightly more relaxed schedule in early January. This is the perfect time to schedule a coffee with one of your professional connections. If you are unable to do so in a socially distanced manner outdoors, take advantage of the convenience of Zoom and offer to host the meeting.
Career Services Tip:
Have you heard of the Alumni Resource Network (ARN)? Located on Symplicity, The ARN is a network of over 450 Southwestern Law School alumni who have committed to being a resource for students and fellow alumni as they navigate career path questions. You can search for alumni through a variety of search terms including practice area, employer, and city. The ARN is the key resource to start with if you are new to networking and/or looking to expand your network of Southwestern contacts
2. Grow Your LinkedIn Profile
Now that you have some extra time on your hands, take this opportunity to update and edit your LinkedIn Profile. Try to add any contacts you have networked with this semester to your profile and ensure your bio and work experience sections are current. After the holidays, share your profile with your CSO advisor for feedback to guarantee your word-choice and format is exceptional. Additionally, use the additional time and influx of family over the winter break to take a few professional photos. You don’t need to pay for a professional headshot to have a great professional photo—check out these tricks and tips!
After you have updated your profile, use LinkedIn to search and apply for positions. Frequently, jobs will be posted on LinkedIn with full application details and a link to directly apply.
Career Services Tip:
LinkedIn is the professional social media platform. Begin expanding your network by connecting with Southwestern faculty, administrators, and classmates. Follow the Southwestern Law School LinkedIn page and use it as a tool to search for alumni to connect with.
Whenever possible, customize the request message to include details such as, “I enjoyed hearing you speak during the Careers in Environmental Law panel event.”
Lastly, keep in mind that potential employers do often look over candidates’ social media accounts, and can see your posts, comments, and reactions. Be mindful of the content you post, follow, and “like.”
3. Scan Potential Employer Websites
Go directly to those agencies, studios, or places of work you are interested in and search for summer positions. If there is nothing posted at this time, create a list in your notes or bookmark the page so you can frequently check the website for updates. Further, you can set a personal reminder in your calendar to return to these pages every week, or every other week to see if they’ve posted an application.
Career Services Tip:
Routinely check the Symplicity job board for new positions; check out the Arizona Handbook on the CSO Canvas page for government opportunities; and be on the lookout for the next big recruitment event, PICD (Public Interest Public Service Career Day).
Over the winter break, take time to review application instructions on additional recruitment platforms including, 1L Diversity Associate Positions (see the CSO Guide on Canvas); Southwestern’s On-Campus Interview (OCI) Program Part II; and Southwestern’s Externship Program (see the Externship Portal page).
Be Sure to Calendar the Following Important Dates:
1L Diversity Associate Positions Begin applying December 1, 2020 OCI Part II Apply December 1, 2020 – January 6, 2021 Externship Program January 22, 2021
4. Rework Your Writing Sample
Externship//internship/job applications often require a writing sample. Winter break offers you time to enhance your writing sample. Accordingly, implement any corrections and suggestions your Professor left on your Problem Two Memo. Then, print out your writing sample and read it line by line to ensure it is application ready. Lastly, take note of specific writing sample requirements in each job posting. Employers may have a page limit on the writing sample. As such, you should create alternate versions of your writing sample with certain sections redacted to fit the respective page requirement. When you return to school in January, set-up an appointment with the Writing Center and/or your LAWS Professor to discuss your writing sample.
Career Services Tip:
Save the date for our popular Cover Letter Boot Camp & Writing Samples 101, Co-sponsored by the Writing Center - Sunday, January 10, 2021, 4:00 P.M .(Zoom).
During this presentation, Professor D’Italia will discuss FAQs related to writing samples (what you should use, how long it should be, etc.) and how to make your writing sample stand out to potential employers. In the cover letter portion, we will discuss what lawyers look for in a cover letter, show you common law student pitfalls, and answer all of your questions.
Take a look at the Career Guide on the CSO Canvas page, regarding how to present your writing sample to employers. You need a cover page!
5. Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
As you begin to network and actively seek out employment opportunities, you will want to prepare an “elevator pitch” that succinctly encapsulates pertinent facts about yourself. This pitch should range in time from 30-60 seconds and capture your eagerness, confidence, and uniqueness. Try to maintain a conversational and natural tone. Additionally, the holidays provide a perfect family and friends “audience” to test out this personal message.
Career Services Tip:
Use the suggested questions below to hit the essential points you should cover in your elevator pitch.
Take a look at the Career Guide on the CSO Canvas page for help in formulating a pitch.
- Who am I?
- What specialty am I interested in?
- What makes me different from all of the other people out there?
- Who are my target employers?
- What can I offer to an employer or connection based on my proven accomplishments?
- What is the key message I want the listener to take from our conversation?
Brynn is a Traditional Day 2L student who graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2019 with a dual degree in Dance and Political Science, minoring in Screenwriting. Currently, Brynn works as a law clerk at LeFan Law and, on a project basis, at Lowe and Associates. Upon graduation, Brynn intends to practice within the field of entertainment law.
In addition to having the honor of being a Dean’s Fellow, Brynn is a member of Law Review. Brynn is excited to assist your transition into law school, so please do not hesitate to reach out to her!
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