Providing Insight and Strategic Advice about Legal Recruiting
Recently I read an article by a recruiter who very straightforwardly acknowledged that she often receives unimpressive application materials from job-seekers. This is often a non-starter and the result is…Delete. Why? I would not hire someone who either isn’t willing, able or savvy enough to realize how important this first stage of the screening process is.
When I say “unimpressive”, I’m referring to more than just the resume and academics – I am including and focusing on the cover letter here because the cover letter, which is typically the first impression a reviewer gets, is either poorly written or there is none.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH? The increasing use of email vs. snail mail has resulted in fewer cover letters than ever. Frequently I receive email submissions with no cover letter – no introduction at all. Attached is a resume with no explanation why the applicant is considering a job change or what position they seek. Those that really make me shake my head address me as the employer, rather than a recruiter. They clearly don’t know where they are even sending their resume! Not only does it require extra effort on my part to obtain this necessary information, but their apparent lack of basic understanding about this process often leaves me feeling that the lack of attention to detail reflects a lack of professionalism…and that is a real turn-off. Alternatively, perhaps the candidate has so much self-confidence that he believes that resume speaks for itself, but this is a huge assumption to make.
MATCH YOUR SKILLS TO THE JOB: Stunningly, I get numerous resumes from applicants who aren’t even attorneys. Anyone with basic internet skills and has visited our web site knows that we only work with attorneys. This seems either lazy or desperate to me – and the resume is deleted. What a waste of precious time on both our parts! Wouldn’t they research an employer before an interview? Respect your own time, as well as mine.
RECRUITERS ARE THE “GATEKEEPERS”. Candidates must pass our scrutiny in order to get in front of our employer clients. If your cover letter and accompanying materials don’t show thought, clarity, and relevant details at a glance, they just won’t make the cut. We want to help you get a job – that’s why we are in this business. Take the time to do a thorough and professional job if you truly expect to be taken seriously.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKES STUDENTS MAKE; THE SHORT LIST
REMEMBER - You are smart and have the technological savvy – but THEY have the jobs. Educate yourself about these differences, and show respect for them.
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME QUESTIONS FOLLOWING THE PRESENTATION
1. What are small and medium sized law firms looking for in applicants? Applicants who have the experience in the job description, and with a personality that will mesh in a smaller firm environment.
2. What is the hiring process like for small and mid-size law firms when they hire associates or law students? Typically 1-3 interviews, where you’ll meet main partners and associates. If the firm extends an offer, you will typically have 48 hours to 1 week to accept.
3. How can a student stand out from the rest? Personal presence and message, consistency of brand, impressively-drafted resume, LinkedIn profile, quality of developed relationships (references).
4. If grades are not your strongest asset, what can you do to make yourself competitive? See above, plus a professional Blog can prove valuable in many ways.
5. While in law school, what are some things I can do now that will help me later in my career? Develop an online presence, and start laying groundwork with individuals and at events. See networking tips, above.
6. What areas of law are growing and employing more lawyers? Labor and employment, IP Patent litigation (particularly with an EE or CS degree), some corporate and real estate positions are opening up. What areas of the law are tightening and hiring less? Litigation, Bankruptcy.
6. How did networking influence the job you have (or any jobs that you've had)? I was introduced to attorney recruiting by my brother – who had used a recruiter years before. During law school, we were not educated about the services of recruiters, so I was unfamiliar with the benefits of working with one. We had a good synergy and I joined her business. In 2005, I incorporated Rifkin Consulting.
Another example is that a professional colleague introduced to a journalist at a renowned legal publication. We get together regularly, have developed a really positive personal and professional relationship, and I’ve had significant opportunities to get meaningful PR exposure as a result.
7. After meeting someone at a networking event, what is the best way to cultivate that relationship? Pay attention to that person’s business card, and comment on it when possible. Too often people just discard business cards, but in Asian culture this is considered disrespectful. Send a nice note afterwards to people with whom you wish to remain in contact – calendar follow ups. Show value.
8. What is the #1 thing you should and should not do at a networking event? Ask for a job.
9. Any general tips for anyone that has not been to a networking event?
I hope this information has been helpful. Please check back for additions and modifications, and visit our Professional Resources page at www.rifkinconsulting.com .
PART 2; HOW TO GET STARTED NETWORKING
MAKE CONNECTIONS, DEVELOP THE RELATIONSHIPS
I. SOCIAL NETWORKING AND RELATED VENUES
LinkedIn: enjoy a 360 degree resume – for free!
TWITTER & FACEBOOK
II. IN PERSON NETWORKING
FOLLOWING UP: While you learn what those tips are, you can mention some of the things you’ve done, your skills, and other things that would show you’re a smart person working hard to accomplish your goal.
VENUES FOR NETWORKING
Part One; Why You Must Network
Based on a presentation at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles on 2/12/14.
In 1988, I graduated from Villanova School of Law outside Philadelphia. Villanova is viewed very much back east like Loyola is here in Los Angeles – a highly-regarded regional law school. I worked for a large law firm, and subsequently for small firms. When I relocated to California, I knew no one but a couple of family members.
Since I started attorney recruiting 14 years ago, more than half of those years were during a recession.
What does this information have to do with you? Well, in real estate you always hear the phrase “location, location, location”. What I want you to remember is “connections, connections, connections”. This realization changed my professional life – and I’m confident that it can change yours.
Connections, as well as hard work and a lot of patience, have contributed tremendously to my success in business. On a similar note, developing relationships after I moved to California was critical, and it took years of effort to develop friendships and acquaintances like I had back East for so many years. I mention this because developing connections is, in many ways, like making friends. But like friends, connections and relationships should be chosen carefully. Therefore, it’s important that you network with intention.
Developing personal networking habits and skills will always be essential to your professional success, as there is no replacement for the human connection. What about the importance and efficiency of social media connections and exposure, you ask? Our world is inextricably linked with Social Media. Therefore, it’s hard to separate what you need to know to interview well and/or land a job, versus [personal] networking advice.
You want to know how to get a job, how to keep a job, and how to become secure to weather a recession in the future…b/c the only thing you can really be sure of is…there will be change. Recession will happen again, and technology is rapidly evolving.
Competition may seem greater than ever, with more candidates having access to information about available jobs. However… the GOOD news is that, thanks to technology, you have more information and other resources at your fingertips than previous generations – so what are you going to do now that you are armed with these tools?
NETWORK WITH INTENTION; 3 PARTS TO THIS PRESENTATION
WHY YOU MUST NETWORK; THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
1. Networking is crucial for your career. Effective networking leads to relationships, and people tend to hire other people who they know and like.
2. You are unique – but look to your right and to your left – those people are also unique. You must distinguish yourself with a personal brand.
3. Brand vs. Reputation: Both your brand and reputation are important to your success
To be continued in Part 2: How To Get Started
If you are having trouble getting attorney recruiters to work on your behalf to find a job, there could be a variety of reasons. It is important to identify the reasons and take steps to correct them. Rifkin Consulting often works with those attorneys who are having trouble getting a job and can give sound advice on making yourself more attractive to employers.
What Can I Do To Get A Recruiter's Attention?
Attorney recruiters are like any other professionals; they want the most employable attorneys on their books. They have the best chance of placing these attorneys to big law firms and therefore making larger commissions. Recruiters often have parameters, i.e., some attorney recruiters do not accept attorneys who are looking for jobs in small firms, who are unemployed, or seeking employment in certain practice areas.
However, that does not mean that all recruiters feel this way or that there are no recruiters who will work with you. It may be that you are looking in the wrong places.
Sit down and make two lists: one of your experience and skills in a short, condensed form and one of your career preferences. Type these up in a concise, one-page letter that you can include with your resume. This will help you talk to recruiters about your skills and your career goals quickly and weed out recruiters that simply cannot help you.
Now is also a good time to see if there may be glaring problems with your CV. Were you disciplined by a bar association or denied licensure for some reason? If so, you may find that recruiters are shying away but could promote your resume to a law firm with a good explanation of what happened. Never be afraid to tell the truth; most recruiters have seen various problems with attorneys and may have unique ways of handling your issues.
The Keys To Finding a Good Recruiter
It is very possible that recruiters simply do not know that you are looking for a job, especially if you are unemployed. Contacting a recruiter with your resume may be the easiest way to get your name and face out to potential employers, particularly the decision-makers in the firm. Finding a good recruiter can be difficult; you could rely on the recommendations of those who have successfully worked with recruiters or research the web to review recruiting firms' web sites and reviews.
A good attorney recruiter will help you find employment by matching you with existing law firm jobs. Many recruiters have access to information about jobs that are not necessarily available through normal channels. By helping aspiring attorneys find jobs with top firms as well as "boutique" law practices, attorney recruiters can be a valuable resource, especially for attorneys who are just beginning a job search and are not sure where to look for the right type of employment.
Rifkin Consulting is proud to work with attorneys who face many types of challenges in finding the perfect jobs. For many years, Rifkin Consulting has helped California attorneys find the right jobs with the best law firms and has helped employers identify legal talent. Rifkin Consulting also works with attorneys who are currently employed in order to help them make lateral moves and improve their career prospects.
You finally found a position that you thought would be your "dream job." The partners liked you and promised to put you right to work in litigation, an area in which you are desperate to gain experience. However, it has been six months and you have yet to touch your first case. Instead, they have you in the corporate department, spending your days up to your elbows in mind-numbing paperwork and boring meetings.
This scenario is not as uncommon as you might think. The only way to "compel" a law firm to allow you to do the work you want to do is to have in hand a written contract specifying that you will be allowed to perform certain tasks, and most law firms are simply not going to give you this when you are hired. Far more firms rely on a "gentlemen's" (or ladies') agreement and a handshake to specify your job duties.
Do you have any recourse when you find that your dream job is not what you thought it would be? There is, of course, the possibility of quitting, but most lawyers these days are just glad they have found work and are reluctant to give up their jobs. Should you suffer in silence? Actually, there are ways you may change practice areas, but they require you to understand a few basic rules about working in a law firm.
While it is important to get experience in the areas in which you want to specialize, it is also important to maintain your integrity while job seeking. If you do decide to leave, be sure to give plenty of notice and finish the cases to which you are assigned.
Rifkin Consulting can help you when the time comes to change jobs by finding the right law firm and position to match your skills and preferences.
Sometimes the dream job you thought you would love turns out to be a nightmare position from which you feel you may never escape. This is especially distressing when you have just started a new job and decide in a very short time that you despise the people or the position or both. How soon is too soon to start looking for another job? Will changing a job too quickly look bad on your resume?
The Dilemma of A Bad Job
Bad jobs create their own terrible dilemma. If you quit the job, you risk being earmarked as a quitter or a “job hopper”; however, if you do not quit, you risk not only being miserable but perhaps being fired by the boss who likes you no better than you like him or her.
Generally, your happiness and mental health are worth more than any job. However, you also have to be able to balance your own needs against the danger of moving from job to job whimsically.
A few things to consider when choosing whether or not to leave a job you just started:
How Unhappy Are You?
The biggest question to answer when you are considering leaving a job you just started is: how unhappy are you? You may honestly have given the job a fair chance, but it is also possible that you are allowing your dislike to color your viewpoint. One way to measure how reasonable your dislike of a job really is could be to talk with someone you trust and who is willing to give you an objective opinion of your situation.
If you find that you simply cannot stand to keep a job, of course you must move on. However, be sure that you are making the right decision and that you are willing to accept the consequences of making a sudden job change before you turn in your notice.
There are very good reasons to work with an attorney recruiter when searching for attorney jobs in CA or when law firms have positions to fill. Here are the top ten reasons an attorney recruiter in CA can help match the right candidate with the right job.
A legal recruiter can be a wonderful benefit in your legal job search. Rifkin Consulting has many years of experience helping legal candidates look for jobs and helping law firms connect with the right candidates for their various positions. With the help of Rifkin Consulting, quality attorneys can come together with the right law firms to benefit both.
Hiring an attorney recruiter is a process, in some ways, similar to a job interview. You must be sure that the attorney recruiter is a good match for your needs, and the recruiter must be sure that you are the type of candidate he or she wants to represent. The process of “interviewing” a legal recruiter should be taken every bit as seriously as your job interviews and may well have even more lasting ramifications.
An attorney recruiter in CA such as Rifkin Consulting serves a very important purpose. Finding the right attorney jobs in CA is not a simple task, and hiring an attorney recruiter is one of the best ways to weed through the hundreds of law jobs in CA and find the one that best suits your goals and talents.
Therefore, there are several things you should ask your attorney recruiter before agreeing to representation. Here are a few questions you should ask to learn the important information you need to make the right choice in legal recruiting firms from among those available.
How long have you been working as an attorney recruiter? Ask to see the credentials of the person you are hiring to represent you to law firms throughout the state. A professional attorney recruiting firm has usually been in business for years, offering you a chance to review their success stories and see their development as a key player in the legal field.
How do you go about choosing the right jobs for me? This is a crucial question and is really the key to the success or failure of an attorney recruiter in terms of finding the right positions for you. The attorney recruiter should use a verifiable method of weeding out job possibilities so that he or she focuses only on those that will fit your demands. You do not want a recruiter who simply passes your resume to any law firm that is hiring.
Do you offer support services? An attorney recruiter should offer other services such as resume editing, interview preparation and advice on choosing the right job. Simply brokering your resume to law firms is not enough.
Do you have references to whom I can speak? The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” can also be applied to references. No matter how good a firm tells you it is, hearing it from someone who has used the firm successfully means much more. You should also search the Internet for possible bad references; while one or two do not mean much, a number of bad reviews may signal trouble.
How do you calculate your fees? An attorney recruiting firm is paid by the employer when a candidate is hired and begins employment.
It is also important to consider the necessity of maintaining confidentiality and discretion in this process. You may have other questions to ask a potential attorney recruiter. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification or information; after all, this may be one of the most important relationships of your life.
As an attorney recruiter, I have seen a variety of business cards slide across my desk. Some have been good, some have been bad, and some have been downright ugly. It seems trite, but your business card truly is your own personal form of marketing. What you put on your business card should reflect your brand as an attorney candidate.
The front of a business card is the first thing many people see when you introduce yourself. Therefore, the front of your business card, along with your appearance, can make or break your chances for a job or to retain a client. As a legal recruiter, I have heard law firms exclaim in surprise that they thought the business card did not inspire confidence in the candidate before them. It is worth the effort to examine the front of your business card and determine the most important information to include as well as the placement of that information in the most eye-catching manner.
Having an effective business card means more than just printing your name and telephone number on the front. Not only should you have certain information on your card, you should also include this information in way that immediately draws the eye to the important points and makes a statement about your professionalism and organizational skills.
Here are a few rules to follow when designing the front of your business card.
When it comes to obtaining a lawyer job in California, your business card could be the first step in or out of the door. Rather than leaving it to chance, attorney candidates should give it the careful review it deserves.
As attorney recruiters, we see hundreds of resumes slide across our desks. Unfortunately, although this is an incredibly important part of your overall image, many people are unaware of how to craft a resume that screams hire me, not file me in the waste basket.
Your resume is the most important thing you send out when you are looking for a job. Preparing a resume should not be something you do the night before a job interview; in fact, your resume is an asset just as money in a bank account is an asset. It is also organic, changing, and growing as you gain experience. Updating your resume should be an ongoing activity, and there are specific rules you should follow as you work on perfecting this important document.
When seeking law jobs in CA, it's important for attorney candidates to understand the necessary elements to preparing a successful attorney resume. Our attorney recruitment firm offers editing services for attorney candidates as a standard service, but candidates can benefit from these necessary components.
If a candidate is self-submitting, he or she should be very aware of how impersonal these systems are. Although efficient, they do not “feel” the person with a cover letter or resume that has had professional guidance, and are less likely to make it to the next level. They are very key word driven, and every effort must be taken to have your submissions materials be impeccable. This is where a skilled attorney recruiter can offer help to a candidate that is invaluable.
You may have heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This also applies to a well-written follow-up to an interview. Our attorney recruiters often advise attorney candidates that while once considered unique, a follow up is now just good manners. These days, it is expected that attorney candidates can and will follow up with interviewers to show a deeper understanding of items mentioned and an appreciation for meeting the busy members of the firm.
Even experts sometimes neglect the crucial time just after an interview, but this is a time when, psychologically, many things may hang in the balance of choosing a candidate for hire. The more you can do to make yourself stand out to the partners or hiring committee, the better your chances of securing the job. Our legal recruitment firm has compiled some great tips to follow up well after a good interview.
One problem that everyone wants to have is deciding between two or more job offers. However, this can actually be a very emotionally challenging problem. Agonizing over two equally good jobs is difficult; it helps to “make a list” of the pros and cons of each job, but what factors should be important in choosing the right position?
As an experienced attorney recruiter, I often see how this choice plays out for attorney candidates. When candidates are torn between positions, there are often some factors which may provide the answer. Not all law jobs in California are created equally, so attorney candidates can use the following information to decide between the right position and a position that may just be ok.
When you're looking for lawyer jobs in California, it can sometimes seem like an eternity before you're called in for an interview. Waiting to be called for an interview can be emotionally difficult. It can mean hours of sitting by the phone or the computer, waiting for a call or an email.
As skilled attorney recruiters, we see this frustration a lot. Instead of suffering and putting yourself through stress, why not use this time to your advantage? Here are some tips to help you use the time between sending in your resume and your actual interview wisely.
With the economy in recession, it may be difficult to find career opportunities that match your criteria, experience, and academic achievement. The economic crisis has left few jobs on the market and even lawyers are having difficulty trying to find employment that matches their requirements. You may have considered working with an attorney recruiter, but are still uncertain whether or not you should. Here are several reasons why an attorney recruiter can assist you in building an enriching and successful career as an attorney:
Appearance and Presentation:
Often, applicants do not hear back from potential employers because their cover letters and resumes are unsuccessful and ineffective. Most attorneys are so busy applying to numerous jobs that they do not research each law firm’s background and goals. Ultimately, many attorneys make the awful mistake of sending out generic and plain cover letters and resumes. This usually leads to fruitless results.
Cover letters should be tailored to the law firm and used to create a connection with the firm's recruiting department. If you are not referencing your knowledge of the firm or engaging the reader within the first paragraph, your cover letter will likely be tossed.
Additionally, if your resume and cover letter contain typographical errors, you will most likely not hear back from them. Your first impression, even though on paper, needs to be completely flawless. Fortunately, an attorney recruiter can edit your resume and draft an impressive cover letter while also providing background on the law firm to ensure that your presentation catches the reader's attention.
Interview and Impression:
Numerous applicants find the interview process utterly challenging with multiple phone and in person interviews. The process can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and brutal. It is of the utmost importance that you appear to be the right candidate for the position, but most often interviewees become nervous and fail to create the right impression. An attorney recruiter can help you with the interview process by providing effective tips to guide you in selling your skills and experience.
Ever heard the expression: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Well the statement rings completely true in searching for the right career opportunities. It is absolutely crucial to establish long-lasting connections and relationships in order to generate the best career opportunities. This may be a daunting task for a new or young attorney. At Rifkin Consulting, we offer the benefit of more than 25 years of experience with the legal industry and have many well established relations with successful law firms and exceptional attorneys.
Contact Rifkin Consulting
Whether you are a young associate or longtime partner, we can help provide you with employment opportunities for a permanent and successful career. Our attorney recruiters have your best interest in mind and will search for top tier law firms that exceed your requirements. Contact one of our consultants today so we can assist in achieving your long-term goals as an attorney.
As an attorney search consultant, I believe that partner placements and legal recruiting have become increasingly difficult - and different - during the last five years. The primary reason for this is that as the economy took a drastic turn, many partners' portable books of business did also. As a result, they were faced with two very difficult and contradictory situations: (1) without significant business they may have gotten the "wink and the nod" that they should seek work elsewhere, and/or (2) making a lateral move was difficult because their portable business had diminished. Firms are more reluctant over the last few years to take a "gamble" on partners who previously did well.
Additionally, they significantly raised the required book of "verifiable" business before considering adding them to the firm. Whereas 1 million in portable business used to be a sought-after number, for many large firms that has been raised to 2 million in portable business. Smaller firms generally tend to want to see candidates in at least the $400K-$500K range.
An additional change that I've seen, and continue to observe, is with attorneys who were previously "service partners". These attorneys often did not do business development, nor were they encouraged to do so, because there was enough work from other partners. Sometimes it was even discouraged.
Unfortunately, when the economy experienced a downturn and the work was no longer plentiful, these senior attorneys who were not self-supporting were often told to find other work. Again, the lack of portable business was a harsh reality that has continued to plague many. I have spoken with many attorneys in this situation - some have gone from making huge salaries to just getting by. They have become a sad casualty of the economy – and the evolution of the law firm model - as a result of the recession. My sense is that even when the economy rebounds, service partners will be less desirable than previously. I always advise candidates to do whatever they can to be self-supporting - it's ultimately a matter of survival.
I’ve noticed that the most informed and highly-regarded attorney recruiters want to obtain a lot of information from me. What if I don’t want to tell them about my salary or why I want to leave my job? Can’t they just tell me what jobs are available in the market?
Understanding several things about professional recruiters will not only answer these questions, but will also enhance your overall recruiting experience.
Given that recruiters are compensated by the clients, it’s crucial that we carefully screen candidates for important information; examples of this would be salary, required compensation, ability to relocate, hours regularly billed, and about their evaluations. In-depth screening helps us determine whether a candidate is a good fit for a particular job, a personality fit for a prospective employer, and helps us to assess whether a candidate will be communicative and forthcoming during the placement process. This information should be kept in the strictest confidence (at Rifkin Consulting, we take this seriously and have a Privacy Statement on our website. Read it here
The recruiting process frequently takes a good deal of time. However, there are often times when we need a timely response from a candidate, such as when scheduling an interview. If we are working with a candidate who is difficult to track down and does not show genuine interest in exploring opportunities, then it's better to know this early on so that we can direct our efforts on placements that are more likely to move forward and with candidates who are more willing.
Specific job information is rarely shared during a first call or email. Our insider information is a valuable asset – and recruiters want to feel confident that a candidate will not utilize this information outside of the relationship for self-gain. Sounds terrible – but it happens. Therefore, it’s important that we first try to determine whether this job seeker is serious about a job search and willing to be loyal and work together once information is shared. There are several ways this can be ascertained, such as if the candidate quickly sends a resume other requested materials and information that are crucial to the process. Additionally, it’s very important for a candidate to provide a list of any submissions that have already been made, so that the recruiter can move forward in an informed manner and not duplicate efforts. Once a candidate takes advantage of a recruiter or is dishonest, the relationship can rarely be repaired.
We are your managers, your counselors... facilitating the process on your behalf from beginning to end. With mutual respect, the relationship can be rewarding, long-term and successful!
I have sent my resume to several attorney recruiters and none of them responded. Couldn’t they have at least said “sorry, not a fit”, “we’ll keep it on file”, or “get lost!”? Why does it seem like a black hole when I send my resume to inquire about a job?
At Rifkin Consulting, we truly understand your frustration about the general lack of response from many recruiters. In our office, while we make a concerted effort to respond to every resume that we receive, it’s just not feasible to expect a personal phone call or response in all cases. Let me explain why, from my perspective…..
Most resumes that recruiters receive are unsolicited. While this is not unusual, it’s possible for a successful recruiter to receive dozens of resumes each day. Sometimes, the resumes we receive aren’t even from lawyers (which make us wonder if they even understand where they are sending it!). Many others are clearly not on point for the job about which they are inquiring. In any business, time must be used most efficiently in order to be successful – and recruiting is no exception. Trying to balance this hard cold fact with compassion is not always easy, and a recruiter’s time must necessarily be spent primarily with candidates who they can place.
Responding to every resume that comes in would take a huge amount of time – and would take away from our efforts and obligations to our active candidates. Think about your own work day; would you be able to add an extra hour daily to an effort that doesn’t produce business? No matter how much you wish you could…it’s just not feasible. Recruiters don’t mean to be rude or lacking in compassion – they just have to prioritize their work as anyone else does.
We review every resume that reaches our desk and screen it carefully for a possible job match now – or in the future. We try to respond to each – even if to just acknowledge its receipt. Try not to take it personally if you don’t receive an email or a phone call – we aim for excellence in our profession and are known for good communication with candidates and law firm clients – but there are just so many hours in a day!
Rejection hurts. As a society, we inherently associate rejection with failure—but we need to learn that rejection is a chance for us to react, respond, and recommit to our goals. While it may not seem like the case yet, being turned down by a potential employer might be the best thing that happened to you. Here are three reasons why you didn’t get the position you were hoping for, and how to improve your job search efforts in the future.
Not A Good Fit
One of the biggest challenges for any attorney recruiter is finding the right employee for the right company. Not only do applicants have to have the basic skills to do a job, but they must also be a good culture fit for the company. Your personality needs to meet that of the company you’re interested in.
If you think you’ll be a great fit, it may be difficult to convey your interests on paper without seeming too forward or giving too much information. In order to show off your personality and prove to the recruiter that you are the perfect candidate, do your homework. Research the company’s culture and reputation, and write your cover letter and resume in response to what you find.
Didn't Follow Directions
If a recruiter asks for a short cover letter, write a short letter. If they request salary requirements, be honest. If they ask for samples of your work or a link to your portfolio, do so. Recruiters spend hours searching for the right candidate. The last thing they want to do is exchange multiple emails asking you for documents or information that you should have sent them in the first try. Some might just ignore you completely if you didn't follow directions.
While you’re at it, make sure that you pay attention to details. Search your resume and cover letter for typographical or grammatical errors.
Lack of Basic Requirements
Simply put, you don’t meet the basic requirements. Maybe they’re looking for someone who has five years of experience, but you only have four. It’s not any fault of your own. At the end of the day, you’ll find a company that is the right fit for you, no matter what the requirements or culture. You just have to keep looking.
"I am a new law school graduate, and I contacted a legal recruiter to help me get a job. Why won't they work with me?"
Don’t take it personally! Many recruiters want to be able to help new law school graduates; however, clients will only work with recruiters to hire attorneys with at least one year of post law school experience in a law firm setting. Why?
There are several reasons that firm clients take this position.
Additionally, few law firms will use the services of recruiters to hire young attorneys with only clerking experience. Often law firms and law clerks utilize internal connections to facilitate such hires.
It’s important to understand the aforementioned reasons why an attorney recruiter can’t assist you with your job search if you are a new graduate or Bar-admittee. You’ll need to be very proactive on your own if you weren’t successful during OCI, or if your school does not participate in OCI recruiting. Learning about the various venues for networking and research, such as your local Public Law Center, can provide valuable experience as well as leads. Good luck!