Attending law school is admirable because getting into law school is something that a lot of people want to achieve but have not been able to accomplish. If you figured out how to survive law school and now you’re ready to embark upon a career in the legal field, you’ll need the same tenacity that was employed prior to and during the pursuit of your education.
It’s not uncommon for people who have passed the bar exam to wonder if they will actually find a job. In many instances, it’s not a matter of finding a job, but finding a career opportunity that you can actually get excited about. Quite frankly, it’s one of the reasons why some law school graduates choose to do something entirely different with their career. Most people want to use their credentials, but they also want a rewarding job.
Now that you have your law degree, there’s more that you need to consider when it comes to professional development. For starters, hands-on experience is something that’s an important part of landing a great opportunity. There was a time when many companies provided on-the-job training. In fact, it was assumed that new hires would receive comprehensive training to help them acclimate to their new role. While there is usually an on-boarding process to gain familiarity with the company, true on-the-job training is less common these days. Employers expect you to be ready and able to hit the ground running without the kind of apprenticeship that was often provided in years past.
Fortunately, there are companies that provide externships and in-practice programs that can assist you with experiential learning. While it can be challenging to work with limited financial gain, hands-on experience can pay dividends into your future if you land an opportunity with a respected firm. Experiential learning programs often allow you to interact with clients and develop many of the skills that will be required in a regular full-time position as an attorney.
From a practical standpoint, there is an important aspect of landing a job after law school. Without a doubt, a strong resume is required to compete in a crowded space. You’ll need to always remember that your application is one of many. There are likely candidates just as qualified and just as eager to obtain a certain coveted position as you are, so you must communicate the value that you can bring to the firm.
Demonstrating the value that you can add to a company requires the development of a solid narrative that goes beyond your education and experience. You must communicate the full breadth and depth of your competencies, including any soft skills that make you the most qualified candidate. This will require you to understand the requirements of the position that you seek, and then align your actual skills accordingly. For instance, you might have experience in project management that could set you apart.
In the legal field, emotional intelligence is a highly coveted competency and one that should be highlighted. The goal is to make a clear and compelling case for why you should be considered for the position.