For many lawyers seeking employment, the legal industry is a crowded one. Not only do you have to compete with all of the others in your field who are also looking for jobs, but there isn’t necessarily even enough demand to accommodate everyone with a law degree. In 2015, the national unemployment rate for law graduates was 15.5 percent, according to the National Association for Law Placement — about triple the overall unemployment rate at that time. So when you’re up against these odds, what can you do to increase your chances of employment?
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips for lawyers on how to get hired:
1. Apply everywhere.
The rule of thumb when few jobs are available is to apply to as many jobs as possible. Be generous with your applications, and send out resumes to every company you can think of, even ones that you wouldn’t necessarily consider if you had your pick of firms. This means that many lawyers actually end up going into consulting, which can pay much better than law and have more openings, even if it’s not what you originally imagined working in.
2. Be flexible.
Because there’s relatively few legal jobs compared to the number of candidates searching for them, you can’t allow yourself to be restricted to a certain geographic area unless you have connections there and plan to get hired that way. There are many law firms across the country that are seeking capable, enthusiastic candidates, and you may have to widen your idea of where you want to live if you want to get a job.
3. Be presentable.
So much of the legal profession is about how people perceive you, which is why it’s so important to look your best, whether at interviews or networking events. Exude a confident, enthusiastic attitude, and show that you are put-together and organized.
4. Double-check everything.
A spelling error on a resume can kill any semblance of professionalism you have put together. Mailing in your resume physically is still the best way to get noticed (short of meeting someone at the company), so double-, triple- and quadruple-check everything to make sure that it is ready to send out.