September 16, 2009

Job Search as an Entrpreneur

Job searching can be a lot like being an entrepreneur -- you really have to believe in your brand, which of course in this case, is you. The blog entry For Entrepreneurs, Every Day is Game Day really resonates as an approach to developing your professional skills and career. Here's the rewrite to make the application fit:

1. Prepare to work long days. You've heard us say it before, we'll say it again. Looking for a job is a job, and it is part of your job as a professional law student. It means reaching out and constantly developing, growing, and nurturing your professional skills, network, and opportunities.

2. Learn to relish the door slam. Okay, maybe not relish, but don't despair either. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Reach out to Law Career Services to maximize our resources and help you craft your job search strategy.

3. Don't make any major strategic decisions in haste. Don't assume that because your best friend found a job quickly that you need to follow their strategy. There are literally thousands of unique reasons why individual job searches unfold the way they do. If you've done your CSI homework by considering your Credentials, Skills & Interests, as well as carefully crafting your personal brand, elevator speech, materials, and job search strategy, you'll be making decisions based on your own insight, not whim.

September 15, 2009

Workplace Communication

David Silverman writes a great blog called "Words at Work" where he discusses communication in professional settings. His latest posting, Did your Email Get Lost In Translation? covers how to make sure your emails are clear, concise, and provide meaning to your reader. Another recent posting titled How to Ask a (Near) Stranger for Help, addresses how to ask for help in a respectful manner that helps convey how this benefits all parties. If in doubt, be deferential.

These pieces of advice are important in not just employer settings but also any professional setting -- communicating with professors, law school administrators (such as Law Career Services or Student Affairs, to name a couple), networking contacts, alumni, and professional organizations. If in doubt, treat communication opportunities as professional, and err on being clear, concise, and conservative.

September 14, 2009

Online Norms Clash with Ethical Obligations

In Florida, a lawyer recently consented to the reprimand handed to him by the state bar last year when he used unprofessional language in criticizing a judge online. The Florida Supreme Court still wanted the matter reviewed on constitutional grounds before upholding the sanctions. Closer to home, another attorney lost her position as an assistant public defender for remarks she made online and now faces disciplinary action. Judges have come under scrutiny for their behavior in the cyberworld too. Another case starts in Texas today dealing with attorneys who have shared too much online. So word to the wise: just don't do it. No matter how juicy, how well you disguise it, your boss and the bar still get the last say on whether it was unprofessional, or worse, unethical.

Invisible Resume

We talk to students often about how they talk to their network contacts, and especially references and recommenders, about their experiences, goals, and talents. This article does a great job discussing how these references serve as your invisible resume because often what a reference leaves unsaid is as important as what they say about you. Yes, it is difficult to hear criticism, but as is often said, perception is reality so make sure you understand how others perceive you, especially if they are the ones you are relying on to help you develop your professional skills, contacts, and career moves.