The single best way to find a job is to network your way to one. Use every single contact you have. Contact everyone you can think of, even if they are not in the legal profession, and ask them to make introductions on your behalf. Let everyone know you are looking. Once you are connected to someone, ask to take the person with whom you have been connected out to lunch or dinner or coffee. Or even ask to just go to the office and meet with the person.
Watch Your Approach – Don’t Ask for a Job, Ask for Advice
Don’t say “do you have a job” say, “do you have any advice on developing my legal career.” Be assertive not aggressive. You don’t want to make the person uncomfortable and thus unwilling to talk. But if the person seems receptive, ask if the firm has any openings, expect to have any openings, or are aware of other firms or companies that might be hiring. Ask for that person’s advice on finding a job.
A lot of lawyers are thinking retirement. If you run into an older solo, ask if the person would be interested in taking someone on board who is looking to be trained and buy out a firm when the solo is ready to retire. Ask to work for fees instead of salary. In this market, be willing to “eat what you kill” and not expect any more than that.
Use Social Media – and Clean it Up
Use social media. Reach out on LinkedIn. People are constantly asking me to make introductions to people I am connected to but they are not. Don’t hesitate to ask, most people will help you. Make sure your social media presence is clean, but shows you as an interesting, well-developed person. Someone who will be able to “make rain” (bring in clients,) and who will be interesting to work with. If you do not have a social media presence, people will be suspicious. Have one. Make it good.
Create a Website
Set up a website (it is cheap) with a detailed bio and well-written blog posts that show you know your stuff. Find areas of the law that interest you and write on them. Discuss new laws, recent cases, anything that shows you know how to write. You will also be showing you know how to market yourself and the firm.
Join Legal and Professional Groups – Be Active
Join bar associations (many offer the first year for free) and sections of bar associations. Go to the events. Bring business cards. Let people know you are looking.
In the meanwhile volunteer. Do whatever you can to get known in the community, every connection is another potential job. Network with the new connections. This will also keep you busy and help stave off the angst you are feeling because of this crazy job market.
Go after the Job – Don’t Wait for it to Find you!
In this market, passively sending out resumes will not work. You have to go out there and get the job.