Thursday, September 30, 2010

Great Resources for Finding a Job with Federal, State, or Local Governments

http://www.pslawnet.org/  - a collection of federal legal job postings from a wide variety of sources and posted new announcements every week in our opportunities database.

http://www.pslawnet.org/federalgovernmentresources - Make sure and scroll down to the heading "Jobs for Students, Recent Graduates, and Experienced Attorneys" for information on various honors programs and deadlines.

http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/2010_PUBLIC_CAPITOL_HILL_GUIDE_FINAL.pdf
Yale Law School's guidebook breaks down the types of employment opportunities available on the Hill and includes personal narratives from Hill employees.

http://www.senate.gov/employment/po/positions.htm - This is the official recruitment site for the United States Senate. Updated weekly, opportunities range from unpaid internships to legislative counsel to chief of staff positions.

http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/PUBLIC-Crim_Prosecution_Guide_2009.pdf - This Yale Law School publication provides information on both summer and permanent hiring processes in U.S. Attorneys’ and local prosecutors' offices.  For more information on careers in criminal justice, see PSLawNet’s Prosecution/Public Defense Career Resource Page.

http://www.pslawnet.org/uploads/Resume_Cover_Letter_Spring_2009_PUBLIC.pdf - This Georgetown University Law Center publication includes tips for constructing resumes and other application materials.  Note that most federal resumes requested through USA Jobs require more detail than traditional legal resumes.  See How Do I Make my Application a Success? for more information.

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/plumbook/2008/2008_plum_book.pdf - This publication, commonly referred to as the Plum Book, is published every four years, just after the Presidential election.  The Plum Book contains data (as of September 1, 2008) of over 7,000 Federal jobs that are political appointee positions.  If you find a position that interests you, apply directly through that agency.  See Political vs. Career Hires for information on political hires.

http://www.pslawnet.org/stateandlocalgovernmentresources - State and local government resources.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ten Easy Tips for Networking Your Way into a Job

By: Derren Thompson

We all know that networking can be key to landing that great job when you graduate, or enhancing your skill set to position you for a promotion. At the same time, we also know that networking can be intimidating to many. Have you ever hesitated to attend an event because you thought you didn’t know how to network? Or, when you arrived at an event and met people, had no idea what to talk about after the handshake?

Let me share a few tips about networking that will make it a fun and worthwhile experience.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Report: Unemployment High Because People Keep Blowing Their Job Interviews

by The Onion

With unemployment at its highest level in decades, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a report Tuesday suggesting the crisis is primarily the result of millions of Americans just completely blowing their job interviews.

According to the findings, seven out of 10 Americans could have landed their dream job last month if they had known where they see themselves in five years, and the number of unemployed could be reduced from 14.6 million to 5 million if everyone simply greeted potential employers with firmer handshakes, maintained eye contact, and stopped fiddling with their hair and face so much.

Continue to full article.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tell Me About Yourself

by: Claudine Meilink

As a college career counselor, I conduct mock interviews with students almost daily during recruitment season. While I understand that students need guidance with their interview skills, it confounds me that students – and alumni – always are caught speechless with my first question:

“So, tell me about yourself.”

This question is often used by interviewers as a breaking the ice question.

Trust me on this – nothing about this question is simple, easy or breaks the ice.

Students often tell me they dread this question, however, this is a question all students should be prepared to answer. If you use it as an opportunity to showcase your accomplishments and skills, you should be on your way to acing your interview.

Here are some basics to keep in mind:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eighteen Great Ways to Get the Most Out of Career Services (part 2)

from Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams by Kimm Alayne Walton

10.  Check job listings from the Career Services Office every day.  Ok. Twice a week, at least.  At every law school I visit, there will be students who've nailed phenomenal, unusual summer jobs.  Entertainment jobs.  Sports jobs.  Unique opportunities in all kinds of desirable specialities.  While they usually get these jobs through self-initiated contact with employers, there are always students who got their job the old-fashioned way: through a posting at Career Services.  Believe it or not, your CSO does get postings for amzing opportunities.  If you don't think so, it's because you don't check the job postings often enough!

11.  Do mock interviews.  Practice is the way you get good at interviewing.  When students have told me about being rejected after numerous interviews, I can bet dollars to doughnuts that there's a simple hitch in their interviewing that needs repair.  Mock interviews can save you from that fate, before you set foot into real interviews for the first time!

12.  When you suffer setbacks, don't suffer alone.  Go to the CSO for a shoulder to cry on.  Every law student faces setbacks in their job search.  If you think you know classmates who don't . . . trust me, they do.  The fact is, they call them career counselors for a reason.  Counseling is the primary function of the folks at your CSO.  Part of their job is providing comfort; that's why you'll always notice a box of Kleenex on their desks!  There's no question that sharing your feelings and concersn with a sympathetic ear will make you feel better.  If you need it, reach out for it.

13.  Looking out of town?  Have the CSO get you reciprocity with a law school in the city you're targeting.  When you're looking for jobs in another city, wouldn't it be great to be able to utilize a Career Services Office there?  Well, great news.  That's usually possible, via what's called "reciprocity."  We have standing reciprocity with all of the schools in the Northwest Consortium (Brigham Young University, Gonzaga University, Lewis & Clark, Seattle University, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, University of Idaho, University of Oregon, University of Utah, University of Washington and Willamette University.)  Notify us if you're interested in being granted reciprocity with these schools or others.  We will need to contact the school's Career Services Office for you.

14.  Make sure the CSO has an updated resume from you.  Make sure that you keep your resume in Symplicity current and up to date.

15.  Let the CSO know about any special skills you have.  That is, skills of interest to employers.  Again, keep your resume current and keep us aprised of any special, unique computer or language skills, security clearance, etc.

16.  Make sure the CSO knows you're looking for a job--and what kind of job you're seeking. If you don't tell people you're looking for a job, they'll assume you aren't looking.  There's no shame in admitting you're looking.  The majority of students don't get jobs through on-campus interviews.  Tell people at the CSO what you want, so they can help you find it!

17.  Recognize the limits of what the CSO can do--they're your sherpa.  You still have to climb the mountain.  Remember, it's a partnership between the CSO and the students.  Career Services exists to help you get a job, not get the job for you.  They give you the skills and the resources to find and secure a job and help you along the way.

18.  Don't let your parents (or your spouse) call Career Services on your behalf . . . and for gosh sakes, don't ask them to!   As one Career Services Director points out, "It's totally unprofessional.  You're the one who's going to be a lawyer.  It doesn't matter who's paying your tuition.  It will hurt your image.  Talk about your issues directly."

19.  If you've got a beef with the CSO, talk with the director personally.  No trashing them in blogs, no mass emails.  Talk to them and be polite. 
  • A.  Whatever you think, you need to know that the CSO is on the same side as you.
  • B.  Addressing issues with people directly--rather than humiliating them--is a smart strategy for your career. You'll do your reputation a favor if people believe you're a stand-up person, that you address grievances directly with the person/people you feel have wronged you.  People will respect you and want to work with you.  Develop that trait while you're still in school.  It will serve you well forever.
  • C.  Remember that your classmates today will be your colleagues tomorrow.  You want your classmates to remember you favorably.  They may be in a position to hire you or throw work your way.  You want them to think of you as a smart person with good judgment.  Conducting a CSO witch hunt doesn't creat that image for you.  Quietly commiserating with friends about your job hunt--absolutely.  There's a camaraderie in sharing disappointments.  But remember that you're not just creating an image with employers; you're doing it with classmates as well.
  • D.  You don't want grudging help from your CSO.  You want them to be genuinely enthusiastic about you.   If you're frustrated, by all means go to the CSO and say so.  Make an appointment with your counselor or director and pour out all of your job search frustrations.  Ask for help.  I'm not telling you to be stoic.  But if you're direct and honest about how you feel, and you let the CSO work with you, I promise good things will result!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Eighteen Great Ways to Get the Most Out of Career Services (part 1)

from Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams by Kimm Alayne Walton

1.  Woody Allen said 80% of life is showing, so: show up!  No matter what Career Services can do for you, if you don't go there, they can't do anything for you!  Many a Career Services Director has sadly told me of the experience of being at graduation, and seeing faces they've never seen before.  You could be passing up a dream gig if you don't give the CSO a chance to help you.  Schedule a counseling session at https://www.law.byu.edu/Career_Services/Counseling/Schedule.

2.  It's never too early in your job search process to ask for help (beginning Nov. 1 of your first year--before that, it is too early.)  From figuring out what classes will be useful to you, turning you on to activities both in-school and in the lgal community that will help you, to internships, clerkships, you name it . . . let the CSO be your partner in charting your career.

3.  Go to Career Services panels and speeches.  If your law school is like most schools, your CSO puts on a staggering array of presentations.  From "brown bag" informal lunches with practitioners to speakers to panels to workshops to career days and job fairs, there might be something going on seemingly all the time.  From helping you figure out what you want to do by hearing about other people's experiences to making valuable contacts, . . . attend as many of these functions as you can.

4.  Have Career Services counselors review your written materials, resumes and correspondence, before you send them out.  The counselors in the CSO have seen it all, and the more pairs of eyes you have reviewing and proofreading your work, the better off you are.  Whether it's the tone, the way you "pitch" yourself, or even typos, they'll pick up on a lot that you'd never notice alone.

5.  Read their emails. You probably get a bunch of emails from Career Services.  And when you're pressed for time, you've got your studies, your friends, your life . . . you may be tempted to ignore those emails.  Don't!  It's worth a quick glance to see what they're telling you--it takes ten seconds to skim an email.

6.  Don't put the CSO in a horrible position by ignoring employer deadlines.  Whether it's a resume drop for an employer or an application drop-dead date, make sure you get your materials in on time.  Deadlines are a fact of working life.  When you get out of school and start a job, you'll find that deadlines are crucially important to your employer.  Whether it's turning in work to your supervisor or depositing motions and other documents with the court, you can't ignore deadlines imposed on you by others.  Get into a very valuable habit now, and heed deadlines!

7.  You are the national object of bounty of alums from your law school.  Ask the Career Services Office to put you on to helpful alums and mentors.  "Career Services Directors are a kind of chamber of commerce for the law school--their primary function is to market students to employers," William and Mary's Rob Kaplan.  Take advantage of our alumni & JRCLS databases in addition to the many programs, lectures, info sessions to make contacts with alumni.

8.  Use the Career Services Office Library --especially for materials unique to your school.  Research is so crucial at so many junctures during your job search--from self-assessment tests to finding out what's out there to getting the basic information about specific employers in preparation for interviews.  Your CSO will have books, videos, online resources, you name it, to help you at every turn.

9.  Get the inside skinny on employers . . . and respect the confidentiality of what you hear.  Sometimes the CSO can offer information you can't find on a website, message board, or chatroom.  However, keep the information confidental if it's less than complimentary.  If it's positive, you can attribute the source.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Job Satisfaction vs. a Big Paycheck

By Phyllis Korkki

It’s an issue that tugs at many of us: the trade off between a satisfying job and a satisfying paycheck. Students have to ponder the question when considering a college major or embarking on a career. Workers are concerned about it when weighing a promotion that would bring longer hours and more stress along with higher pay.

In many ways, achieving the right balance depends on one’s values, priorities, family obligations and spending habits. But according to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there is something of a magic number when it comes to income and happiness.

Beyond household income of $75,000 a year, money “does nothing for happiness, enjoyment, sadness or stress,” the study concluded.

It’s not so much that money buys you happiness but that lack of money buys you misery, said Daniel Kahneman, a professor emeritus of psychology at Princeton and one of the authors of the study. “The lack of money,” he said, “no longer hurts you after $75,000.”

Continue to full article.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Professional Development Skills Training Highlights - Jeff Rust, Corporate Alliance

Jeff Rust, Corporate Alliance, http://www.knoweveryone.com/
  • Those who will do well in their careers will be those that build a successful network.
  • Build security by building relationships with people.
  • People do business with those they know, like, & trust.
  • Watch out for the "what's in it for me mentality." Especially if you need a job.
  • Build a relationship "just because."
  • Don't base investments on relationships based on your perception of the potential returns.
  • Don't just be concerned w/ quantity of relationships, but with quality of the relationships.
  • Every opportunity has its roots in relationships.
  • Relationship building takes practice. Take opportunities to practice often. Have a goal at each event.
  • Most opportunities come from repeated interactions, not the initial interaction.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lecture Series Highlights--Tips for Successful Interviewing

by Jared Sine, Latham & Watkins

Start early
  • Network
  • Law School Alumni/other BYU Supporters
  • Early Interviewing Days: NY/DC
  • Practice Interviews
Brand Yourself
  • Questions:  Who are you?
  • Accomplishments?
  • What do you do well?
  • What are you interested in?
  • What do you want others to know about you?
  • How do you want to be perceived?
Build Answers into Your Resume
  • Legal experiences that demonstrate your abilities
  • Non-legal experiences that are interesting
  • Extra-curricular activities make a difference
Research
  • Firm: Practice areas/lawyers' accomplishments
  • Culture, training, hiring practices, partnership and other opportunities
  • Sources: Vault (contact CSO for username & password); firm website, present/former attorneys at the firm, etc.
The Interview Process
  • Selling yourself: personally, as a future lawyer
  • Use effective anecdotes to illustrate strengths/overcome concerns; answer/ask questions; responding to interviewer's responses
  • Show interest without showing desperation: you have other options, be confident that you belong, be natural
Effective Name Dropping
  • Other law firms with which you are interviewing, lawyers/persons of note who work in interviewer's circles, clerkships
Overcoming Concerns
  • Anticipate the interviewers' concerns
  • Prepare responses to concerns that demonstrate a connection to the legal profession/practice area, convey that you understand the hours;workload requirements, ease concerns that you are not a long-term investment, and other concerns
  • Turn potential concerns into strengths where possible
Asking and Answering Questions that Sell Yourself
  • Effective use of resume
  • Anticipate questions by creating ties to the area, memorizing interviewer names, identifying practice interests and interest in firm
  • Prepared questions: select areas of interest, prepare to respond to responses
Interview Myths
  • Callbacks are only for the firms to sell themselves--not true--they are still looking to see if you're a good fit for the firm
  • Legal interviews are for "schmoozing"
  • Students with higher GPAs always get the nod over students with a lower GPA -- not true; experiences can counterbalance grades; strong interview skills?  those things can swing the balance; also a good reference from alumni, other contact can help open the door

Friday, September 10, 2010

FBI Info Session Highlights

Special Agent Juan Becerra presented an information session about the FBI on 9/8/2010.

http://fbijobs.gov/

A few highlights from his presentation:
  • You will need a bachelor's degree + 3 years full-time professional experience or graduate degree + 2 years full-time professional experience.  That full-time experience can occur before your graduation and doesn't have to be law related, although it should be professional in nature or include supervisory experience.
  • Those with foreign language ability, prior military experience, or women are especially sought after.
  • Those with foreign language ability will have to pass the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT).
  • The FBI accepts applicants with a wide variety of professional backgrounds; those with backgrounds in accounting, languages, prior military, or computer science, extremely desired.
  • Requirements:  U.S. citizen; between 23-36 (although willing to consider slightly older if prior military service); must be able to pass a vision test; color recognition test; have a current driver's license; and be able to pass the physical fitness test.
  • The FBI has 56 field offices in the U.S. and 400 satellite offices around the world.
  • The FBI employs 13,000+ special agents and 20,000+ analysts, professionals, and support staff.
  • It takes approximately 8-12 months to process applications.
  • Number one priority for the FBI currently is anti-terrorism, although cybercrime is also a major priority.
  • Looking to hire up to 720 this year.
  • Internship program in the works--waiting on funding--keep checking website.
If you would like more information or would like Agent Becerra's contact information for questions, please contact MariLee Allred.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Worst Things That Have Ever Happened to You

By: Kelly Cuene

You’ve heard the phrase, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” right? Well, what doesn’t kill you also makes for good interview material.

Some of the trickiest interview questions are those that ask you to recall a negative experience or talk about your weaknesses. Questions like:

Tell me about a time when you failed.

What are your greatest weaknesses?
What is the greatest obstacle you’ve overcome?

These kind of questions can often catch candidates off guard. They might bring up painful, embarrassing and negative experiences. It is challenging to convey what happened without complaining or coming across as overly negative.

Some tips for handling these types of interview questions:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10 Things You Should Know about a Business Lunch

from Corporette


No, we’re neither Debrett’s nor Emily Post, but we know a thing or two about conducting ourselves properly at a business lunch… we’ve also seen some truly bad manners.

Thus, whether you’ve been to a million business lunches or you’re just starting out, 10 Things You Should Know: