Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Make Your Bilingualism an Asset in the Job Search

If you can talk about and demonstrate bilingual skills, they can be a valuable asset in the job market. MSN’s Career Builder site offers helpful tips:
Don’t put your language skills under “other”
As you would with any other skill on your résumé, you should quantify your ability to speak fluently. Don’t treat it like a hobby and bury it at the bottom of your résumé. “I would treat it like any other skill by listing it on your résumé and including examples of how it was used to your advantage,” says John Millikin, clinical professor of management at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Quantify how your language skills helped business, whether it was by growing sales or reaching new audiences.

Understand what they need and what you can do
When researching the position, find out why the company might need a bilingual employee. Is the company expanding into a new region or diverse markets? Is it looking to better support an existing market?

Some positions will require someone who is a native speaker due to the level of written and oral interaction. Other positions may just require someone with the ability to correspond with internal teams from the around the world. By understanding how your language skills will be used, you’ll be better able to fine tune your résumé and cover letter.

Full article here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Success Strategy: Keeping the Job Search Alive During the Summer Months

by Kristen Pavón

With an entire school year behind them and final exams over, your students are no doubt ready for some rest and relaxation. However, dropping the ball on the job search during the summer break would be a mistake. Here are a few tips for your students to successfully tackle the job search over the summer.

1. Get Organized
Set the stage for a productive summer. Before diving into that glistening pool or suiting up for your first day of your internship, think about what you want to accomplish this summer in terms of your job search and professional development.

It’s tempting to let your job searching efforts die down during the summer because you’ve worked so hard for the last nine months, but by continuing your search, or even revving it up, you’ll have the advantage later.

Brainstorm, check calendars of events, then make a list and set tangible goals. For example, my summer to-do list might include (1) attend five after-hours networking happy hour events to meet other law students and local attorneys, (2) meet with three attorneys for lunch or coffee to learn about their work, (3) apply for seven jobs, (4) subscribe to two law-related newsletters or magazines, and (5) study, take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.

My favorite online task management tool is Wunderlist. Wunderlist is a simple, free application that you can access online and download to your phone, iPad, and computer. You can create lists for different projects and add tasks to each list with completion dates and reminders.

Getting organized will help you maintain accountability for your job search efforts and stay motivated to accomplish what you’ve set out to do over the summer!

2. Keep track
This tip is critical. I cannot emphasize enough how useful it is to keep track of your job search and professional development efforts. Good things to keep track of this summer include job applications, goal lists, networking contacts, and your completed summer work assignments.

Start a spreadsheet (or whatever organization method is right for you) to keep track of jobs you’re interested in applying for and jobs you’ve already applied for. Beyond that, you can include as much
or as little information as you want. In my own job search spreadsheet, I have columns for the employer name, job title, job location, the required application materials, application deadline, contact information, the date I applied, and follow-up notes.

You can create similar spreadsheets for your goals, networking contacts, and summer work. For keeping track of networking contacts, I suggest including names, contact information, the contact’s employer, a quick sentence on how you met him or her, and follow-up notes.

Keeping track of your summer work is especially helpful when putting together application materials once the summer is over. With projects and assignments fresh in your mind, I suggest jotting down case names, the organization for which you worked on the cases, the lawyers you worked with, and a quick description of the legal and factual issues you handled.

This way, you’ll be able to reference this document when choosing which writing sample to send an employer or when tailoring your résumé and cover letter to a particular job opening.

3. Rework
Résumés, cover letters, and lists of references are living documents. Don’t neglect them over the summer break. Take time to review your résumé — try out a new sleek and simple format or test a modern-yet-professional font. Also, be sure to update any experiences you may have just wrapped up (e.g., change “research, write, and draft” to “researched, wrote, and drafted”).

The same goes for cover letters. Once you’ve found a general format that you’re comfortable with, it’s easy to stick to the same script. I argue that the moment you’re comfortable with the format of your cover letters, it’s time to change things up. For example, if you normally end your cover letter by leaving the ball in the employer’s court with something like, “thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon,” maybe it’s time to try, “thank you for your consideration, I will contact you within two weeks to follow up on my application.”

Finally, over the summer, reach out to your references to make sure their contact information hasn’t changed. Use this as an opportunity to check in with them and maybe even meet with them for coffee or lunch if they’re local (you’ll be able to cross it off of your summer goal list!).

4. Give back
In addition to developing a relationship with your own mentor this summer, try mentoring someone yourself. This will allow you to do three important things: (1) provide valuable guidance to someone
who may be interested in law school or public interest law, (2) develop your mentoring style and skills, and (3) reinvigorate your own passion for public interest law. To find a mentee, reach out to your undergraduate institution’s pre-law counselors and let them know you’re available to chat with students.

5. Learn
During the fall and spring semesters, you learned about the law and developed practical legal skills.
Supplement your education this summer by honing non-legal skills that are also crucial to lawyering.
Many community colleges offer affordable, work schedule-friendly community education classes over the summer. Useful classes to take include public speaking, financial management, business skills, marketing, nonprofit management, or any foreign language.

Additionally, take advantage of free or low-cost educational events in your area or online, such as webinars, bar association lectures, or law school summer events.

6. Recharge
You’ve spent at least nine long months reading, briefing, breathing, and living case law. You deserve a break. Make sure to find time to relax and do what you enjoy.

If you’ll be interning or working in a big city this summer, check out PSLawNet’s Having Fun on the Cheap page at for suggestions. To add a few books to your summer leisure reading queue, go to PSLawNet’s Summer 2012 Reading List at

Kristen Pavón is concluding her year as NALP’s PSLawNet Fellow.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Don't Miss These Upcoming Application Deadlines

Upcoming application deadlines:

Early Interviewing Program:  Monday, July 9th at 8:00 am

On Campus Interviews: Monday, August 6th at 8:00 am

Las Vegas Job Fair:  Monday, August 13th at 8:00 am

Please note:  You can only apply for one Early Interviewing Session/track, however, you can apply for any and all of the remaining events.  For example, LV Fair, OCI's and DC/NYC/Chicago would be perfectly fine. 

Apply for all of these programs in Symplicity:

Top 6 Body Language Mistakes Interview Candidates Make


You’ve worked hard to prepare for your job interview. You’ve practiced answering questions – even those weird behavioral questions that interviewers tend to throw your way. You’ve thought about questions to ask your interviewer, and carefully selected anecdotes of your work experience that will let the employer know that you’re the right one for the job. But if you think you’re ready to go out and land that job – think again. You may not realize it, but it’s not what you say that can put you ahead of the candidate pack when you interview – it’s what you don’t say but are able to express through body language.

“Because applicants are so similar in the schools they attended, the degrees they have, the jobs they’ve held, and the resumes and cover letters that they provide, the interview is an outstanding opportunity for you to differentiate yourself,” said Bruce Clarke, President and CEO of human resource management firm CAI. “The best way to do that is to use your nonverbal communication during the interview to show that you’re physically and emotionally engaged. Otherwise, it’s very easy for an interviewer to put you in that bucket with everybody else – where you’ll be anonymous and easily forgotten.”

The Best And Worst Nonverbal Cues

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Grads: Avoid These 10 Job Search Mistakes That Cost You Time and Money

by Susan P. Joyce

Your first “real” (as in, now-I-must-be-self-supporting) job search is a learning experience like no other.  So many options; so little time! You do NOT want to make mistakes, but you may not be clear on exactly what to do next and what is appropriate.

The 10 mistakes new grads (and many others) make that postpone that first paycheck:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

10 Tips for a Powerful Elevator Speech


Elevator Speeches are becoming an important item in the toolkit of most people. It doesn’t matter if you are a job seeker, business person or gainfully employed professional, you need a powerful Elevator Speech (ES) to extend and support your personal brand.

What you say and how you say it are equal parts to delivering an ES that will either cause people to take notice of you or go to sleep.

Here are ten tips for ensuring you have an ES that packs a punch:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Professional Electronic Etiquette

by Stephanie Mitchell  

What Is Etiquette?

Etiquette is not fancy or complicated. The heart of etiquette is respecting people and making them feel comfortable. As Emily Post once said, “Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one another, you have etiquette.”

I tell students that the easiest way to figure out what to do is to consider how they would like to be treated — and treat others the same way. They should think about this for all the technology they use: smartphones, email, voicemail, social media, and so on.

To put this in into practice, I walk students through a typical workday as follows.

On the Way in to Work

As soon as you open the doors of your work building—before you’ve gotten in the elevator or gone up to your floor—be present. This is important because being a successful lawyer is all about making connections. These connections might be with people who will become your clients. Or, they might be with other lawyers who will give you work and help you succeed in the office. In order to make those connections, you need to make a good impression.

Be present and available to talk to the people around you. If you’re staring intently at your iPhone or still have your earbuds in, you’re sending a message: don’t approach me because I’m busy with something else.

In Your Office

Once you get to your office, you’re on company time. If you have a personal smartphone and you want to keep an eye on it, be discreet. Turn the ringer off.

If you have your personal email and social media up while you’re working, ask yourself if your productivity is being affected. If you can honestly say that it doesn’t distract you and you don’t feel the need to check it every few minutes, then it sounds as if you’re in control of the technology. If your work is suffering because you’re distracted, turn it off.

When to Use Email at Work

A lot of work in an office is done over email, but it’s important to remember that email is a tool.
Whenever you use email, think about whether it’s the best tool to use in that specific situation.

Email is very effective for:

• Sending a quick update
• Answering a quick question
• Keeping a record of communication

Email is not effective for:

• Conveying emotion
• Being nuanced
• Solving a detailed problem that confuses you

When in doubt, speak to the sender in person or on the phone. It can be faster and more effective to solve an issue in real time, with a real person. A face-to-face interaction allows you to understand more nuance and get immediate clarification. It also reminds your superiors that you’re a real person, working hard for them. That is a good thing in a legal environment. In fact, it’s a good thing in any work environment!

Writing Professional Emails

Writing a professional email is different from writing a personal email. Here are few things to keep in mind:

• Make sure you have a professional-looking email address for job applications. This is generally your first and last name. Try to avoid numbers. (Definitely do not use!)
• Always have a relevant subject line.
• Address the person you’re sending a message to by name. This means starting your email with: “Alison,” or “Hi Alison.”
• Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Use the spell-checker function in your email for every single email. Lawyers notice details and you don’t want them to think you’re sloppy.
• Emoticons are generally not appropriate in professional emails. Along the same lines, try not to use too many exclamation marks!
• Finish your email with a sign off, and then your name. For example: “Regards, Stephanie.”

Making Professional Phone Calls

Here’s what you should keep in mind when you make professional phone calls:

• Your office voicemail message should be professional, stating who you are and where you work.
• Your personal voicemail message should also sound professional. When acquaintances and prospective employers call you, they should be able to imagine you as a professional working in their office.
• When you make a phone call, always identify yourself.
• Ask if the person has time to speak to you.
• When leaving a message, make sure to say who you are, give your contact information, and briefly say why you would like to speak to the person.

In Your Supervisor’s Office

When you’re in your supervisor’s office or meeting with a client, you don’t want to be distracted. If your smartphone buzzes and you break your concentration to check it, you’re giving the message:
“This is more important than you are.”

In the rare times when you do have an impending emergency — something as momentous as your wife in labor at the hospital—apologize at the start of the meeting. Explain what’s happening in your life, and apologize that you have to keep your phone on. If you do receive a call, move into the hall or another office to answer it privately.

In a Meeting

When you’re in a meeting or attending a presentation, think about it this way: if you were leading the meeting, would you want people to be “secretly” checking their phones on their laps and Facebook on their laptops?

Speakers know what you’re doing. Checking your phone or social media on your laptop sends a message that you might be familiar with by now: “This is more important than you are.” Is that the message you want to send?

It doesn’t matter how big your meeting is. You might be one of 50 people or 10 people. If you’re there, listen. Being professional is all about showing respect.

At a Work Dinner or Wine and Cheese Reception

The same thing applies at a work dinner or wine and cheese reception. Being successful in your career depends on having a good reputation and a strong network of colleagues — you build that through paying attention and being a good listener at these kinds of events.

Be completely focused on the people you’re with.
Turn off your phone.

A Note about Social Media

Everything you put in social media can be tracked … and used against you. This includes Facebook, Twitter, email, instant messaging, LinkedIn, you name it.

When you’re on social media, don’t gossip or say negative things about your workplace or a potential employer. In fact, try not to say negative things at all, especially related to clients, colleagues, or potential colleagues. If a future employer Googles you, you don’t want all your complaining to hold you back from a job opportunity.

Employers are looking for positive people who can get the job done. Use technology appropriately, and show you’re a true professional.

From NALP Bulletin, April 2012
Stephanie Mitchell is Law Careers Officer at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Myths and Realities of Public Interest Careers

Thinking about public vs. private employers?  Check out this great article from Equal Justice Works that debunks many popular myths surrounding public interest work as well as providing sound facts.

Read the article here:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Your Online Reputation – inspired by the Harvard Business Review

by the essay expert
Online ReputationLast week I covered the issue of Facebook privacy in my article Facebook Privacy? What’s that? While Facebook raises many privacy issues, your online footprint as a job seeker extends far beyond your Facebook profile. Even if you have avoided Facebook altogether, chances are you have not completely avoided the internet; and this means that you have an online reputation that can be explored—and exploited—by potential employers.

The Harvard Business Review published an article on April 3, 2012 by Michael Fertik entitled, “Your Future Employer is Watching You Online. You Should be Too.” Before I read this article, I had not fully considered all the different ways employers might be researching candidates. I had seen statistics, which Fertik also shares, that more than 75% of employers actively research candidates online (note this was a December 2009 statistic from Microsoft and is probably higher now), and that more than 70% of employers have decided not to hire a candidate based on what they have found online. I assumed that recruiters were looking at major social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn; but according to this HBS article, recruiters dig much more deeply, looking through “shopping profiles, online gaming sites, classifieds and auction sites (think eBay and craigslist) – and even in virtual worlds like SecondLife!”

Click here for full article.