Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5 Soft Skills You Should Always Bring Up In An Interview

by Miriam Salpeter, US News & World Report

If you are extremely qualified, have terrific application materials, a targeted resume and you're interviewing for jobs, but always coming up with a silver medal, it's possible that you're bumping up against an elusive category: likability.
Also known in the industry as "cultural fit," likability is a reason many candidates don't make the final cut—the interviewers either didn't like them or didn't believe they would mesh well with current employees.

1. Work ethic. Make sure to weave your thoughts about how important the company's mission and vision are to you and explain why you're willing to go the extra mile to help the organization succeed. One tenant of evaluating candidates is that past performance is a predictor of future results. Make sure you prove that you have a strong work ethic by giving examples from the past about how you went above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done. "Describe how you always complete projects efficiently and on-time, why you're punctual and persistent and how you balance your drive to succeed with the company's goals," Earnest says.

Read full article here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What Your Handshake Says about You

By Julie Wilson

A telling touch

“When you shake a hand, it only lasts a few seconds,” notes Dr. Jack Brown, nonverbal communication expert, physician and founder of the blog, “During that time, you have the power to influence and build rapport, whether your goal is to negotiate peace between Syria and its people, or whether you’re trying to sell a car.”
Patricia Rossi, business etiquette coach and author of Everyday Etiquette, also assigns great meaning to the ordinary handshake. “The reason the handshake is so vitally important is that it is [often] the only physical contact we have with another person and it speaks volumes about us,” she says. “In just three to seven seconds, it tells people how we feel about ourselves and how much we respect them.”

The ideal handshake

When a seemingly simply gesture is so fraught with meaning, it’s important to get it right. As it turns out, the ideal handshake is actually pretty straightforward.
“For the best handshake with a peer, you want to have your hand perpendicular to the floor because it sends a message of parity,” explains Dr. Brown. “It says, ‘I am roughly your equal.’” He also advises matching the firmness of the other person’s grasp.
Rossi concurs. “The ideal handshake has the thumb pointing to the sky, [with hands] connecting web to web,” she says. “Have a snug, semi-firm handshake with three to five pumps, and then let go.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Step-by-Step Interview Guide for Law Students

By Donna Manion, legal recruiting manager in the New York office of DLA Piper

A ship is safest in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.

-- William Shedd

Soon, rising second-year law students and employers will be fully engaged in preparing for the upcoming fall interview season. Students can best ready themselves for this process by taking a thoughtful, step-by-step approach.

This involves understanding your current endeavors, developing a focus, and whole-heartedly engaging yourself in the process. Successfully navigating the interview process will launch you, like a ship set to sail, into the great legal career on your horizon.

Click here to continue to article.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Do You Have Any Resume Red Flags?

from The Girls' Guide to Law School

Take control of your job search and overcome these potential roadblocks in your résumé:
  1. Identify possible warning signs early. Look through your résumé, and try to assess whether certain experiences could be a cause of concern for interviewers. Are you trying to work at a big private firm, but you have international experience? Are you expressing an interest in corporate law, but you have some involvement with criminal or family law-related activities? Are you trying to get a job in a city to which you have no real ties? All of these things could concern law firms, and knowing your “weaknesses” in advance is much better than being surprised later.
  2. Take the offensive in addressing any warning signs. Instead of playing the defensive and making excuses or rationalizations only when questioned on these experiences, address them head on in your cover letter and portray them in a positive light before any negative connotations can even be perceived. It’s better than waiting for interviewers to question you on them as a way of testing the waters.
  3. Don’t lie! There is a big difference between presenting a possibly troublesome experience in a positive light and trying to claim you have no interest in something when you really do (or vice versa). If you are interviewing at a full service firm and you have worked in a correctional law clinic and competed in a criminal law moot, claiming that you have no interest at all in criminal law will not be believable. These interviewers have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of students, and they know all the tricks — they will sense your lies immediately. If pressed, better to accept it but have a solid explanation for why you still do have interest in their firm.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cover Letters: Tips from Our Employers

by MariLee Allred

Today we received some feedback from one of our Early Interview Program employers that we felt was important for you to know.  And knowing is half the battle....

Being Specific Is Important, But Don't Close Any Doors

You need to talk about why you'd like to work for that particular employer. When talking about specific practice areas, be cautious that you don't overemphasize one area so strongly that it rules out anything else.

Understand Typical Career Paths of Various Practice Areas

Some legal work comes after several years of experience and isn't common right out of law school. Some examples of these practice areas are: appellate work, in house counsel, law faculty. Appellate work generally requires that you do an appellate clerkship prior to being hired.  In house counsel is usually only available to attorneys that have a number of years of experience.  Law faculty generally do a high level clerkship, work for a large firm for a few years, then teach. Exceptions do exist, but understand what is the norm. You can get an idea of what is typical at that firm or organization by looking at the bios of the current attorneys and see what their path was prior to working there.

Where's the Work?

You can get a good idea of where a firm's business is by looking at the number of attorneys in each practice group.  If they have 25 attorneys in tax, 3 in corporate/transactional and only 1 in appellate work, keep that in mind as you talk in your cover letter about your areas of interest. 

Know the Lingo

For example, if you are talking about "corporate" practice work, people generally think you mean transactional work.  If you are interested in corporate litigation, a better term would be "commercial litigation."  Do some research by looking at articles online related to your practice areas of interest, follow people on Twitter, join related LinkedIn groups, etc. to get a feel for what practice area/industry specific terms are being used.

Don't Be Too Wordy

Keep your letters to around 3 brief paragraphs.  Tell them what year in school you are, what you're applying for, why you want to work for them, and a little about you that's not on your resume.  Be sure and include any ties to the area.  See some examples in the Professional Development Guidebook here.

Geographic Ties Are Becoming Essential

Hiring and training new employees is expensive.  Employers want to make sure they are hiring people that aren't a flight risk.  If you have any ties to the location where you are applying, be sure and include those in your cover letter.  If you don't have any, now is the time to make some connections with alumni and JRCLS members in the area via email & phone calls, travel there during Placement Break, and set up some informational interviews.  

If you can't get paid work in that area, an externship is a great way to establish yourself.  Large firms often won't hire externs, so you might have to go to a smaller organization to work. But you will make invaluable connections by living and working in the location you want to eventually be in, making you a more attractive candidate for the next position you apply to. 

Recruiters Have Zero Tolerance for Typos and Other Grammatical Errors

Even tiny errors will keep you from getting an interview.  Make sure your cover letters are completely mistake free.  A few tricks that can help you catch errors:
  • Don't wait until the last minute to write cover letters or other important documents.
  • Write it, save it, wait a few hours, then go back and read it again.
  • Read your document from bottom to top.
  • Print out your document.
  • Let someone else you trust look it over.  Your CSO counselors are always happy to review a few cover letters until you feel more comfortable writing them.  

Office Politics Play a Part in Who Gets Interviews & Offers

Employers have to balance the number of interviews and offers between applicants so as not to appear to have preferences for one school versus another.  Even if they feel that BYU Law applicants are the best of the applicant pool, employers have to spread the interviews and offers around.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interview Questions Every Law Student Should Be Able to Answer

from Cowgirl in the City

Right now hundreds of law students around the country are participating in the dreaded OCI- (on campus interview) the first step to coveted summer associate positions, and ultimately the finish line of landing a job at the big law firm downtown.

As you prepare for your interviews, do some preparation, and be prepared to answer all of these questions (while you're sweating nervously in a small room, while dressed in an incredibly hot and uncomfortable suit).

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • Why do you think you will succeed as a lawyer?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Is there any reason why we shouldn’t hire you?
  • What is the greatest obstacle you’ve faced in your life?
  • What do you consider your greatest strengths?
  • What are your limitations?
  • Use three words to describe yourself.
  • Why do you want to be a lawyer?
  • Why did you decide to go to law school?
  • What was your favorite class? Least favorite?
  • Should we be concerned about your grades/class rank?
  • Why didn’t you pursue Law Review/Moot Court?
  • Have you decided what city you would ultimately like to settle in?
  • What do you know about our firm?
  • Who else are you interviewing with?

Monday, July 22, 2013

How to Follow Up a Resume Submission

How soon is too soon to send an e-mail or make a phone call? When does persistence become annoyance?

By Lisa Vaas

You filled out the online application form. You pressed Submit or Send or Upload. Maybe you got a confirming e-mail, maybe not. Now comes the winter of your discontent as the clock ticks, hours turn to days or weeks, and your thumbs grow weary from twiddling.
If it’s any consolation, etiquette experts get really miffed over candidates being left in the dark. “It really frustrates me that the people who put these [job postings onto online application systems] don’t use a simple batch processing type of thing to let the person know when the e-mail comes in and what they can expect,” said Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute and author of “The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success.” “The problem for the person who’s applied, the question of whom to contact and when is you don’t know what to expect. You’re just wondering, ‘What happens next?’ ”
Following up with the company after you apply is a critical step in the job search. According to Jill Gaynor, Staffing Consultant at John Leonard Employment Services, follow up “projects your level of interest and commitment to the position at hand.” A call to the hiring manager can bring your name and resume to his/her attention, Gaynor said, and separate you from the hundreds of resumes still to be reviewed while showing you understand the importance of timely follow-through.
But how to follow up without being annoying or coming off as desperate? TheLadders asked hiring managers, career coaches and the etiquette gurus at Emily Post for their advice on when to follow up after you’ve submitted your job application and resume and how to do so without committing a follow-up faux pas.

Read full article here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

10 Resume Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make


When it comes to sending out your resume for a job opening, you want to ensure you stand out to the hiring manager. But standing out has both a positive and a negative side, and the negative will land your resume in the recycling bin – fast.

While most job seekers understand a strong resume will get them through the door, there are still many overlooked areas when it comes to the actual creation of the document. From simple grammatical errors to poor formatting, creating a knockout resume isn’t always an easy task.

With just six seconds or less for a hiring manager to determine your fate, knowing what not to include on your resume is certain to help you get hired.

Here are 10 mistakes that are sure to land your resume in the recycling bin.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On Campus Interviews & Finding Jobs

When applying for on campus interviews (OCIs), keep in mind the following:

OCIs are a small part of the hiring picture. Generally only larger employers conduct on campus interviews. Law students who get jobs via OCIs on our campus are in the minority.

Don't wait to apply to other employers too.  Don't miss the hiring window with other law firms that follow a typical OCI season by applying to these employers directly at the same time you are applying to BYU Law OCIs.  You can use The NALP directory and Martindale to help identify employers you'd like to apply to.

Don't forget about Resume Collects. You can find additional employers seeking applications from our students in Symplicity>OCI/Collect Employers/Early Interviewing>2013 Fall Resume Collects.

Don't forget to include all requested documents. The students who do this won't be considered a serious candidate by employers.

Don't miss the deadline.  Apply to OCI & Resume Collect employers by 8 a.m., Monday, July 29.

Don't forget to check the job postings often. We post new jobs every day in Symplicity.  You can see them under the Jobs tab.

If you have any questions about OCIs, Resume Collects, or Job Postings, contact MariLee Allred.

Proofreading Tips & Tricks: Because Spell Check Isn't Enough


Too many people trust their spell checkers to catch their errors, and that trust is a huge mistake. Spell check is a dangerous, misleading tool that overlooks many errors and sometimes flags things that are correct. At best, it’s a good preliminary tool to use to catch big, obvious mistakes. Usually, it will nab fragments and some comma problems. If you’ve created your own word through horrible misspelling, spell check can spot it. However, if you’ve used the wrong word but it’s spelled correctly, you will be in trouble.

Try Different Methods

Even carefully reading over your work doesn’t guarantee that you’ll catch every problem. When you’ve written a resume or a report for your new boss, sometimes you see what you meant to write instead of what you actually wrote. The mind plays tricks on a writer, and so you need to try some tricks of your own.

Read Backwards

Reading your work backwards can be effective because it focuses your attention on each word and allows you see what is actually on the paper. Sometimes errors will jump out at you when you view your writing efforts in a different way. This process takes a little time, but finding mistakes may keep you from losing a job.

Monday, July 15, 2013

10 Things That Could Wreck Your Chance of Finding a Job


If your job search has been going on longer than it should, there's one common denominator: you. You might be getting in your own way, if you're doing any of the following.
1. You're too picky. If you've decided that you will accept nothing less than a job as a marketing manager at Company X making $75,000 a year, you're setting yourself up for failure. Expand your options instead. Look at other industries, and other roles. And yes, while you should have an idea of the salary you want, consider that some companies might pay less than your ideal number, while offering other perks like working from home or great health insurance.
2. You only look when you're desperate. If you have a history of not looking for a job until you get laid off or quit, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage. By keeping your LinkedIn profile updated, recruiters can contact you to keep you apprised of jobs for which you'd be a good fit. At the very least, you'll build your contacts so that when you are ready to quit, you have people who can help you find your next job.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How to Get Around Illegal Interview Questions


You've submitted a stellar résumé and shined in your phone screen interview. You've prepared stories and crafted questions that will demonstrate your skills and accomplishments when you meet the hiring manager face to face. You know in your heart that, if given the opportunity, you have the ability to succeed at the job you'll discuss. 

You're set to knock the ball out of the park.

At the same time, you might be a woman, 40 years old or older, a person of color or have an obvious disability. Perhaps you have a distinct foreign accent, or your name is uncommon and difficult to pronounce. Maybe you display an affect that is often associated with a particular sexual orientation.
And then it happens. You are in the midst of the job interview, and as the conversation progresses the hiring authority poses a question like one of these:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4 Ways to Make Writing Cover Letters Easier

If there’s one thing that all job seekers have in common, it’s that they hate writing cover letters. With a passion.
But why? It’s not like they’re very long. And when you really think about it, they’re not that difficult. But something about that step between the resume and interview gets people really, really irritated.
In fact, people ask us all the time: Is there any way to make writing cover letters suck less?
Well actually, there is—in fact, depending on what your cover letter pain point is, there are several. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

How to Add to Your Resume (Without Adding a Second Page)

What should you do with your resume now that you’ve got tons more knowledge and experience under your belt—but the same jam-packed 8.5×11” sheet of paper to work with?
Hint: The answer is not to add another page (in fact, most hiring managers I know would automatically disqualify you for doing so!). You’ll want to employ the opposite strategy: If you’re dusting off your resume for the first time in a while, you should reconsider what you include, and remove some things that don’t make the cut. Here are a few strategies for trimming what you don’t need so you can make room for the new.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Effective (and Non-Creepy) Ways to Stalk People on LinkedIn

If you’re a job seeker, you probably already know that you need insider access to the position you’re after: a key contact at the company, the direct email address of the hiring manager, or the real scoop on what will make your application stand out among the thousands of others.
But you also know that’s easier said than done. If you don’t have friends and family who can help you get a foot in the door, how do you get this elusive access?
Well, by stalking. Yep, I said it—stalking. And not in some weird “I’ve loved you forever and one day you’ll be mine” fashion. What I mean is this: You need to go out and find contacts (and potential contacts) in your network who could help you out, and you need to be clever and resourceful about how you get to them.
Fortunately, there’s a brilliant (and legal) place to do this: LinkedIn. The site not only offers a rundown of job postings and organizes your contacts, but also contains all kinds of useful features for non-creepy information gathering. All it takes is some originality, flair, and a few investigative skills.

Here's how to get started.

Monday, July 1, 2013

7 Things Interviewers Notice First


A job interview doesn’t start with the first question. Hiring managers begin to assess candidates from the moment they arrive. Here are the seven things they notice first about you.

See all 7 tips here.