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No, Really

March 17, 2014

I know you hear a lot from people, usually older, giving you advice or even telling you what to do. Perhaps it’s your parents, faculty, whoever is popular in entertainment, and, yes, even the staff here in the CDO.

I’m sure it can start to sound like a bunch of noise at some point, to which the temptation might be to simply roll your eyes or even tune out. I was no different at your stage in life, and to those still giving me advice they may think I’m no different now!

However, there are some things I have seen lately that are so vital to the success or failure of your job search and career strategy that I felt the need to re-emphasize them today. No, really. Here they are:

  1. Get a plan and work the plan. We recently had a May 2013 grad get a fantastic job, one that she probably could only have dreamed about during her time in law school, and certainly thought was out of reach nine months after graduation. But she had a plan and she worked it every day from early on until accepting that job. It wasn’t easy. It didn’t come quick. There were applications and silence, interviews and silence, and interviews and rejections. But she plowed ahead to the next opportunity and kept working her plan. Getting a plan and working it with focus, persistence and patience paid off for this graduate, and it can for you too. No, really.
  2. Bragging on social media about a buzzed drive home from the bar is not helpful in your job search. Did this really happen you ask? Yes. Did it have a direct impact on the person’s job search? Who knows? And does it matter? If I’m an employer who is about to invest tens of thousands of dollars in someone each year and trust them in a business with my name on the door, am I hiring that person? Incidentally, just two weeks ago I visited with an employer in San Antonio who asks every candidate he’s thinking of hiring to submit to him the link to their Facebook page. And he’s not the only one. You’ve heard us talk about using social media as a tool to market and brand yourself professionally and cleaning up the personal side. Do it today! No, really.
  3. Zero: the number of students out of 70+ who attended a recent CDO program and responded to the speaker’s invitation to connect with him. I met with him recently in Dallas and he is genuinely disappointed. He is willing to take you out to lunch, answer any questions and introduce you to others in his office and in town (this is the invitation he made at the program and which stands today). We talk about the importance of building a professional network and how our programs can be a springboard for that, but just attending and listening isn’t enough. You must introduce yourself, send a thank you note, respond to invitations or initiate your own if your network is ever going to grow and be helpful. No, really. (By the way, to anyone who is interested in reaching out to the speaker I mentioned, come by or shoot me an email. And, yes, this is something of an experiment to see who will do it!)

I truly hope this doesn’t go into the white noise category, and that you take something away you can learn from and apply. I’m convinced if you address just these three points and nothing else, it will dramatically improve your chances of getting a job and getting it sooner rather than later. No, really.

Connect with Daniel and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.

Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Summer 2014 Appellate Law Clerk with Travis County Attorney's Office in Austin (1L, 2L, 3L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply.

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