Networking as a Job Searching Tool
Why do we list networking as the first job search tool? Because it is the single most effective way to job search. For all of the employers you have identified through research, check to see:
- If you have a personal contact working there;
- If a Loyola alum works there;
- If an alum of your undergraduate institution works there;
- If anyone you know can refer to you someone who works there.
Many law firms have biographical information about all of their attorneys listed on their websites. If the employer you are targeting doesn't have such a list, try an advanced search on LinkedIn.
If you can find a specific person to contact in any of these categories, make contact with that person before you send your materials to the employer. How do you do that? Pick up the phone, call the contact, and say something along the lines of:
- "Hello, my name is Susan Student. I'm a 1L at Loyola and I noticed on Employer X's website that you are an alum. I'm really interested in working for a firm/company/organization like yours this summer, and I wondered if you could give me your best advice on how to make myself a competitive candidate in this field/practice area/market."
- "Hello, my name is Sam Student and I'm a 1L at Loyola. Professor Brilliant suggested that I contact you when he learned of my interest in securities law. I wonder if you might be able to answer a few questions about what type of summer employment and extracurricular activities would be most impressive to a firm/company/organization like yours as I progress through my law school career."
Have additional questions prepared for each contact to keep the conversation going. If that contact is hiring law students for the summer, and they are impressed with your interest, intelligence and professionalism during the phone call, it will logically come up in the conversation. If they don't mention anything about job opportunities, conclude each conversation by saying something like:
- "Thank you so much for your time, your answers have been really helpful. If you have time for just one more question, I would like to ask if you know of any employers in this field who hire law students for the summer." Most likely, they will have some ideas for you. If not, thank them again, and move on to your next contact.
Need more ideas or encouragement to get networking? Check out the Networking Resources on our website.
Job Searching Step 2: Sending Your Resume and Cover Letter