Many people say that looking for a job is like having a full-time job. But it is more than that: it is like having your own business. Any business owner or law firm partner needs to find his or her way to the right targets—clients or customers. In your case, the target is an employer, but the way you get to your target can be similar. Here are a few tips you can borrow from businesspeople to jumpstart your job search:
1) Shout it out. Successful businesspeople make a point of telling everyone they know about what they are doing. Law firms, like many businesses, depend on personal referrals. Many people also find jobs through personal connections. In addition to staying informed of posted jobs, make sure you tell people what you are looking for.
2) Work the network. If you talk to law firm partners, many will tell you that their clients tend to come in certain patterns: from certain referral sources or certain areas. Once they figure out where these referrals are coming from, they can focus their time on the most promising relationships. If you want to practice in a certain area, figure out who refers business to, or has relationships with, attorneys in that practice area. You may find that the best path to a great job is through someone who is not a lawyer but who works a lot with lawyers and knows lots of them.
3) Make yourself memorable. Every conversation, whether at an interview or at a social occasion, is a chance to leave an impression in someone’s mind. Businesspeople use what is called an “elevator pitch” to make a strong impression even in a few seconds, so people will remember them. Introduce yourself to everyone in a way that makes them remember you: perhaps by connecting your job search to a longtime hobby or interest, or to classes you particularly enjoyed in law school. If you can connect your search to something you are enthusiastic about, people will remember that and want to help you.
Nobody said the job search is always fun. But the good news is that starting to learn these business techniques today will help not only your job search, but also your career.