Are you networking this summer?
If you haven’t started yet, start today. Remember that most people get a job through someone they know but even more interesting is that most people get a job through someone they know only a little bit.
To network effectively this summer, do these five things:
- Develop a networking strategy
- Write a great networking outreach email
- Have a minimum of 2 coffees per week with attorneys
- Attend events
- Remain optimistic
- Networking Strategy
The enemy of the career search is uncertainty.
Have a clear theme in mind. Encapsulate your career path (e.g., labor and employment in Chicago) in one or two sentences. Make a list of employers within your career path for whom you want to work. Do this regardless of the type of law you want to practice.
Contact attorneys working at those employers for coffee meetings.
Network before you are desperate for a job. You would not wait to fix your roof until it is leaking; you would fix it before it breaks.
Build a network of attorneys in your chosen career path.
Resist seeing networking as an innate talent you either have or do not have. It is a skill you can cultivate like anything else and introverts can be effective networkers too.
Networking is a long-term enterprise where you build a web of contacts over time.
How big should your network be?
There is no one-size fits all prescription but know that the more contacts you have, the more threads you have to pull on when conducting a job search.
- Networking Outreach Email
If you need help writing a great outreach email, contact a CDO counselor.
In your outreach email, suggest two possible dates to meet for coffee as a starting point. Do not just ask if they are free to meet at some point over the summer.
- Two Coffees Per Week
Have 2 or more coffees per week with attorneys. If you are not in your target market, then have 2 or more phone calls.
Are you preparing for OCI? Have coffees or phone calls with attorneys at OCI firms so you can reference your conversation with them in your cover letter to make it stand out.
Networking is more about listening than anything. As they say in sales, you have two ears and one mouth so use them proportionally.
During your coffees and phone calls, listen to understand and not to respond and do not worry so much about selling yourself as about learning what the other attorney does.
After each coffee or phone call, make a note about what you talked about in your networking spreadsheet. This will make following up later much easier.
- Networking Events
There are a wealth of networking events you can attend this summer.
Regularly read your Weekly Docket, look on the events tab in Symplicity for firm receptions, go to Bar Association events in your state, attend CLEs, go to Notre Dame Club events, and check with your undergrad alumni club for events as well.
There are many great summer events listed in the events tab on symplicity. For example, I see that King & Spalding is hosting an event in New York and McGuire Woods is hosting an event in Chicago. Make checking this tab part of your daily routine.
Do not forget about groups like the Federalist Society Lawyer’s Chapter, Asian American Bar Association, Black Law Students Association, and other mission-based organizations. They frequently have very well-attended summer events.
If you are participating in the Summer Mock Interview Program, schedule a mock interview with each of the contacts you were provided.
The foundation of any career search is doing great work at your summer job.
And your summer job is a great networking opportunity. Even if there is no chance your current employer will give you an offer, if you do great work, they will go to the moon and back to help connect you with people and land you a job in the future.
- Stay Positive
Maintain the right mindset. Networking is like dating. The default setting in both is failure.
But you have to persevere, be positive, and not stray off course. Just because several people do not respond to your outreach emails does not mean you should quit.
You only need to get one job. One negative networking experience is not an indictment of the whole process.
Networking is a long-term process, but the work and the wait is worth it.
Effective networking can set you up for:
- Never having to apply for a job again without knowing someone who works where you are applying
- Discerning the right career path for you by talking with those who have already navigated it
- Having the connections you need to make the next step in your career when you are ready to take it
If you want help with anything in the networking process from writing a great outreach email to discussing who you should have coffees with, the CDO is here to help. Give us a call, email us, or schedule an appointment with one of us on symplicity. We are always thrilled to hear from you.