Conducting a job search outside of on-campus interview program — part two

This post continues on the topic of job searching outside the traditional path.

After you have "picked your major" and networked with people to get a sense of what you might want to do within that major, formulate a specific plan and execute.  As an example, suppose you decide securities law is your major and you are interested in working at the SEC in enforcement to gain some experience (and potentially obtain your first job out of law school).  The plan is to work for free initially and impress such that you are offered a full-time position there or meet people there that help connect you with other job opportunities.  To get the first opportunity, try the following steps:

▪ Ask the law school career services department for information about events where relevant SEC attorneys (SEC is a big place so be specific in your search, i.e., Investigations Counsel) will be speaking, perhaps on a panel or at a conference.  Brainstorm about which events make the most sense for you to attend.

▪ Attend the events and stay after the speakers present.  Explain that you are interested in contributing for free as an extern or intern, depending on availability, if an opportunity should arise.

▪ Come with your resume and a cover letter.  Think about preparing a cover letter for everyone on the panel so that you can be ready to give the letter to the person you end up meeting.

▪ If it makes sense, try to connect with multiple people after the event but do not be obvious about it or cut your conversation short just to get this done.

▪ The goal here is obtain contact information for at least one person and ask permission to contact them from time to time in case something opens up.

▪ Learn something meaningful about the person (and as a bonus something that connects you to that person) for which you may be able to reference when you follow up with the person.

▪ Follow up by e-mail first and then maybe by phone, depending on the facts (i.e., how receptive the person was to you, etc.).

▪ Ask that person if he or she knows anyone else that may be helpful to speak with about his or her career as a securities lawyer (not about jobs).

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