The Personal Job Index

A while back, BlawgConomics took at a look at the legal job search from the perspective of those in the know. At the end of that piece, we were able to boil down the thoughts of both erstwhile and current job seekers into a few bullets. We would note that #4 has yielded some positive results for a few friends of the site recently:

1. If you don't have a Biglaw job, offer or summer position currently, it is highly unlikely that you will be getting one. It's probably best to get over it and move on to number 2.
2. Tap into networks. Most people have been helped at some point during their lives; some of them are kind enough to pay it forward.
3. Scan the map. Things might not be much better abroad, and it is often difficult for US-trained lawyers to work abroad. However, this doesn't mean that you can't look outside your current target markets including secondary markets in the US.
4. Consider temp or contract work to get your foot in the door.
5. Above all, stay positive. This final bit of advice is not as purely practical as the others, and runs the risk of seeming almost trite when considering the realities of the current market. However it is hard to overstate how important it can be to send out that one last email or make that one last phone call.

We invited readers to add any thoughts in the comments section. While we could do the same, that would seem to be a waste of the resources that the BlawgConomics platform provides, hence this post. In other words, here is another idea for job seekers.

In this day and age, technology is an almost indispensible tool for the job seeker. Most recent seekers will be familiar with electronic job boards, email alerts, job blasts and all the other seemingly ubiquitous e-tools of their ilk. While there is an obvious potential benefit to applying directly to jobs from these sources and it is something that seekers often feel has to be a tool in their belt, it was also noted by many of the individuals highlighted in the jobs piece we did that direct writes and online applications have a less-than-stellar success rate.

Therefore, why not put the ubiquitous emails and alerts to another good, perhaps even better, use? Use them to make up a personal job index. In other words, use them to take the temperature of what particular industries and practice groups are hiring. Doing so could also help pinpoint particular geographic job markets that are on the upswing. To take a recent example, many people we talk to have been discussing the impact that recent legislation is having on the IP legal market. This anecdotal evidence is reflected in many of today's job boards and email blasts as well. In another example, our 'personal job index' also indicates that real estate firms in NYC are hiring.

Of course once you have this information, you need to do something productive with it. First off, it would be prudent to tailor your resume a bit to highlight any experience with a touchpoint to what we are calling the hot market. Then, as always, networking comes into the equation. Maybe you have a friend in a hot industry, maybe there was a lawyer you spoke to in the past whose firm wasn't hiring at that point, but could be now. Maybe it is just a better way to focus cold calls and direct writes or get your foot in the door with a temp position.

All of these tips might seem to be obvious upon reading them, but some of our readers will also have to admit that they haven't tried this particular type of approach. It might also not help readers out there who will only accept patent law jobs in downtown DC or are convinced they can still get a transactional job in midtown Manhattan. However, in this market, it would be prudent for seekers to try anything and everything that could help them to land a job.

To be completely clear, it is a tough market and 'indexing' job emails is certainly no panacea. However, our approach on BlawgConomics has been to try and help readers think outside the box rather than take the 'woe is me' approach. We hope this is helpful. As always, we invite our readers to add thoughts and additional tips in the comments section.

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