What should I be doing in free time while unemployed as 4L?

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Anonymous User
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What should I be doing in free time while unemployed as 4L?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:59 am

4L - 2012 graduate. I have had some interviews lately (finally) and have been asked what I've been doing since the bar. The truth is, looking for work full-time. I have a personal project that I've been trying to build as well (a blog). I don't volunteer and I'm not involved in bar events, because I wanted to wait until I had a job before I got into that heavy type of networking and community involvement. I'm not lazy, I just hit the gym, work on the blog, and look for work. Ha, I guess that does sound pretty lazy. But what can you fill your days with when you're unemployed?

To answer interview Qs about what I've been doing for the past few months while I've been looking for work - what should I be doing, or is the answer I'm giving (the truth) good enough? Should I look for local volunteer opportunities, or catch up on CLE?

Also, is this a make-or-break Q in an interview?

BeenDidThat
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Re: What should I be doing in free time while unemployed as 4L?

Postby BeenDidThat » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:4L - 2012 graduate. I have had some interviews lately (finally) and have been asked what I've been doing since the bar. The truth is, looking for work full-time. I have a personal project that I've been trying to build as well (a blog). I don't volunteer and I'm not involved in bar events, because I wanted to wait until I had a job before I got into that heavy type of networking and community involvement. I'm not lazy, I just hit the gym, work on the blog, and look for work. Ha, I guess that does sound pretty lazy. But what can you fill your days with when you're unemployed?

To answer interview Qs about what I've been doing for the past few months while I've been looking for work - what should I be doing, or is the answer I'm giving (the truth) good enough? Should I look for local volunteer opportunities, or catch up on CLE?

Also, is this a make-or-break Q in an interview?


School? What kind of job do you want? What region are you in? Work history (pre- and during law school)?

I think it'd be a good idea to get involved with your city's young lawyer's association (if there is one). It's not like you're the only one. And don't get embarrassed if people ask you what you've been doing; if they don't get that it's a tough market for recent grads, they're the ones who should be embarrassed.

Anonymous User
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Re: What should I be doing in free time while unemployed as 4L?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:55 am

V10 midlevel associate here.

First and foremost, take care of yourself. I don't know if you are feeling down or embarrassed that things didn't turn out as you hoped, but you should eat right, exercise regularly, go to free events around your city (avoid wasting money), and see your friends.

Second, on the career front, you should should join your city's bar association along with your school's alumni association and be very active in both. Go to every event, join committees, help plan events etc. Be cheerful and share a lot of info about yourself so that people know enough about you to keep you in mind for positions. Heavy networking is how you get jobs, but people aren't going to toss a job your way after meeting you once or twice. You need to maintain a steady presence. After a few meetings, ask the people you meet if you can shadow them or volunteer where they work.

Third, you should e-mail alums from your school who are a few years out and are at a variety of jobs. Ask them the sorts of questions about their positions that you would ask if you were considering a callback from their employers. Meaning don't be desperate or beg them for jobs. Instead, seek information, thank them for their time, and keep in touch.

Fourth, even if you're not interested in litigation, volunteer with organizations such as your local public defender, ACLU, family law and domestic violence groups etc. You can get courtroom experience this way and have something substantive to put on your resume. Doing something with your degree will also give you things to discuss with people.

Fifth, especially if you have debt, be really, really frugal. No more shopping (except for one or two suits to wear to networking events, if you don't have any business clothes). Find an apartment with as many apartmentmates as possible. No more eating out. You don't know how long you'll have to stretch your savings (hope you have some! otherwise, time to move back in with the parents, if that's an option).

Don't be ashamed to admit to people that you don't have a job but are doing a lot of things in the meantime. People will respect that you are not just sitting around.

The "what have you done since graduation" question is definitely make-or-break for most employers. If you have been doing nothing except sending out resumes, you have little to offer an employer over those who have been very active in the profession. Unemployment means you should be doing at least as much volunteering and networking as those who have jobs, if not a lot more than them.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: What should I be doing in free time while unemployed as 4L?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:06 pm

Want to bump this thread because I am also a '12 graduate still job hunting.

I would recommend looking into any sort of graduate assistance programs your school offers. I am volunteering at a public policy organization and receiving a very meager stipend from my school at the same time. Its not a real job, but it is far better than having no income whatsoever. Additionally, telling interviewers about the memo I just wrote or the issue I just researched for the general counsel is huge. It shows interviewers you are engaged in your own career and building experience, despite the job market.

I second anon's points about taking care of your mental health and reaching out to alums. It is incredibly rough out there right now. Alums get that. Most are willing to have a 20 minute phone conversation or to grab coffee and talk about what they do. Take advantage of that fact. Ask for follow up contacts.

Agent
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Re: What should I be doing in free time while unemployed as 4L?

Postby Agent » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:04 am

+1 to what V10 midlevel associate said.

Expand the third point to include networking based on any possible connection, rather than just fellow alums. Begin (tactfully) reaching out to those with no connection to your existing network, as well as contacts of contacts.

Use LinkedIn. Join 50 groups and start cold-contacting people (adjust settings so all of the logos do NOT show up on your profile, and consider a temporary switch to anonymous mode). If you already have a decent-sized LinkedIn network, take advantage of the advanced search feature using combinations involving keywords, geography, and school.




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