Superficial Question About Resume Work Experience During Gap Year?

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Superficial Question About Resume Work Experience During Gap Year?

Post by CLS2020 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:35 pm

I know this is a shallow question, but I genuinely want to know because I need to figure out what I am going to do for the next 2 years for my gap year prior to law school. Would it hurt your chances soft-factor wise or would it be a weak resume to work for a company that is not major or does not have a "brand-name, major" like JP Morgan or whatnot? I don't really know what exactly I should be doing. My resume is pretty weak, and that concerns me a bit.

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Re: Superficial Question About Resume Work Experience During Gap Year?

Post by totesTheGoat » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:00 pm

The gap year is more for you than for your admissions package. It really doesn't matter to admissions whether you twiddle your thumbs or work a career job. The impact is minor at best.

My personal opinion is that working during the gap year should be used as an opportunity to get exposure to the real world. Pay your own bills and rent, work full-time hours, cook your own meals, save up some money for school, that sort of thing. Having experience as an adult, even if it is only for a few months, can be really helpful in a variety of law school classes, and it gives you something better to talk about than "that group project I did that one time when I didn't like the people I was assigned to work with" during job interviews.

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Re: Superficial Question About Resume Work Experience During Gap Year?

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:26 pm

In a vacuum, yeah, it's nice to get a flashy name on your resume. But they're so common among the law-school-applying crowd that adcomms don't really care either way. You're not going to get much credit for your sick Goldman analyst gig and you're not going to get penalized much for being a bartender (in fact the latter is interesting enough it can be a plus in its own way).

You can literally do whatever you want as long as it's, like, a real job that requires you have your shit together. Working for a pretigious hedge fund or something might help with biglaw interviews down the road, I guess, but gunning that hard for corporate biglaw is lame anyway.

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Re: Superficial Question About Resume Work Experience During Gap Year?

Post by Stratus_Counseling » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:27 pm

Great advice in this thread for law admissions purposes, but it is important not to think about this in too short-sighted a manner. True, law school AdComs may not care as much if you worked for Goldman Sachs vs. XYZ Local Business (or for that matter, taught English abroad or worked for Greenpeace) during your time off from academia. They are more focused on your maturity, professional development and the unique experiences that you can bring to their school. But you should be aware that law firms (or clerkships, highly-prized positions within government or NGOs) ABSOLUTELY will care and when you are applying for those positions you will be competing with people who have done some really impressive things. The legal profession, as you will soon find out, is extremely pedigree/prestige focused -- not only because the lawyers are themselves, but also because their clients are (despite their efforts to show you otherwise). Having a brand name (whether company, bank, fund, political campaign etc.) on your resume can definitely be beneficial during interviews and later in your career. You will have great connections, valuable experience and if you ever transition in-house or to the business side this will be important. Having prior experience working in the same elite world as the firm you are going to (or whatever legal position you seek) will help.

But there is diminishing marginal benefit of a "brand name" firm versus a less well-known one that still does similar, respected work and that you can speak about eloquently and confidently with interviewers. So if the choice is between working 100+ hrs/week at JPM vs. a more reasonable schedule at a smaller but still very much respected firm, it really depends on what you want to do. Doing volunteer work abroad or something like that will definitely offer a great life experience and perhaps a better topic for your personal statements, so that can be a completely valid path as well as long as you go into it fully informed on costs/benefits. Good luck!

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