Networking

The concept of networking can sound a bit schmoozy. However, networking does not have to be exhausting or manipulative.  In fact, you network with everyone with whom you come into contact with. Networking is simply paying attention to connections and introductions and looking for appropriate conversations to make others aware of your great education at Loyola and that you will soon be "employ-able." There is nothing shady about consciously creating the ideal circumstances and interactions that will help you find your job.

Fact: Over 50% of Loyola students find their jobs through networking

In law school, a friend looking for summer employment was rock climbing at the gym and agreed to spot another climber. Between climbs, she asked him casually about his work. It turned out he was a partner at a labor and employment law firm. Not only did she score her summer job by striking up a conversation, but she is now an associate at the firm.

Your job opportunity may come from anyone at anytime. The key is to be prepared and aware. Use networking as a tool to allow your job to find you.

Bar Associations/Professional Organizations

List of Local and National Bar Associations

How To:

  • Plan a short introduction about yourself and why you are interested in the organization (try not to sound cheesy or rehearsed).
  • Introduce yourself to groups of three or more, or rescue the wall-flower clutching his drink.
  • Make a comment or joke about something light, like the refreshments, location, or current events.
  • At meetings, find the "extrovert" of the group and become friends.
  • Discuss the topic of the meeting or the speaker.
  • Ask others for business cards and write details about those you meet on the back.
  • Ask questions. For example:
    • How did you choose ___ law?
    • What kinds of cases are you working on?
    • What do you like most about your job?
    • What do you find challenging about your job?
    • How is your time allocated throughout the day?
    • What courses or types of courses would you recommend I take?
    • What type of work would you suggest I do this summer?
    • Is there anyone else you would recommend I speak with about this practice area?

Advantages:

  • Specialization: Meet others with niche interests.
  • Personal: Make authentic, in-person connections with others.

Tips:

  • Don't just join an organization as a resume filler. Do some soul searching and research potential groups to find one that is connected closest with your ideal job.
  • Use the buddy system. Go with a friend, but make a deal not to stick together. Set a time to meet up, introduce each other to new contacts and use your friend as a conversation turner.
  • Follow up with your new contacts and build relationships: inquire about their trial, send a link to a relevant blog, and/or forward a relevant article.

Personal Contacts

How To:

  • Get in touch (in a meaningful, sincere way) with your childhood friend, old boss, favorite professor, next door neighbor, high school basketball coach, sister-in-law, the smart guy in tax class who graduated last year, or your old college roommate.
  • Reciprocation: create synergy and good karma by scratching their back first.
    • Invite your contact to a baseball game.
    • Pass on the name of a good mechanic.
    • Share a chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Advantages:

  • Credibility: Aunt Edith can vouch for your honesty.
  • Ripple Effect: Although your hairdresser might not be an attorney, she may cut hair for your ideal boss.

Tips:

  • People who know you want to help, but they can't help until they know you are looking for a job.
  • Create a spreadsheet including when and how you contacted each person and a summary of the conversation.

Networking Sites

How To:

  • Register and connect.

Advantages:

  • Convenient: Network without leaving your couch.
  • Global: Establish connections anywhere.

Types:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook

Tips:

  • Consider these websites an extension of your resume.
  • Only include information that is appropriate to share with your future employer.

Informational Interview

An informational interview is not a formal interview for a job, but an interpersonal educational encounter where you obtain information about a particular employer or area of law to develop a specifically tailored plan for your job search. The initial contact can be made by letter or phone. Most lawyers do not mind providing information, but they want to work with a person with some focus. Thus, if you request an informational interview be prepared to discuss exactly what you would like to know and why. 

The objectives of an informational interview are:

  1. To obtain information about a particular job or career from someone actually employed in that job or career;
  2. To compare your perceptions of what it would be like to work in a particular job or career with the experiences of someone who actually works in the job or career;
  3. To assess your interest in and qualifications for a particular job or career;
  4. To obtain feedback on your resume and advice on how to most effectively prepare and market yourself for a particular job or career; and
  5. To develop a network.

How To:

  • Request via phone, email, or letter an informational interview with your ideal mentor. It can be a short meeting (less than 10 minutes) or you can offer to buy them lunch.
  • Come prepared with open-ended questions. Below are some examples:
    • What are your responsibilities?
    • How did you come to this position?
    • What do new people to this field typically do?
    • What led you to this particular field?
    • What do you know now that would have been helpful earlier in your career?
    • What do you like/dislike about your job?
    • What kind of advice can you give me about starting my career in this field?
    • Can you refer me to anyone else who might talk to me about this field?
  • Listen.

Advantages:

  • Direct:  You are going right to the source for the information you need.
  • Gutsy:  You are showing initiative. 

Tips:

  • NEVER ask for a job at an informational meeting.
  • Do request referrals of one or two others with whom you should speak with.

Resources:

Overview of Professional Networking by Lexis Nexis
Networking Doesn't Have to be Painful by American Bar Association