Friday, July 1, 2011

Employment Update

When I resurrected this blog, I promised I would keep readers updated about my search for non-legal employment.  Since graduation, I would estimate that I have sent out approximately 50 resumes, possibly more.

My first lead was for a position that seemed like a perfect match on paper.  A non-legal position, in one of my areas of interest.  I'm not going to lie and say that I was extraordinarily enthusiastic about the organization itself, but a paycheck is a paycheck.  Alas, despite a great conversation with the employer, and being told by him that I am "perfect for the job" (a direct quote from both the agency and the employer) they were not interested.  Believe it or not, I was not too surprised.  I am somewhat familiar with this organization and I have an idea of the type of person they would like to hire for that kind of position.  (For starters, not a woman.)  Don't get me wrong: this is not a card I like to play.  I know the reality of the job market right now, but I have always had a suspicion about some of the higher-ups here.

My second lead:  Another employer received a resume I sent out, asked to schedule a phone interview, and then called for what seemed like the sole purpose of telling me that they really were looking for someone with a skill set I do not have.  Um, thanks?  Must have been some kind of quota they were looking to fill, for interview calls.  At least I appreciate that the conversation was short.  About two minutes, start to finish.  Might as well cut to the case and not go through a whole interview charade if it is hopeless.

My third lead:  A phone interview for a position with an organization that seemed cool.  The person I spoke to on the phone was nice and friendly, told me my qualifications were excellent, and spoke to me for about half an hour.  I hung up with a pretty good feeling.  Then, radio silence for two weeks.  I saw the writing on the wall, but figured I would follow up with a quick and professional email.  His response was basically, "Your editorial work is great, but we are looking for someone with specific experience in a certain area."  It was frustrating to hear that, but so it goes.

I know I'm not alone here.  It can be really disheartening to have what you feel are good interviews, and have them go nowhere.  It is also frustrating when people call to ask you to interview and then point out that you do not have the experience they are looking for when your resume and cover letter could not make that any plainer.  I guess I don't blame the employers per se; they have a position to fill, and right now they basically have their pick with the job market the way it is.  If anything, I blame myself for being in this position when I had a perfectly good job before starting law school.  Now I have to explain away that time, and explain away the poor judgment that led me here.

I have two interviews lined up for next week - real life, in-person interviews.  Both of them are on Wednesday.  I am keeping my fingers crossed, as both positions seem good.  I have read both listings at least four times since scheduling the interviews and there are no qualifications listed that I clearly do not meet.  Let's hope that, based on the calls, the toxic J.D. on my resume has not completely scared them off.


  1. I wish you the best of luck. For each of the jobs that I have had, at least since the Great Recession, I have seen the number of people who usually apply double. So for example, for one job I was up against literally 100 final applicants. For a better paying position, that number was almost 300.

  2. Good Luck.

    I did that dance for a long time.

    Finally I dropped the JD from the resume.

    And in the end, I dropped all mention of a Higher ed.

    But my story is not your story.

    So good luck again kid.

  3. You're very lucky, Rose. Very lucky. Up until recently, most graduates didn't get ANY interviews - their resumes were sent to a deep, dark black hole.

    When I graduated from law school a year ago, I made looking for a job a job in itself. I woke up every morning at 6am, started the job search at 8. Wrote customized cover letters and resumes for every job. Followed up w/ an e-mail, phone call or in person visit within one week of applying. Contacted attorneys in the market for informational interviews. Followed up w/ a box of chocolates and a thank-you. Registered w/ every single recruiter in my market - legal or non-legal. Put in the same effort, month after month.

    The end result? After months, not one single individual responded to my applications, and my resume was impeccable: I had worked for a federal judge, had worked overseas in an embassy, had worked as a manager for a store that earned over 1 million annually, spoke four languages, was an honors scholar in both law school and undergrad, was on the Dean's List, on a national team, etc. After months of not hearing back from a single soul, I moved into a non-legal field, got my first and only interview and nailed the job.

    So if you are receiving calls and interviews, you have no idea how lucky you are, Rose. Things do seem to be looking up. I'm so glad to see that the new generation of grads are at least seeing their efforts pay off in the job search. It's hard to keep at it when it seems so pointless.


  4. you are right... you can also search jobs opening details online.

  5. Good sign. You are being called for interviews. I'm certain you will find a job, though likely not a job in law. Best wishes!

  6. Thanks everyone! I got a call from one of them about a second round, so that's somewhat promising. Coming up next week, Thursday.

  7. Good luck -- you are going to make it. I'm certain of that, if not this time, not all that far down the road.

    The worst of the last bad Recession was 1981 - 1982, but for most young people of the time it lasted much longer and felt like a Depression because things were so awful. I was a young college graduate in 1984, experiencing joblessness and underemployment, and even not having enough to eat at times so the rent could be paid for a small studio apartment that was shared with a roommate. I ended up doing what has been described in the Futurist as the way of the future "stint jobs" throughout my 20s and early 30s. Though recent graduates didn't have as much debt back then, it was tough.
    Ended up reinventing myself again after being on the losing end of the dotcom bust (I worked for dotcoms), returning to grad school for a more stable future, and then was fortunate to launch into a third career with little debt. Obviously not law school. That was an advantage for a number of those born at the tail end of the baby boom. We didn't experience so much debt and often were so afraid of going underwater that we'd do anything and move anywhere to avoid it. Though owning a home was touted as a way to wealth, the idea scared me because I thought if you lost your livelihood (and nothing was certain), you'd have to sell your home. What if you couldn't do that? So my husband and I decided to not own a home so we could move in the event of a job loss, which we did. Also, schooling was far more affordable. College costs are insanity now!

    I tell you this to provide some perspective during a crazy time. You are going to make your own way and I believe life will be fine for you in the end. It is good that you have not become totally bitter, though it would be understandable if you had. I hope that it is people like you who will change things.

  8. I have been reading all these different blogs for years now. I went to law school and graduated in 1994. Agreed that the schools misrepresent placement, etc regarding job prospects after graduation. Student loan debt/education is the next huge bubble in our country. We have a nation of over-educated knuckleheads who think a degree=$$. However, one fact that is VERY striking is the lack of discussions about job experience by the posters/complainers. I own a medium size firm in San Diego. During one of my last rounds of interviewing for an atty position I was struck by 2 people who interviewed who were in their late 20's and had NEVER held a job of any sort. They both had student loans of ~$200,000 +/-. Their student loan debt is terminal. Having a degree entitles you to nothing. Again, I share your frustration with the law school scam. I get it. But, you have to make it happen. Really? 50 resumes? How about 500 and figure out if moving to Alaska or North Dakota will broaden your potential for work. The fact that you bought the lie the first time also does not entitle you to a job. You have to make it happen.

  9. @12:38 -- First of all, you don't know anything about my job search or work experience prior to law school other than what I crammed into a few paragraphs. (For your information, I have been working since I was 15 years old.) I cannot pick up and move to Alaska or North Dakota, and few people have that luxury. Your advice echoes that of the Emory Law commencement speaker telling the graduates that they might have to move to Nebraska to find a job. (And later, we learn that the market there is highly insular and that even Nebraska law grads are faring poorly in Omaha.) Second, I suppose I could send out forty applications a day to any opening that pops up for any position, and even to some companies or organizations with no posted openings. My preference, however, is to send out *quality* cover letters along with my resume, tailoring them to the job I am applying to. That takes time, effort and energy.

    If, as you claim, you have been reading these sites for years, you would realize that no one here thinks that because of their law degree they are entitled to make a small fortune. We oppose the fact that the schools LIED about statistics and numbers to entice people to apply and enroll. That is WRONG. The fact that I believed their lie is now my problem, and I am doing the best I can to work with what I have. But to call us entitled just shows that you really don't comprehend the message we are trying to send.

  10. I've hired (and fired) hundreds of people in my career. A "quality" cover letter is a waste of time. The bottom line is can you make money for yourself or the firm that you work for. The funny thing is that I AGREE with everything you are saying. I'm struck by the naivete (especially if you have been working since you were 15) believing that the law schools said or promised what???

    You're being disingenuous stating that you and others did not think that that a law degree would make you a bundle. How, then, did the law schools lie? They lied and enticed you with what? Promises of engaging lectures by professors who have never held a real job and can't argue their way out of a paper bag? Enjoyable interactions with other students who mom & dad have supported for 25+ yrs. If you're interested in some low paying legal career (because you want to help the seals, homeless, etc) then there are plenty of jobs for that vocation. Here in San Diego we have TONS of public service atty. positions that pay next to nothing.
    Admit it. You're upset b/c the schools said you would make a bunch of money and you can't. There's nothing wrong with being upset about that. But the school gave you a degree and (hopefully) you passed the bar wherever you are. The job part is up to you.

  11. I am feeling you all the way, Rose. All.the.way.

  12. I posted a longer version of this but it didn't show up. How many of you REALLY want a job. The Yellow Pages in each of your town is filled with hundreds of lawyers. Have you (as I did when I entered law school and it eventually landed me as a partner at a small firm) offered to work for free to learn your craft? The answer is "NO" b/c I have never had someone call me and offer to do so. You guys are full of excuses but unwilling to make sacrifices. I'm thinking of pitching a reality show where I take on 5 unpaid attys who have to prove to me that they deserve to work for me. I give them 3 mos. and we'll see the cream rise to the top.

  13. It's so sad to read these comments accusing out of work people of thinking they are entitled. To 2:18, have a little more compassion for beginners trying to make it in an economy that you never had to get your start in. They have more chutzpah, guts, and balls than you ever knew what to do with. I have worked 3 unpaid internships - calling people, offering to work for free. All it leads to is another unpaid internship. Oh, I learn 'great' skills. But the only place I use them at is another unpaid internship.

    People, don't be taken in by that one. My last job interview didn't go over so well when I was requested to give a salary history. How do you convince the person hiring that you really are worth a wage when all you can show is a wageless legal work history. The last guy, after seeing my history of unpaid legal work history spanning over the last year and a half, offered me $9.00 an hour. Oh, and did I mention, that doesn't even cover my $1100 a month loan payments?

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