Written by Brett McKay
Alreadybored.com, a new legal salary site, launched last month. Its stated
mission is to provide the most current and comprehensive law firm compensation
data and job search resources. Alreadybored.com is geared towards law students
and law firm associates and fills the void between NALP (which is geared towards
law students) and the American Lawyer 100 and 200 reports (which broadly cover
law firm economics). Its logo shows an associate leaning back in an office
chair throwing a paper airplane, which sets the tone for the site. The site
was created for associates, but we suspect the site will become a significant
resource for law firm management, recruiting personnel and headhunters.
Alreadybored.com launched in early December with just over 100 firms and has
already expanded to over 200 firms. Despite its infancy, it already has the
most comprehensive and current associate salary data available on the web. The
site represents a significant improvement from existing legal salary sources
because it is free and its content is timely and therefore relevant.
Submissions and corrections are reviewed and uploaded to the site within hours
of submission and the Already Bored staff is actively expanding and improving
the data. In addition to salary information, the site also includes sections
for law firm research, job postings and discussion boards.
Are You Going Broke Applying For Jobs? 3 Easy Things You Can Do To Save Money & Time & Still Get the Job
Written by Brett McKay
Right now, it’s interview season for law student across the country. During the first week of school, I was busy sending out resumes, cover letters, and transcripts. What I discovered during the process is that sending that stuff out gets expensive when you have to buy paper, envelopes, and postage. It also takes a lot of time. In the high stakes game of law school, you often don’t have enough time in the day to fit in sending out resumes. Here’s a list of 3 things I learned during the process of sending out resumes that can help save you time and money.
- Don’t buy the fancy resume paper. Most people think that if you want to get the job, you have to get the nice thick marbled resume paper. This stuff can cost something like $13 a box for 100 pieces of paper. While $13 isn’t that much for 100 sheets, I wasn’t planning to send out 100 resumes. I sent just out 9 to different firms in Oklahoma City. So those nine pieces of fancy resume paper would have cost me about $1.44 each. (That’s $13 divided by 9). No way The Frugal Law Student was going to do that! I just use the normal white printing paper my school has in the library. It was free (I guess it wasn’t technically free, my tuition paid for it), and it was convenient. “But Brett, won’t printing on just normal paper leave a bad impression with your future employers?” I haven’t had a problem with it. In fact, I’ve heard that many employers prefer just normal paper because it copies better. When you send your resume in, employers are going to make copies of it. When the background is some marbled, ivory color, it doesn’t copy as well. Also, white paper makes reading text easier. Employers skim resumes, so making your resume as easy to read as possible will them out. So just stick with normal white printing paper. You not only save time, but you also save money. Also, consider making a PDF file of your resume. Most of the firms that contacted me asked that I send them my resume electronically so they can easily distribute it to the attorneys that I’ll be interviewing with. You never know what kind of word processing program other people are using. Because PDF is universal, you won’t have to worry about someone not being able to open up your resume. Being able to create a PDF also shows you’re tech savvy, which is a plus when looking for a job. I use CutePDF to create my PDF files. It’s free and super easy to use.
- Buy envelopes in bulk. Last year when I sent resumes out for summer internships, I would just buy manila envelopes as I needed them. But the problem was that each package cost $5 and only had 5 envelopes. Not only did I use these envelopes for resumes, but I would also use them to send books to people on Amazon. It started adding up quick. What I did during the summer is I bought a box of 100 Office Depot Brand manila envelopes for $7. I’ve used almost half of them already. I’m sure I’ll use them up by the of the year. Let’s say I’ve used 50 envelopes so far in the past three months. That comes out to around $.14 an envelope. That’s much better than $1 per envelope I was paying before. I’ve also saved time because I don’t have to drive to the store anymore when I need an envelope. I just go to the closet where I keep them, pull one out, and address it. Easy.
- Buy printable labels. I didn’t do this, but I wish I did. Instead of addressing your envelopes by hand, just buy a package of printable address labels. You can get a good deal on these if you buy them in bulk. Like manila envelopes and unlike the resume paper, you’ll actually use these latter on, so it’s worth it. You’ll save yourself a ton of time by doing it. Plus, it just looks better than handwriting. I had to spend a lot of time carefully writing the address of 9 different firms. I wanted everything to be nicely centered and clearly legible. Let the computer do that for you.
There you go. Those are my three things I learned during the job application process that can save you money and time. What do you all do to save money when sending resumes out? Drop a line in the comment box and add to the conversation.
Written by Brett McKay
Law firm internships start in just a few weeks. Part of my preparation includes re-evaluating the first impression I give to people. Do I come off as likable? Do I exude professionalism and charm?
The goal of every first impression is to stick to a person’s brain. You want them to instantly like you and to keep thinking about you hours or even days after your first met them. Here are few things we can all do go give a killer first impression.
Dress to impress. You don’t want to walk into an interview looking like a slob. If you look sloppy, people will assume you do sloppy work. Look neat and presentable. Also, dress so you’ll fit in with the people who are interviewing you. For attorneys that means conservative suits, white shirts, and ties. If your job is more creative, say like a graphic designer, dress so it looks like you’re creative. For great clothing tips, watch TLC’s What Not To Wear.
Look fit. People are attracted to people in good physical shape. If you’re out of shape, start heading to the gym everyday for 30 minutes of cardio and strength training. Also, quit eating junk and start eating healthy.
Give an impressive handshake. The first handshake is a key part in giving a good first impression.
Focus on speaking. Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Work on varying your voice intonation. You don’t want to come off as a monotone bore. Also, speak the language of the person interviewing you. Avoid slang and jargon not associated with the job you’re interviewing for. Use proper grammar and vocab that reflects a higher education. If people can’t understand you, it’s hard for them to like you.
Use the person’s name. Using the interviewer’s name makes the conversation more personable. It also shows that you were paying attention during introductions and that the other person was important enough for you to memorize their name. However, avoid overusing a person’s name. Too much name use is off putting because it sounds fake and a little bit creepy.
Let the person know you’re listening. If it looks like you’re not listening, people will be turned off. Give subtle hints that you’re listening such as looking the person in the eye, nodding, and saying an occasional “I see.” Also , ask questions about what someone had just said. It shows you’ve been paying attention and that you want to know more about what they’re saying. Finally, don’t interrupt.
Shine the spotlight on the other person. The secret to charm is directing attention away from you and on to the other person. Avoid blabbing about yourself and start asking questions about the other person. Great questions to ask in an interview include:
- “How did you end up at (name of company)?”
- “What drew you to (name of company)?
- What do you like most about working at (name of company)?”
You’ll not only get key insights about your potential employer, but the questions also require the interviewer to talk about themselves and people love talking about themselves.
What other things can we do to give a good first impression? Drop a comment and add to the conversation.
Written by Brett McKay
These past few weeks, I’ve been slowly preparing for interviews for summer internships. Part of that preparation includes updating my resume. I’ve not only been updating it, I’ve also been looking at how to improve its presentation and make it pop. Here’s a list of things that you can do to revamp your resume and make it pop.
Get rid of the Microsoft Word Templates. Part of making a resume pop is having a unique layout. It’s hard to be unique if you use the same template that every other candidate is using. There are plenty of great resume templates out there. Take the ones you like and mesh them together to make your own unique layout.
Use bullets, bold, and italics effectively. You want to make your resume as scannable as possible. Use formatting to assist in this.
Give figures and be specific. In your past job descriptions or volunteer section, give specific figures of what you accomplished while holding that position. For example, I used to train third party verifiers for gas and electric companies. Instead of just putting trainer, I put “Trained 15 new employees on how to perform third party verifications.” If your only job experience are part time jobs during college, put down how many hours you worked during a week while going to school full time. This shows employers that you know how to multi task and manage your time.
Be confident. Your resume is not the time to be modest. Your goal is to sell yourself to the interviewer. If you have a big accomplishment, make sure to include it. Be proud!
Read up on copywriting. Copywriting is the art of writing to sell. By studying copywriting you can learn which words are the most effective and powerful in getting your message across. A great place to start is Copyblogger.com. Also, go by your library. There are tons of books on copywriting.
Don’t lie. This is a given, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who fudge their resumes. You can make yourself look good without having to be dishonest. Nothing can hurt your reputation more than lying on your resume.
Check for grammar and spelling errors. Repeat. Then repeat again. Remember, your resume is a reflection of you. If it’s full of typos, recruiters will automatically assume you do sloppy work. Take the time to edit your resume again and again. Have your friends take a look at it as well for editing purposes.
Unfortunately most schools never make Resume Writing a part of their Writing Curricula, but being able to write a quality resume is a huge part of finding a Job. Improve your current resume with a few Online Learning courses to gain additional marketable skills.
Written by Brett McKay
One of the big problems facing young professionals just starting out is their lack of experience. Most employers are seeking employees with a couple of years of work experience under their belt. How do you get a job that requires experience so you can get the experience?
Start off in a different position. If the job you want requires previous experience in that position, try consider taking a different position in the same department or firm that doesn’t require previous experience. You’ll get to work with the person in the job you want and get an idea of what they do. When the job opens up again, apply for it. Many companies often look internally first for filling new positions. By working a different job in the same place, you can put yourself in a position to land the job you want.
Focus on your ability to learn. When interviewing for a job that requires experience you don’t have, play up your ability to learn quickly. In order for this to work, give specific examples. A great way to do this is interview the firm and the challenges they’re facing and offer possible solutions to them. That ought to impress the interviewer with your ability to learn quickly.
Delay the paying job and get an internship. Internships are a great way to learn about a career or job you’re interested in. If you don’t have the experience to get the job you want right away, take a year off and intern to get the experience you need.
Do contract or freelance work. Look around for freelance or contract work that can give you the experience you need to land the job you want. For example, if you’re law grad and the job you want requires experience in a certain area of law, see if you could do contract legal research for a firm that specializes in that kind of law.
Written by Brett McKay
One of the many things future law students have to fret over is what rank their law school is in the infamous U.S. News and World Report College Rankings. The rank of your law school often determines whether you can land judicial clerkships or big firm jobs after graduating.
If you’re one of the thousands of law students who didn’t get into a top school and are worried your legal career has no chance of seeing time at a big firm, I’m here to tell you shouldn’t worry.
A law school myth
You don’t need a degree from a big name school to land a job with a big name firm. Sure, having the sheep skin from Harvard or Yale will give your more opportunities to get your foot in the door, but with a little creativity and some hard work, you can land a big firm job with a degree from any law school.
Instead of applying to big national firms, focus on applying to the bigger firms in your geographic area. Hiring partners will cast a favorable eye on you because you have some ties to the area by attending law school there.You might not start out at $150,000, but you’ll definitely be making good money.
If you really want to practice at a big firm in LA or New York, but can’t get into a top ranked school, go to law school in those geographic areas. While the big firms do take grads from nationally prestigious schools, they also hire associates from lower ranked schools in the area. Show your commitment to staying in the area by getting your drivers licence from there. Change your area code to a more local one. Become a resident of the state.
Of course, you’ll have to be the top of your class if you want to land an interview with the local big firms. So, focus on doing the best you can.
It’s about who you know
It’s all about networking. Make as many contacts as you can with people at big firms. Your contacts can help you get in through the backdoor at larger firms. Attend social meetings for lawyers, do moot court and talk to the guest judges, just start contacting.
Another thing you can do to land a big firm job on a low ranked degree is specialize in less common areas of law. When a high demand arises for a particular kind of associate, but there aren’t many associates to fill the spot, big name firms will start looking to lower ranked schools.
Talk to attorneys in your area to find out which area of law has a high demand that isn’t being filled. Market yourself as an attorney specializing in that area and you’ll find yourself at a big firm.
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