20 September 2011

Don't get caught up in the numbers game

By Alicia Nealon, Juris Staff Writer
Every law student at one time or another visits his or her Career Services office for assistance in the daunting process of finding a job.  In the fall, most Career Services organize On-Campus Interviews (OCIs).  During this process, law firms go onto law school campuses to recruit law students one year in advance to begin their positions with these firms the following summer.  Students have probably spent your summer months and the first few weeks of classes meticulously pouring over the bidding process.  With each resume you post, cover letter you draft, and writing sample you polish, you utilize every available bid in an attempt to impress the employers with your application materials.  With hundreds of bids coming in thru the OCI website, the process becomes less about the individual, and more about the numbers.  And when the numbers don’t pan out, students are left dissatisfied, frustrated, and, most importantly, unmotivated.  If this describes your situation, this blog is for you.

This blog is not meant in any way to disparage the OCI process; instead, it is meant to highlight OCI’s positives, while still encouraging students to reach beyond it.  Rather than exclusively relying on the 99 bids you are able to put out on OCIs, take control of your job search.

Being proactive in the job search does not mean that students are thrown into the deep end without a life-preserver.  To the contrary, Career Services offers many employment recruitment resources other than OCIs.  For example, Duquesne University School of Law Career Services Office is organizing and funding a trip for all interested students to attend the Equal Justice Works Conference & Career Fair (“Conference”) on October 21 and 22, 2011, in Washington, D.C.  The Conference will host over 1,000 employers in the field of Public Interest Law.  Although once a stereotypical "fall-back" area of practice, Public Interest Law has been elevated by the economic recession to a prominent and sought-after area of employment.  The Conference will consist of formal and informal interviews, workshops, and networking opportunities.  Most notably, the Conference features Table Talk, an open period of time where employers will be available to speak to students on a first-come, first-served basis.  Duquesne University School of Law Career Services Office’s is not only organizing the student’s transportation and lodging for the Conference, but it is also covering all student costs, including travel, food, admissions and lodging.

A student’s future does not have to be governed by the lack of success during the on-campus-interviewing process.  Instead, students can determine their own career path and land a great position when they take the initiative to explore all the opportunities afforded to them by Career Services.  The Equal Justice Works Conference & Career Fair serves as just one example of how Career Services provides students with avenues to take control of their job search.

Alicia Nealon is a Staff Writer for Juris Magazine.  She is also a member of Duquesne University School of Law's Appellate Moot Court Board and an intern at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot, LLC.  Alicia earned her undergraduate degree at St. Joseph's University in 2010, where she majored in English and will graduate from Duquesne University School of Law in June of 2013.  She can be reached at alicia.nealon@gmail.com.