Technology can be both a friend and a foe when trying to find a job in the digital age. Popular job search sites have made it easier to find open positions in the legal field, but they’ve also opened up the floodgates so that there will be many talented applicants all vying for one position. According to Forbes, the average number of applicants for any given job is 118.
So what can you do when you’re competing with over a hundred recent law grads for that one coveted position? Use technology to your advantage and make yourself stand out from the crowd. Follow these 4 tips and you’ll be well on your way to landing a job.
1. Use job search sites.
Long-running job search sites like Monster and CareerBuilder have withstood the test of time and have become trusted, valuable resources for millions of employers and job seekers, while relatively more recent sites like Indeed and CareerIgniter also offer job searching resources and career advice.. It’s worth using these general job search sites and filtering jobs using specific industry-related keywords, such as ‘paralegal’ or ‘corporate legal specialist,’ but you should also try industry-specific sites like Lawjobs.
Some job seekers may complain that using job search sites is useless because most jobs are given to someone who already knows someone at the company or firm. The people who are saying this are clearly unaware that job boards and postings on corporate websites account for a combined 35.5% of new hires. That being said, however, of the 3.6 million job openings in 2012, 80% were never advertised online. That brings me to my next point…
2. Network like there’s no tomorrow.
Networking is important for getting a job in any field, but it’s especially key in the legal industry, where much of your work will require you to be able to successfully communicate with others. If you’re in law school right now, this is the perfect time to be making connections with professors, classmates, and members of the alumni network. By forming professional relationships with these people, you’re opening up more job opportunities down the road.
If you’re not currently in law school, contact Career Services at your alma mater and see if they can connect you with a network of alumni in your field. Talk to anyone and everyone you know to see if they can get you introductions to people who work for the firm or company you want to work for. Referrals account for 26.7% of all new hires, so knowing someone on the inside definitely helps.
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, create one now.
LinkedIn gives you a way to easily keep track of all your contacts and to post a resume that future employers can see. Did you meet a local attorney for coffee and talk about how to get a job in the legal industry? Make sure that you have them connect with you on LinkedIn so that they are more likely to remember you when their firm is hiring.
3. Have a professional online presence.
Most university career centers drill their students on changing their social media privacy settings so that future employers can’t find anything potentially embarrassing, so having a professional online presence should be a no-brainer at this point.
However, 70% of recruiters are required to do a web search of potential hires and 75% of them have said they’ve found things that have made them decide not to hire an applicant. In addition to adjusting your Facebook privacy settings, consider creating a professional blog using a platform like WordPress so that any potential employer who searches for you can see how serious and passionate you are about the legal field. The aforementioned LinkedIn is also a great way to keep a professional online presence.
4. Know the technology employers use.
Many larger organizations use applicant management software to whittle down the huge pile of resumes, and as a result they weed out up to 50% of applicants before a real person looks at the resumes and cover letters. This software searches resumes for specific keywords, so to prepare your resume to make the cut, copy and paste the job description into Wordle or TagCrowd to generate a word cloud of the most frequently used keywords. Make sure that you’re sprinkling these throughout your resume so that the software decides you’re a worthwhile candidate.
Now that you’re armed with these tips, finding a job in the digital age will hopefully feel much more manageable!