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5 Tips to Get the Most From Your School's Career Services Office

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on May 12, 2015 3:59 PM

Unlike those getting doctorates in French Polynesian poetry or theoretical mathematics, very few of us end up in law school out of an intrinsic desire to learn about the law. Rather, we want to take on massive amounts of debt -- and maybe get a job some day. Thankfully, while law schools still have many gaps they need to fill to support students, they do try to get you work.

You law school's career services office is there to get you hired, so make sure you make them work. Here's five tips to get the most out of your law school career services office:

1. Set Up an Appointment, Regularly

Many students will set up an initial appointment with the career services office to help identify resources for their job searches. Some may have career counselors review generic cover letters or resumes. But don't stop there -- if you're applying to a job or internship you really want, go back and ask a counselor to look over your specific application materials. If you need interview prep, they may also be able to help with that.

Your job search is something that'll continue throughout your law school career and so should maximize your use of the career center. Even if you don't set up regular appointments, peek your head in from time to time to see if there is new information on recruiting, networking events, or other opportunities.

2. Tap Their Job Openings

One of the most common activities career services offices engage in is setting up on-campus recruiting programs. Most schools also have online job listings you can access. Their system may be slow, it may be difficult to use, but it can still be a great source of information.

3. And Tap Other Schools' Job Openings, Too

Similarly, some schools may also offer access to other law school's job postings and on-campus recruiting programs, often in different geographic markets. If you're planning on, or open to, moving across country for a job, ask your career office about these.

4. Connect to the School's Network

Career services often have regular contact with alumni. If you're interested in getting a mentor, learning about a particular practice area, or just expanding your legal network, contact your career services office and see if they can put you in touch with a grad who might fit the bill.

5. Don't Forget the Rest

Don't limit yourself to the careers services office. Most law schools also offer a variety of other opportunities that can help you become employable and practice-ready by graduation. Use clinics to develop practical skills, extra curriculars to build your network and blow off steam -- even consider pursuing courses in other parts of your university, to help fill the knowledge gaps that law school doesn't cover.

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