Alex Smith, J.D.
While the law school admissions process can appear daunting, Michelle Kim Hall’s “4 Ways Undergraduates Can Strengthen Law School Profile” offers good basic advice for getting the most out of the various aspects of the law school application.
Most law school applications consist of a few basic parts: undergraduate GPA, LSAT score, letters of recommendation, professional resume, and a personal statement. Hall analyzes these pieces (minus the personal statement) one at a time, explains their value to law school admissions councils, and offers straightforward advice on how to make each part of the law school application into a strength, in turn making the applicant more likely to gain admission to his or her law school of choice.
As a student applying for jobs you have probably noticed postings asking for you to upload a cover letter. Many students spend a lot of time updating and focusing on a solid resume. However, having an impressive cover letter is just as important. Often times the cover letter may be the only part of your application that a job site reads thoroughly. Writing an impressive cover letter may sound challenging but there are a few simple steps that you can follow to help put your cover letter on the right track.
This article By Recia Lee will help break down writing your cover letter in a few steps. This article is a quick read and focuses on structure, tailoring, grammar, and the conclusion of your cover letter. This is a good introduction read to creating a cover letter. For more assistance with you cover letter you can always book an appointment at Careers and Professional Development.
Student Career Educator
In “5 Steps To Creating A Pitch-Perfect Elevator Pitch,” Kitty Boitnott teaches us the best way to craft the cleanest and most effective elevator pitch. Her first step is to write down everything about yourself and everything you’ve accomplished, to craft it into an elevator pitch later. She also reminds readers not to freak out if they can’t fit everything about themselves into 30 seconds, everyone knows there’s still more to you! She then wants people to create a pitch they think potential employers will like, maybe by bringing up a problem and coming up with a solution, and practice a ton! Practice will help accomplish her last step, which is to deliver your pitch smoothly and confidently.
This article definitely helps set up the base foundation for a great elevator pitch, but I think Boitnott forgot a few things in her article that are important, too.
- First, remember that just like a resume, elevator pitches can be changed for different jobs. Make sure to tailor yours for who you’re going to be talking to.
- Elevator pitches also need to feel conversational and not too forced. If you sound like a robot while speaking it won’t be as effective.
- Lastly, remember to believe in yourself! No matter how much you have or don’t have in your speech, be kind and personable and it will make a huge difference.
Emily Salazar, Career Counselor
When talking about salary negotiation one must consider what stage of the career ladder he or she is at. If you’re a recent college graduate chances are that the starting salary is already set, and it’s likely that you don’t have enough experience to offer which would make the employer want to negotiate. There are exceptions in fields like accounting or engineering or if you have a unique skill that is in high demand, but according to Peter Vogt in a Monster Worldwide Inc. article, a Bachelor’s degree and a couple of internships aren’t enough incentive for employers to adjust salaries. According to Vogt, “Nine times out of ten the company has to invest more money just to get you up to speed” so salary negotiation shouldn’t be your first priority.
This doesn’t mean that if you think you have something to offer the employer above what other candidates can offer that you can’t attempt to negotiate, but you should have a rationale for why you should be paid more. Try once and if they indicate that they can’t negotiate, it’s best to end it there.
If the employer seems open to some negotiation in terms of salary or benefits, go for it. They may be willing to negotiate on relocation, tuition reimbursement, or sign-on bonuses. If you do this, however, you better do extensive research through internet salary sites and professional associations. You should become knowledgeable about starting salaries in your industry, in your geographic location, and for your level of education and experience. Also, research the current job market and the top specialty fields employers are seeking.
If you do engage in salary negotiation try to rehearse a negotiation script. Payscale.com has an excellent Salary Negotiation Guide: http://www.payscale.com/salary-negotiation-guide/salary-negotiation-scripts Negotiating salary is not about being demanding. Always be polite and negotiate for what you deserve. If you have something valuable to offer the employer and if you come in with accurate data about an appropriate salary your request will be considered. Be prepared that maybe you won’t get what you want, but at least you tried and you demonstrated to the employer that you know how to negotiate. Good luck.
Laurie Doran, LPC
In my role as a Career Counselor, I often see students and alumni who are in the process of searching and applying for job or internship opportunities and feel that they are not seeing a quick turnaround from their efforts. Many times they ask me “what am I doing wrong?”
During our meeting, I typically do a quick check-in to make sure they are not sabotaging their hard work by making simple and avoidable mistakes during their well-intentioned search. The article 8 Common Mistakes Made in Finding a Job outlines some additional important things to consider in a job search.
Here are a few additional rules of the job search that I have learned and like to share with others:
- Always read the job description carefully and follow the application instructions exactly (Employers often use any mistakes made to “weed out” applicants for a position.)
- Always include a tailored Cover Letter when requested. (If not requested, include a short introduction in the body of your email.)
- Don’t waste time overthinking a job posting or waiting for the perfect opportunity. (Go ahead and apply and apply in a timely manner, even if you are not 100% qualified…you are just starting a conversation by applying, not committing to the position.)
- Don’t use the “Spray and Pray” method of applying for a position. (Never send the same resume out for all positions and expect that it’s going to get attention.)
- Don’t over or under do your resume. (A “master resume” which includes everything may not be appropriate and may actually hide your relevant experience, education, and skills. The same goes for sending a resume which leaves out details which can catch the attention of a recruiter or electronic resume management system.)
- Have an organizational plan during your search. (Make a list, better yet, a spreadsheet which can remind you which companies you have applied to and when. Make note of what you have sent them, important dates, and a record of any correspondence, requests, or follow up emails.)
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. (Visit your Career office, ask the opinion of family, friends, professors, advisors, and alumni. You never know who can help or even who may know of a position that would be a good fit for you.)