I spent this morning at a professional development event run by the California Minority Counsel Program. The panel discussion featured several speakers, including in-house counsel and attorneys from private firms, and centered around career development for women and minorities. The conversation drifted from tips and tricks-style advice-giving to anecdotes about personal experiences.
A lot of the advice, particularly when it came to talking about job searching, was pretty standard stuff. Disseminate your resume in as many places as you can. Start your own networking group, even if it's just a group of like-minded individuals having dinner and talking about your industry. Join professional associates, attend trade shows. Find companies that are in the news and gaining economic traction, and apply with them as they grow. One theme echoed throughout the conversation: law is relationships. Network, network, network.
Duane Valz, VP and Associate General Counsel at Yahoo, told the audience that the best way to ensure you don't get laid off once you've found a job is to "always give the impression [at work] that you're bringing good value" to your company. Jim Potter, a Sr. VP and GC at Del Monte Foods, went through quite list of tips including an interesting one of always having multiple versions of your resume on hand - he recommended the magic number of seven.
All pretty good advice. During the question and answer portion of the discussion, several junior partners stood up to ask for help on how to manage their book of business during rough economic times.
What I thought was the best nugget from the event, though, was something that might be a little less encouraging to you all. Theodora Lee, a shareholder at Littler Mendelson, encouraged junior associates to trek on over to the career services offices of their alma maters, saying that these offices have "opened themselves up" to unemployed alums.
As I wrote in my notes, "Yay for law students!" Not only is there a question of whether or not career services can offer a whole lot to job-searching students, but now there'll be competition for face time and resources with all your school's alumni! As Petra said in a recent Cal Law story about the rising levels of competition for public sector jobs, the "door of opportunity is getting jammed with feet."