Ed. note: Gradenfreude is a new series chronicling a recent law school graduate’s life after attending an unranked school. Feel free to email the author at [email protected], and he’ll respond ASAP. After all, it’s not like he has anything better to do.
In law school, we all learn that networking is a valuable tool, especially in today’s vastly oversaturated job market. So now, as an underemployed graduate, I think back to what I could have done differently to make a better impression and really get noticed by a potential employer.
Sometimes I can be a little too shy and reserved, which can be perceived as a lack of self-confidence. I have a tendency to ramble on about minor details, and potential employers hate it when you can’t see the big picture. When I am put on the spot or get too nervous, I can lose my internal coffee filter and begin to say things — things which may or may not be completely inappropriate — without fully thinking them over.
With amazing characteristics like these, isn’t it shocking that I had to resort to working in retail?
Recently, I put these personality quirks to the test when I attended a networking event hosted by my school. My first year, the event was only for current students, but I suppose the administration decided they would like to boost my alma mater’s currently unimpressive employment statistics, so they invited recent graduates.
I guess this was a creative way to kill two birds with one stone: if they didn’t have to use their allegedly fraudulent job figures, perhaps future students wouldn’t line up and sue. But I do have to admit, it was nice — and surprising — to feel “appreciated” once my tuition checks stop rolling in.
And what an event it was. I was able to meet a lot of local alumni who didn’t want to hire anyone because their firm wasn’t doing enough business to actually pay someone to work. So yeah, that was a lot of help.
Much to the surprise of the commenters, there are actually some decent sized law firms that at least want to humor students at TTTs, and they sent some very nice people to this networking event. When I told one of them about my current position at the very bottom of the employment totem pole, he actually laughed and said, “That sucks, man.” Thanks. I didn’t already realize that my current job sucks.
There was one employer that went to a different law school in the region, but was a fellow alumnus of my undergraduate school. We talked about all the things we had in common from the good ol’ days, and we really seemed to hit it off. It almost seemed like I was on a first date with this chick. She kept giving me the eye, and after I handed her my résumé, she gave me her personal number, and told me to call her anytime. Score… until she finds out I’m living with my parents.
Unlike me, she took the advice of most of the commenters on my previous posts and hung her own shingle. She said that she was only looking for an intern, but would probably need some extra help on some weekends in the coming months, and could offer to pay me slightly more than minimum wage. I think that the old saying “beggars can’t be choosers” applies here, plus she was pretty hot. Who am I to complain?
Other than that, it was pretty much a bust of an evening. The school decided to invite graduates to a networking event filled with potential employers that either weren’t hiring, or didn’t intend to hire someone who, out of sheer desperation, needed to use his law school to network to find a job, months after graduating.
But hey, at least they were kind of trying – the catering for the event was much better and more filling than it was during my three years at school. I guess they realized how tired, poor, and hungry recent graduates of their prestigious institution are, and seeing as they couldn’t give us jobs, they gave us the next best thing: food.
When not writing about life after law school for Above the Law, Tristan Taylor Thomas (not his real name) works at a retail job stocking shelves — which he admits is slightly better than being a shoeshiner. You can reach him by email at [email protected].