With the job search season upon us, it seems pertinent to address the concerns of those of you who don’t want to stay in the area. Therefore, this week we are re-sharing some tips and tricks Brad Dixon identified last year, as adapted from Guerrilla Tactics For Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams by Kimm Alayne Walton.
If you are interested in practicing outside of the Kansas City metro area and/or the Midwest, there are some things you can do to proactively position yourself for success in your new location.
1) Contacts at your Destination. Do some research and find alums from UMKC Law (and your undergrad institution) that are located in the city or area in which you would like to practice. Any job search begins with getting the best information possible. The successes and mistakes of alums who have trudged the path ahead of you are valuable learning tools. Having UMKC Law as a connection will give you a good starting point for outreach and discussion.
- How do you find these alums?
- Research on LinkedIn. UMKC Law has its own LinkedIn page with thousands of alumni already connected.
- Talk to the Career Center. We have connections to alumni across the country and are happy to help make connections.
- Talk to professors who may have gone to school or have connections in your desired location
- What do you do next? Contact them just like you would for any other informational interview. Send an e-mail introducing yourself and ask for a time to speak over the phone or, if you will be in the area, see if they have time for coffee. Check out our Informational Interviewing resource on Symplicity for ideas on questions and outreach.
2) You may not be a known quantity. Target employers who have hired UMKC Law students or grads from an institution similar to ours. One of the issues students face in a new place is that employers in other regions may not be familiar with UMKC Law, so if you can find an employer who either (1) has previously hired an alum or (2) has hired from a similar law school, the chances are better that the employer may be more receptive to considering you. Talk about how UMKC Law is similar to schools that are known in the region and argue by analogy.
3) Go to your target city! Nothing shows a potential employer that you are serious like being in your target city. Whether it is over Spring Break or a long weekend, schedule meetings with potential employers and utilize your time to the fullest. If you are a 1L or 2L, we strongly encourage you to look for summer employment in your target city. This is the best way to form connections to your destination while still going to school in Kansas City.
4) Resume and Cover Letters. You must show your connection to the destination city in both your cover letter and resume. For the resume, join the state bar association, consider getting a “local” cell number, and consider putting a section on your resume that explains your connection to the place if it is not obvious. You must also include in your cover letter a definite statement that you are relocating to your desired location after graduation and your connections to the place. DO NOT lie about your connections with a place. You must be honest in everything your present to a potential employer, including information as benign as a connection to your destination.
5) Reciprocity. The Career Center has the ability to request reciprocity from other law schools, which will give you access to the other institution’s career services office (usually including that law school’s job board). There is no guarantee our reciprocity request will be granted, but if you are interested in reciprocity with another law school, come talk to a member of the Career Center and we can explain how the process works.
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