Finding Your First Job After College

Finding Your First Job After College

The following article posted by Lori Buiteweg, JD, President of the Michigan Bar Association, highlights Career Coach Nick Synko’s tips for your first job search after graduation (whether from law school or not). Synko Associates provides Outplacement Career Transition Services to corporate outplacement clients and individuals of all backgrounds.


Did New Year’s Day find you thinking, “This is the year I’m going to get my dream job?” Or maybe, “I’m almost done with law school! Now what?!”

I hear a lot of general lamentation over the inability of lawyers to find jobs. “Glut” is the word I hear used to describe unemployed and underemployed lawyers. But is there any truth to that? Well, let’s look at the facts. Out of approximately 35,000 active members of the State Bar of Michigan, 1.6 percent were unemployed and seeking employment in 2015. According to the ABA the 2014 figures break down as follows: 

  • 26,248 graduates of the class of 2014, or 59.9 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time positions that require bar passage.
  • 4,912 graduates of the class of 2014, or 11.2 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time "J.D. advantage" positions where a law degree is preferred.
  • 8 percent of the class of 2014 were unemployed and seeking employment.

With law school debt often resulting in monthly payments the size of a mortgage (and sometimes a mortgage plus day care), it is obviously important to land a job immediately upon passing the bar, if not sooner. While contemplating the gravity of this reality, I decided to survey a small, medium and large firm to find out their dos and don’ts for job hunters. 

The Small Firm

I chose the Reed Law Group because I know the principal, Steven A. Reed, well and he just hired a Cooley Law School grad who was an extern of mine about a year ago. It makes sense that a small firm is looking for someone who can hit the ground running...... Read more click here

The Medium Firm

I chose Conlin, McKenney & Philbrick, P.C. in Ann Arbor. Elizabeth M. Petoskey answered these questions. Elizabeth said these are what she finds most important on a resume:

  1. Experience and/or interest and prior success in the practice area we are looking for
  2. Legal education
  3. Interest in our community ....... Read more click here

The Big Firm

I chose Bodman PLC in Detroit. Thomas P. Bruetsch answered these questions. Thomas said this is what he finds most important on a resume: A candidate needs to know his or her audience. Most hiring partners are also busy practicing lawyers, and they receive many, many resumes. Different positions require different skills and backgrounds...... Read more click here 

Advice from a Career Transition Coach

I also interviewed Nick Synko of Synko Associates, a career transition coach extraordinaire. I asked him what kinds of questions he would ask a client who came to him complaining about not being able to get a good full-time job.

Nick said he would ask:

  1. What is your job search strategy? Are you making online applications only? What are you doing to take a more comprehensive, aggressive approach to finding a job?
  2. Have you invested in a career coach? If not, who is mentoring you in your job search and what are their qualifications?
  3. Have you had your resume evaluated by a qualified career counselor? How many resumes have you sent out? If your efforts have been unsuccessful, what have you done to upgrade the impact or market presentation of your resume?
  4. Which companies would you identify as high priority target employers? What have you done to understand their business and mission to identify who to contact and how to construct an introductory letter that may draw attention to your candidacy?
  5. What industry or professional journals and websites do you pay attention to? What related professional meetings or tradeshows have you attended to increase your professional knowledge?
  6. What courses have you completed during your period of unemployment to demonstrate you are up-to-date professionally and a continuous learner?
  7. What you are doing to take an organized, systematic approach to networking? What have you done to network in the last few weeks? Have you attended networking events? Have you attended professional association meetings?
  8. Are you using social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to advance your job search strategy? How are you continuously improving the use of social media to reach your network? Have you evaluated the LinkedIn profiles of your competitors? What do you uniquely offer compared to them? What do you lack?
  9. When asked about your expected salary requirements, what number or range do you state? How have you researched that number to know if it is high or low, and competitive?
  10. Who have you used to coach you through mock or practice interviews? How have you prepared for scheduled phone interviews? Provide a list of a few standard interview questions you expect. How do you answer those questions?

Read the full article by clicking here......