Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I'm Shy, Networking is Scary, But It's Okay

     As you can guess from the title, I’m shy, networking is scary, but it’s okay. You might be thinking: “Oh wow I’m shy too, but I thought networking was the key to surviving in law school. How will I ever survive?” To be honest, networking is actually really important in meeting and getting to know people who are in the field of your interest or are doing something in their industry that you think is cool. But it is something you can learn to ease into or get used to.
     As someone who worked in the Career Development Office over the summer and has seen what they do firsthand, the staff does a really good job at making sure students are aware of potential job opportunities and works really hard in setting up networking opportunities to get students in the right mindset, help ease them into the notion of networking, and prepare them for getting that next big job or internship.

     Some of the resources and events they have include:
  • The Small Firm Reception, which takes place in the Burns Student Lounge at school: I participated in this during my 1L, and it was interesting because it was basically “speed-dating” but for jobs and employers. It’s a great opportunity to not only meet potential employers and briefly discuss your qualifications for their position but also meet some of your peers who you don’t have classes with but have similar interests.
  • Networking Workshops, which also takes place at school: The CDO staff gives you tips and tricks for going to your next networking event. During one of the workshops, I learned the importance of having an “elevator pitch” (it is basically a sixty second introduction to yourself, your interests, your experiences, and what makes you interesting) prepared and ready to go. They also advise you to have an answer for the infamous question that all law students (probably from the beginning of time) are inevitably asked in some variation: “So why law school?”
  • Brown Bag Lunches: CDO invites attorneys, usually alumni, to come to campus and spend the hour lunch break sharing lunch and talking to students who are interested in the field. Some areas of the law that have been covered during prior brown bag lunches include: family law, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and immigration. 
  • Career Advisors: Every student gets assigned a career advisor who works with them throughout their law school career. The career advisor looks at your resume and provides feedback, discusses possible approaches to get the job you want, and also conducts mock interviews. The latter is especially helpful in practicing what to say during interviews and even networking events. 
So it’s okay to be shy and not know what to do about networking because you’ve got a team of peers and professionals who are here to help you get on your way.

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