Lawyers Find Job Networking to be Hard Work

 As lawyer lay-offs mount,  lawyers are beginning to network like crazy in hopes of finding jobs. The laid-off lawyers who call me speak with frustration about how long it is taking them to find something new.  This is because: (1) so many lawyers are flooding the market at once, (2) there are few jobs to be had, (3) the more senior a lawyer (or any professional) is, the longer it takes to get a job, and (4) generally speaking, lawyers don’t realize how hard job networking can be.

Why don’t lawyers expect job networking to be so much work?  Perhaps because finding a job–and a high paying one–has come easily in recent years. Many of these lawyers have never had to look for a job: jobs always came to them.

And so, job networking understandably brings frustration, confusion and disappointment. Having a realistic understanding about what’s involved in successful job networking–and then doing it–can really improve a lawyer’s attitude, and odds of finding something. 

Although speaking to finance professionals (as opposed to lawyers), EFinancialCareer.com’s recent article by Jon Jacobs titled Our Take: Networking is Hard  sets out some of the requirements of effective networking.  For example, it advises professionals to “go outside the box” in their job search, which requires departing from one’s comfort zone.  Too often lawyers rely on close contacts and family members–and headhunters (who have few jobs to offer nowadays)–when looking for a new job.  Rather, lawyers should cast their nets widely, tracking back to old classmates, and distant family friends and professional acquaintances.

As the article articulates, networking with strangers is particularly hard because it usually results in “cycling through multiple levels of contacts (one refers you to another, who then refers you to another, and so on)”. However, persistence usually pays off, so network now!

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