At our 6th session of the 2012 LCL/MBA Managing Your Work Search series, guest speaker Jim Toms, HR Director at Sullivan & Worcester, offered some welcome encouragement in the form of growing legal job opportunities. A survey of the various job posting sites suggested that there were currently 1500 legal job openings in Massachusetts. Although a quick review could not easily assign percentages to full-time vs. part-time, professional vs. paraprofessional, public vs. private, or identify legal specialty, the number was nevertheless heartening.
In fielding questions put to him by participants seeking advice in the search and the interview process, Mr. Toms underscored the universal theme of the importance of networking in the job search process. “Simply submitting a resume and cover letter will never get you on the interview list,” said Mr. Toms. He encouraged participants to take advantage of the fact that most people are more than willing to meet you for coffee or lunch for an informational interview, and to follow up with periodic updates to keep yourself fresh in their minds. You just never know where you might find the winning lead, right combination of contacts, or tip of the scales in your favor, but probabilities serve the active networker. Beyond making and maintaining contacts, networking helps jobseekers to clarify their objectives, hone their interview skills, increase their knowledge of the current job market, and in general, become more interesting candidates.