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Networking Tips

Networking is relationship building and is a key component to your job search. It is the ability to create and maintain an effective, widely based system of resources that works to the mutual benefit of yourself and others. Your network includes everyone you know including friends, relatives, and acquaintances. The individuals in your network may know people who have knowledge, even job leads, in your fields of interest. In fact, because many job openings are transmitted exclusively by word-of-mouth, whenever you are job hunting, it is a wise idea to tell everyone you know what you are looking for. The person you least expect may give you the contact that leads to your job opportunity. You are also more likely to be hired when you learn about a job through someone who knows both you and the employer: when selecting an employee, employers tend to give preferential treatment to those applicants they or their friends know.

Other networking sources include professors, work acquaintances, and alumni featured in the UT Law Alumni-Student Connections LinkedIn group; UT Law Mentor Directory; CSO programs and workshops; the Cocktails & Conversation Networking Reception; UT CLE conferences (free to UT Law students) and State Bar of Texas CLE conferences; state and local bar association meetings; parties; and informal gatherings also offer excellent opportunities to expand your network.

Effective networking requires that you be sensitive to how you approach people. If you ask a mentor or contact pointedly if they have a job opening, they may feel uncomfortable and cut short the conversation. Instead, such people generally are happy to advise you on areas of law, the marketplace, and effective job search techniques, and pass along names of other attorneys in your field(s) of interest. This approach to building a network is often referred to as “informational interviewing.” Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams by Kimm Walton, available as a reference book in the CSO eResource Library, contains an excellent discussion on networking and effective informational interviewing.

Networking Tips During the Holidays

This is an opportunity to connect with friends and family that you don’t often see. Let them know that you’re graduating and looking for a job.

  • Search the UT Law Mentor Directory and reach out to mentors in your area. If are spending the holidays in a smaller town or outside of Texas, search for alumni via Martindale.com or LinkedIn.
  • Set up informational interviews. Offer to take an attorney to coffee or lunch to learn more about their practice.
  • Most bar associations and some bar sections have holiday parties and are happy to have law students attend. Check with your local bar association for a list of social events.
    • Be yourself, but be mindful of the impression you’re conveying.
    • Festive dress is fine, but be professional.
    • Consider having simple business cards made to hand out to people you meet.  However, keep in mind that you are in a social setting - you don’t want to seem pushy.
    • Follow up with any contacts you make.

Additional Resources