Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good News; Bad News

I have some updates coming about my recent interviews and other events from the sad tale that is my job search. In the meantime, I thought I'd give you some insight into what I've seen in the job market in recent weeks.

I was somewhat surprised to hear the bad economic news this morning that consumer confidence plunged this month (and has taken the stock market with it). The main reason for the decline appears to be the weak labor market.

Obviously, it comes as no real shock that the economy isn't exactly booming, but at least from my own experiences, things are looking up.

One of the most depressing aspects of the job search used be just looking at the job boards for available positions. Entry level prospects usually only amounted to little more than sales positions or retail management trainee positions.

More substantive roles were available, but they usually either required years of work experience or a well developed skill set - usually acquired by having a practical degree in something like computer programming.

Recently, there have been far more positions available. Many positions also don't have the same strict guidelines they once did. I have found a number of roles where the employer actually appeared to be looking for bright, well educated, and talented candidates rather than someone who fits an inflexible rubric.

Moreover, within the last month, I have probably been offered a chance to interview one out of every ten times I have submitted a resume. Though, I'm not sure if it's entirely due to an improved economy because I've also received some help making my resume more professional.

The bad news, for many others with J.D.'s, is that a lot of the interest I have received in my resume has been based upon my previous work experience. (Though I have kept the J.D. on my resume.)

For anyone else who is pursuing a non-legal career, have you guys also noticed an improved market and better jobs options? Feel free to weigh in using the comments section.


  1. Glad to see things may be looking up for you, Esq.

    Can't say the same on my end. Plenty of postings requiring 3-5 years of experience. Plenty of shitlaw firms that want top 25% and law review. I apply to everything I'm qualified for that comes down the pike. Lately I've been tailoring my strategy to crappy firms in the middle of nowhere, in the hopes that fewer applicants will want to live and work in the boondocks.

    Firms are so inundated with applications these days that no one bothers to send out a rejection letter. It's literally sending stuff out into the ether.

  2. Do you mind sharing the source of your resume revamp? I am seeking to transition from legal practice back to my pre-law field, but I am having a hard time crafting my resume in a manner that will be attractive to such employers. Thanks in advance.

  3. 3:18 - Yeah, I should have qualified my remarks by saying that non-law jobs seem more plentiful, but the legal market remains in the can.

    3:23 - I actually talked to a "resume consultant" at a job fair. Usually, I don't put much stock into this sort of thing, but I have to admit it looks better and some of his suggestions may have worked.

    I'll consider creating a post with some resume tips.

  4. I wonder how job headhunters are faring in this corroded market. It's sickening.

  5. Consumer confidence is down for two reasons:

    1. First, the job market is not strengthening. There were only 41,000 jobs added to the private sector last month. Almost all of the hiring was done by the Census, and those folks are now beginning to be let go. Moreover, state and local governments have their fiscal years coming soon, and their workers know the axe is falling without further help from DC. Look for massive government layoffs this year at the state and local levels, barring another round of stimulus (which currently looks politically infeasible).

    2. The massive stock drop over May, combined with the continued stock market volatility, makes consumers nervous. Many are worried that they will not be able to retire. In addition, word is leaking out that many pension funds, public and private alike, are broke. As this word filters through the economy, it will send waves of fear through people who thought they had a stable, well-funded pension plan coming.

    3. Unemployment benefits are running out for 2 million people between now and the end of July, and Congress doesn't appear capable of extending them. UE is meager, but it does allow you to get by with most major bills. Once it's gone and there are no jobs...I feel a little sick thinking about it, really.

  6. I'm noticing more interest in my resumes, though almost all of the positions that have called me have some relationship to law or regulatory schemes. I don't think I could get my foot in the door in a hard science lab right now, despite past experience.

  7. There's just too much debt in the system from consumers to the major financial houses, whose balance sheets have had the luxury of a two-year stay of execution. Ultimately, you don't have to analyze it any more deeply than just to say that the pyramid got patched together at the top, expressly so that everyone below was held in place in terms of their obligations. And now, surprise, friends, because in our service economy, the only driver of growth we really have is consumerism, and, you can hold me in my place all you want, but if I've got too much debt, then I've just got more than I can service, and no amount of time is going to fix that. That means we all flatline until the debt works its way out. In the end, W was right. Wall Street did get drunk. Unfortunately, they put roofies in everyone else's drink. We'll recover when we recover. When will that be? Maybe you can ask Japan. They've been through this before.

  8. I hear ya, 4:37. There seems to be this assumption that, even if you did science before, somehow all that degree knowledge and paractical experience evaporated when you moved to something like law. It seems the same is true for other fields, too.

  9. Hey, I'm in the same boat as you and definitely think employers are more interested in past work experience and simply willing to overlook the JD instead of getting all suspicious about it. I hope your interviews turned out well!

  10. Obviously I thought of my third reason after I had started typing. Heh.

  11. 5:09:

    Your penultimate question is on the mark but then we must ask again, have the Japanese ever climbed out of their post-bubble recession? It's been near 20 fucking years since their bubble burst and they are still skipping along at half the productive capacity in the 80's. If the near future of our dear USA is going to mirror Japan's, then a lot of people are just fucked. At least their citizens saved whereas Americans................it's going to ugly.

  12. I have been applying to fed govt jobs for about 1.5 months and now have had 2 interviews for legal support positions and expect to have more.
    No interest in my comp sci degree.

  13. I've been applying to fed jobs for about 4 years now (counting law school and before law school) and have gotten about 3 interviews total. I have gotten at least 30-40 interviews for internships and jobs in the private sector that same timespan. After actually graduating law school I have gotten less interviews, but I still get them occasionally for legal jobs in the private sector (roughly one a month minimum or so).

    I have no idea what you have to do to get a federal government job or even an interview. The private sector tells me that my resume was selected out of 1200+ or so, and I believe them because I have seen the piles before, so I do not think my resume is a problem or my experience necessarily.

    I haven't been hired though, at least not full time. I do not believe there are really any jobs out there. I don't know why places even interview.

    I hope the economy is indeed improving but I don't buy it. More places might be interviewing, but that doesn't mean more added jobs.

  14. Great post, in this economy it is very hard finding a job in the legal profession due to the lack of overall need for legal professionals. For those seeking to go into the legal profession, I recommend numerous resources and looking at law firm rankings in order to get the best idea of the market.


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