University of Pittsburgh

Pitt Law Works: Volume 5 Issue 11 - January 28, 2010

FOLLOW UP THE RIGHT WAY

You've applied for a job you really want. But you can't help wondering what your chances are against other applicants or whether your materials have gotten lost on the employer’s desk. A follow-up phone call or email to the employer might help you see where you stand.  Follow up can also give you a second chance to detail your background, your interest in the particular organization and your research.  It also evidences your tenacity, enthusiasm and confidence, traits that are appreciated by employers.

 How You Follow Up Matters:  First, follow directions:  if the posting says “no phone calls or emails,” that includes follow up contact.  If the posting does not say anything to the contrary about following up, wait a week before beginning your phone calls.  Don’t call and say, “I haven't heard anything," or “When are you going to make a decision?”  Instead, let the person you're dealing with know you sent a resume for the summer associate position; that you want to make sure your resume was received; ask if there is anything you can provide to supplement your application.  If you are feeling particularly brave, you can ask where the employer is in the hiring process or, in the case of an unsolicited resume, whether the employer is considering taking on a summer intern.

 No One Likes a Stalker:  Limit your attempts.  Leaving 1-2 voice mail messages is ok; next try asking the receptionist when the employer might be available and calling at that time.  But remember, following up is a bit like dating.  After 3-4 constructive attempts, it might be safe to assume the employer is “just not that into you.” 

 Email Is an Option:  For some employers, email is more convenient and allows them to manage their time more effectively as they can print, file and respond to candidates quickly. 

 A Simple Script Comes in Handy:  If a follow-up phone call sounds intimidating, use a brief script. Here's an example:

This is ______ calling. A few days ago I applied for the ______ position with your firm/organization. I'm calling to make sure you received my resume and to reiterate my interest in the position.

 Brief Is Best:  Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of an unexpected 20-minute phone call or a four-page email. So keep your follow-up concise. You don't need many words to make a strong impression that will lead to an interview and hopefully, the job itself.

 

HOW TO ANSWER THESE TRICKY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Most job seekers admit to emotions ranging from mild uneasiness to downright panic leading up to their interviews. The good news is there have been no reported cases of job seekers who died of nervousness during a job interview. So relax and follow these simple tips for keeping your anxiety at bay before and during your interview.

  • Prepare for your interview. Being well-prepared will boost your confidence and lower your anxiety.
  • Draft answers to the most common interview questions and practice speaking them out loud.
  • Read up on the organization with which you will be interviewing and prepare some questions of your own. This lets the interviewer know that you are truly interested in the company and the position.
  • As a final step in your preparation, make sure you have good directions to the interview site. Some job seekers make a dry run to the interview site to ensure the directions are correct and to estimate the amount of time they will need to get to the interview on time.

 Although every interviewer is different, there are some questions that are common across the board. Reading through the following questions and developing your own answers is a good place to start in your preparation. Once you have done that, remember practice makes perfect! Nothing impresses a potential employer like being ready for whatever is thrown your way.

Why should we hire you?  Here's the chance to really sell yourself. You need to briefly and succinctly lay out your strengths, qualifications and what you can bring to the table. Be careful not to answer this question too generically, however. Nearly everyone says they are hardworking and motivated. Set yourself apart by telling the interviewer about qualities that are unique to you.

Why do you want to work here?  This is one tool interviewers use to see if you have done your homework. Before going to an interview, you should research the organization, its mission and goals. If you have done your research, this question gives you an opportunity to show initiative and demonstrate how your experience and qualifications match the organization’s needs.

What are your greatest weaknesses?  The secret to answering this question is being honest about a weakness, but demonstrating how you have turned it into a strength. For example, if you had a problem with organization in the past, demonstrate the steps you took to more effectively keep yourself on track. This will show that you have the ability to recognize aspects of yourself that need improvement, and the initiative to make yourself better.

Describe a problem situation and how you solved it.  Sometimes it is hard to come up with a response to this request, particularly if you are coming straight from college and do not have professional experience. Interviewers want to see that you can think critically and develop solutions, regardless of what kind of issue you faced. Even if your problem was not having enough time to study, describe the steps you took to prioritize your schedule. This will demonstrate that you are responsible and can think through situations on your own.

Tell me about yourself.  The important thing to know is that the interviewer does not want to know about your hometown or what you do on the weekends. He or she is trying to figure you out professionally. Pick a couple of points about yourself, your professional experience and your career goals and stick to those points. Wrap up your answer by bringing up your desire to be a part of the organization. If you have a solid response prepared for this question, it can lead your conversation in a direction that allows you to elaborate on your qualifications.

WANT MORE INTERVIEW TIPS?

 For more information on other common interview questions and how to answer them, see Guerrilla Tactics, Chapter 7. 

 For suggested questions to ask your interviewer, (when asked “Do you have any questions for me,”) please see the CSO Student Handbook (Blue Binder).

 

CSO SPONSORED EVENTS

National Lawyers Guild - Social Justice Career Panel
Wed., Feb. 3 @ 5:30 p.m. (Alcoa Room)
Rachel Rosnick, SNVP

Interested in a Legal Career in Social Justice?
On Wednesday, February 3rd, the Pitt Law Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will be hosting a career panel featuring several local Guild attorneys for students interested in progressive legal careers in social justice. Attorneys will be attending from non-profits, unions, & plaintiff-side firms, such as United Electrical, Machine, & Radio Workers (UE), Healey & Hornack, P.C., Regional Housing Legal Services, the Community Justice Project, Neighborhood Legal Services, & the American Civil Liberties Union. Several participating organizations will provide information about summer internships & fellowships. All of the attending organizations & attorneys regularly employ Pitt Law students & graduates. The career panel will be held on Wednesday, February 3rd from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Alcoa Room. Food will be provided.  This program is co-sponsored by the Career Services Office.


2L and 3L Spring Job Search Focused Counseling Sessions

Sessions run from Monday, February 1 through Friday, February 12 (By appointment)

Perhaps you need some encouragement to begin your search or are wondering what should I do next?  Now is a great time to meet with a CSO counselor to help you focus/refocus your energies on your job search.  2L and 3L students can stop by Room 235 to schedule an appointment or email dschoch@pitt.edu (when scheduling, please let us know of any geographical or practice area interests and please forward an updated resume to your counselor 2 days prior to your appointment).  If your schedule does not permit a meeting during these weeks, students are welcome to schedule an appointment on another date. 

The (Career) Counselor is In (the Student Lounge) – Q & A- Pressing Job Search Issues

First Monday of the Month – February 1 from 12:30-1:30

Pam, Jen and Mary will be in the student lounge to answer your “quick” questions (for more involved questions we will schedule an appointment with you for a later date).  So, bring your pressing questions, a hard copy of your resume and your laptop and we’ll provide some support and direction in your job search efforts. (And snacks – we’ll provide the snacks).

Job Search Workshop: Creating Your Action Plan (RSVP Required)

Focus:  Small and Midsize Firms in the Pittsburgh Area

Tuesday, February 2, 1:00-1:45pm, Room 113

If you are feeling frustrated and your job search needs some energy and direction, then this workshop is for you.  This hands-on workshop will take you through the process of developing a Job Search Action Plan. This session is designed for students who are searching for summer or post-graduate employment with small and mid-size firms in the Pittsburgh region (please note that if you are looking at firms outside of the region and the principles in this workshop will still apply).  If you would like to attend this workshop please RSVP to Pam Day pday@pitt.edu  with your name and class year.  Because this is a hands-on workshop students should bring their laptops to this program.

 

Externship Program Information Session

Wednesday, February 3, 3:30-4:15pm, ALCOA Room (2nd Floor)

Kevin Deasy, Associate Dean of Students

The above information sessions have been scheduled for students interested in earning Law School credits for participation in an externship during the summer of 2010.  Dean Deasy and representatives of the Career Services Office will be available to discuss and answer questions about the Law School Externship Program.  Students interested in earning externship credits should attend one information session before the end of the semester.  There will be additional information sessions scheduled for students who decide at a later point to consider the possibility of performing an externship.  Please feel free to contact Dean Deasy at 412-648-5642 or deasy@pitt.edu if you have questions.

All Students: Don’t Miss out – 14th Attorney Expo (Table Talk)

Thursday, February 4, 1:00-2:30pm, Law School Lobby

Learn about different practice areas, both traditional and non-traditional, from expert resources: the attorneys themselves! This is a great opportunity to explore different legal practice areas as well as non-traditional settings. All law students are invited to drop by to talk to practitioners, ask questions and network with local attorneys. A partial list of attorney attendees follows:

ORGANIZATION                        NAME                         PRACTICE AREA

  • Allegheny Co. Public Defender  Michael Machen         County government/criminal defense
  • Allegheny Co. Public Defender   Suzanne Swan            County government/criminal defense
  • Babst Calland                            Steve Antonelli            Litigation/Labor and Employment
  • Babst Calland                            Erin McCurdy              Corporate
  • Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney  Ralph Fischer               Labor and Employment
  • Burns White and Hickton          Christine Hardy           Transportation /FELA/occupational disease litigation
  • Burns White and Hickton          Eddy Edwards             Business/Litigation/Sports and Entertainment
  • Burns White and Hickton          William Donovan        Litigation:  Insurance defense, toxic torts, insurance
  • Burns White and Hickton          Patrick Booth               Transportation/FELA/Business Litigation
  • Dinsmore and Shohl                  Randal Whitlatch         Toxic Torts; Environmental; Health Care
  • KidsVoice                                 Cheryl Gorski              Child Advocacy
  • KidsVoice                                 Jennifer McGarrity      Juvenile/dependency law
  • Marcus & Shapira                     Sy Beozzo                   Workers’ Compensation
  • McGuireWoods                         Bill Price                      Restructuring and Insolvency
  • Morgan Lewis                           Toby Nelson                Business; Finance
  • National Labor Relations Board  Suzanne Bernett         Labor Relations
  • National Labor Relations Board   Kim Siegert               Labor Relations
  • Oxford Development Company   Pati Lindauer  Commercial/Corporate Real Estate
  • PA Dept. of Enviro. Protection  John Herman               State government/environmental law
  • PPG                                         Joe Karas                     Corporate in house
  • UPMC                                       Mary Austin                 Corporate/Health Law
  • Women’s Center & Shelter        Sabrina Korbels           Family Law/Domestic Violence
  • Webb Law Firm                        Adam Komorowski     Intellectual Property
  • Webb Law Firm                        Bryan Clarke               Intellectual Property

 

Job Search Workshop: Creating Your Action Plan (RSVP Required)

Focus:  Public Interest/Government

Tuesday, February 9, 1:00-1:45pm, Room 113

If you are feeling frustrated and your job search needs some energy and direction, then this workshop is for you.  This hands-on workshop will take you through the process of developing a Job Search Action Plan. This session is designed for students who are searching for summer or post-graduate employment/externships with public interest and government organizations.    If you would like to attend this workshop please RSVP to Mary Thinium thinium@pitt.edu   ASAP but no later than Thursday, February 4 with your name and class year.  Because this is a hands-on workshop students should bring their laptops to this program.

 

POST GRADUATE PUBLIC INTEREST OPPORTUNITY:

The DART Center is now hiring law school graduates for the DART Organizers Institute, an elite field school for training grassroots community organizers to build power among low to moderate income communities to address issues of social justice.  Successful graduates of the Institute are placed into full-time careers as Community Organizers with one of DART’s eighteen affiliates in Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Virginia.  The DART Center has built non-partisan coalitions in communities throughout the country that have won important victories on a broad range of issues, including affordable housing, criminal recidivism, education reform, living wage and many others.  To learn more about opportunities to work for social change with DART, please call (785) 841-2680 or visit www.thedartcenter.org.

 

PUBLIC INTEREST INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY: 

The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia is seeking six legal interns for summer 2010. The Law Center’s core mission is to ensure that people have access to the material benefits of society—and when disability, poverty,  race or national origin deprive people of those benefits, we use our skills as lawyers to remove those barriers.

  The Law Center’s legal interns:

Conduct legal research on a variety of civil rights issues and legal procedures; Draft briefs for the trial and appellate courts; Assist in preparing and responding to discovery; Prepare for and participate in administrative hearings and, possibly, trials; Interview prospective witnesses; Work in collaboration with other advocates around specific issues, such as equal and adequate funding for public education and healthy communities.

 Priority will be given to students who:

Will have completed their second year of law school by summer 2010; Demonstrate a commitment to the public interest; Demonstrate excellence.

 Internships last ten weeks, between June and August, 2010.

 Funding:  These positions are unpaid but participants may earn academic credit and/or apply for grants. 

 Application Procedure/Deadline:  The applicant pool closes on Thursday, February 11, 2010.  We strongly encourage you to apply early, as the positions may be filled before then.

 Applicants should send a resume, cover letter, recent writing sample and law school transcript by postal or electronic mail.  Please e-mail applications to ebrown@pilcop.org. If using postal mail, please send to:

 Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia

Attn: Summer Internships

United Way Building, Second Floor

1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Philadelphia, PA 19103

 Interviews will be scheduled during the second and third weeks of March.

 

EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS SUMMER CORPS FELLOWSHIPS

   Last year, 373 students from Equal Justice Works member law schools earned education awards and gained legal experience at nonprofit organizations across the country. This year, you can do it, too! 

 Equal Justice Works is pleased to announce the launch of Summer Corps 2010. Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded program that in 2010 will provide 577 law students with the opportunity to earn a $1,000 education award voucher for dedicating their summer to a qualifying legal project at a nonprofit public interest organization. Ninety-nine percent of law students last year said they would recommend the program to other law students, and with a series of improvements and policy changes this year, Summer Corps will be even more successful in 2010.

 The application will be available on our website starting April 1, 2010. Program highlights and changes for 2010 include:

  • Course credit policy change: For the first time, Summer Corps members receiving course credit are eligible for the program. Visit the website for more details.
  • Summer Corps Standout awards and publicity: The Summer Corps Standout program launched in 2009 to recognize members for their innovative approach to meeting the needs of an underserved or marginalized person or community. Winners received an article promoting their service on our public interest blog (top 10 nationally among all law blogs) and website. They are also qualified as finalists to receive an Equal Justice Works Exemplary Public Service Award for a Student or Student Group. Scott Burrill (University of Iowa College of Law ’10) became the first Summer Corps member to win an Exemplary Public Service Award for a Student
  • Improved efficiency: The paperwork requirements have been drastically reduced to further improve the service experience. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is now available electronically and students are now able to apply the voucher soon after they finish their service.
  • Being part of the movement: National service is as important as ever and law students play an important role. Summer Corps members have consistently reported that their summer internships solidified their commitment to public interest law, while reigniting their passion for the legal profession. As a result, Summer Corps has become a launching pad for the next generation of public interest attorneys.

EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS SUMMER CORPS FELLOWSHIPS

 

 

Last year, 373 students from Equal Justice Works member law schools earned education awards and gained legal experience at nonprofit organizations across the country. This year, you can do it, too! 

 

Equal Justice Works is pleased to announce the launch of Summer Corps 2010. Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded program that in 2010 will provide 577 law students with the opportunity to earn a $1,000 education award voucher for dedicating their summer to a qualifying legal project at a nonprofit public interest organization. Ninety-nine percent of law students last year said they would recommend the program to other law students, and with a series of improvements and policy changes this year, Summer Corps will be even more successful in 2010.

 

The application will be available on our website starting April 1, 2010. Program highlights and changes for 2010 include:

  • Course credit policy change: For the first time, Summer Corps members receiving course credit are eligible for the program. Visit the website for more details.
  • Summer Corps Standout awards and publicity: The Summer Corps Standout program launched in 2009 to recognize members for their innovative approach to meeting the needs of an underserved or marginalized person or community. Winners received an article promoting their service on our public interest blog (top 10 nationally among all law blogs) and website. They are also qualified as finalists to receive an Equal Justice Works Exemplary Public Service Award for a Student or Student Group. Scott Burrill (University of Iowa College of Law ’10) became the first Summer Corps member to win an Exemplary Public Service Award for a Student
  • Improved efficiency: The paperwork requirements have been drastically reduced to further improve the service experience. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is now available electronically and students are now able to apply the voucher soon after they finish their service.
  • Being part of the movement: National service is as important as ever and law students play an important role. Summer Corps members have consistently reported that their summer internships solidified their commitment to public interest law, while reigniting their passion for the legal profession. As a result, Summer Corps has become a launching pad for the next generation of public interest attorneys.

Revised 09/28/2011 | Copyright 2011 | Site by UMC