The 1L Summer Job Search

The search for a 1L summer job is certainly an experience. For me, the process was long, stressful, and difficult. It’s not always like that, however, as some people find success quickly. For the most part, a lot of the summer job process is a total shot in the dark; some stuff sticks, some stuff doesn’t. There’s typically no rhyme or reason (well, that we can deduce) why your resume was picked for an interview and not your classmates’, and vice versa.

This process wasn’t easy for me, as I said, which is why I’m choosing to write about it for my first summer blog post. I spent many a day feeling embarrassed that I didn’t have a job when my friends and other classmates did. But here I am, on the other side of the process, and things absolutely worked out just fine. Just like all my friends, mentors, upperclassmen, and CDO advisers said it would. The following 4 tips are ones that I learned throughout the process and hope can help future 1Ls keep their sanity, keep their heads up, and understand that, again, everything works out!

  1. Cast your net wide

Almost everyone will tell you that where you work for your 1L summer really doesn’t matter: as long as you get some experience somewhere, and it gives you something to talk about in an interview down the line, it’s a fine job. So don’t go looking for the perfect job that aligns directly with what you want to do. Chances are it won’t exist for your level of qualifications! Instead, really cast your net wide and apply to everything and anything that’s even remotely interesting. Apply to NGOs, non-profits, Harvard clinics, in-house counsels, whatever strikes your fancy. While I tried to make sure that the positions I applied to had some international twist (in-house for international corporations, for example) I definitely applied to jobs that didn’t but still were interesting to me.

  1. At the same time, understand what you’re not interested in.

A popular 1L summer job is a judicial internship, where you intern for a judge. This process starts in December (during finals!) and most people hear back in January and February. It’s really easy to get swept into the momentum of seeing all your classmates jumping on the job search so early and thinking you need to do that as well. Here’s the thing: if you’re NOT interested, DON’T do it! I wasn’t interested in working for a judge as I want to focus more on policy and international law. Also, these internships are mostly unpaid and don’t qualify for PIP grants, which is something I couldn’t do financially. Don’t feel like you need to do what the rest of your classmates are doing and run your own race!

  1. Network, Network, Network

I got my summer job through a BU Law alum that I was connected to in the fall by a professor at the law school. This alum does exactly what I am interested in doing and we ended up talking throughout the year. She forwarded me a job post she had seen from a Fletcher School colleague and endorsed my application; I ended up being picked for an interview and then landed the job. The point of this is that Symplicity (BU Law’s internal job board) has tons of jobs and the majority of places I applied to were posted there, but the job I accepted was brought to me through independent networking. Never stop networking and looking for opportunities! Talk to upperclassmen, writing professors, alums, alums from your undergrad alma mater- anybody helps! Upperclassmen in particular can be a good resource as well, as they can point you to Professors looking for RAs and openings at their previous 1L summer jobs.

  1. Patience!

Patience is not a character trait I generally possess. I mean, true story: when I was little I was so determined to find my Christmas gifts before Christmas that my parents resorted to hiding them down the street in a neighbor’s house. So when it came to waiting to hear back from applications and interviews? It darn near killed me. I think I refreshed my email about 20 times an hour from the months of March-April. It’s especially not easy when all your classmates are getting job offers and you feel like you’re the only one hanging out to dry. I promise you’re not the only one, I promise people are still looking for (and then accepting jobs) even into finals week, and I promise jobs will still be posted on Symplicity even AFTER finals. And things will often happen all at once, when you least expect it, and usually towards the end of the semester. Don’t panic, understand that timelines given by employers will be (very) loose, and know that you can’t change anything by worrying!

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