Sept. 15, 2014 | Volume XXII, Issue 5

Career Services

Published: October 16th, 2006

Category: Students

Professionalism during the Callback & Offer Process

It is critical to remain professional and respectful of the legal employers and your classmates during the callback and offer stage of the recruitment process. You do not want to be perceived as having wasted legal employers time and resources without a legitimate reason. To hoard callbacks and hold open multiple offers will not ultimately benefit your reputation in the legal community. Recruiters do talk. Please remember that when you release an offer, it may well be extended to one of your UF Law classmates. Therefore, it is not only unfair but also discourteous to hold offers open that you do not intend to accept.

Timing of Accepting Offers

Student and employer expectations and obligations are listed in the NALP Standards for the Timing of Offers & Decision available at www.nalp.org. For those students who received an offer from their summer employer before Sept. 15, Nov. 1 is the deadline for students to accept or decline the offer of employment. With the permission of the employer, a student with an offer deadline of Nov. 1 who is holding only one other offer may extend to Dec. 1. All other offers must be accepted by or preferably before Dec. 1. Additionally, it is important to advise prospective employers if you are competing for a fellowships or judicial clerkships with late hiring decisions. If you are holding an offer(s), it is to your professional benefit to:

• Make timely decisions.

• Promptly and graciously decline callbacks or offers from firms you are no longer seriously considering.

• Maintain contact with the firm to keep them apprised of your status and to reaffirm your continued interest.

Accepting the Offer

Please remember that accepting an offer from an employer represents a serious commitment. It is highly recommended that you carefully consider an offer before accepting and that you fully intend to honor the commitment once you have made your decision. A Career Services professional counselor can help you assess your options to determine the best fit for you. Rescinding your summer or permanent job acceptance is unprofessional conduct that may impair your reputation in the legal community. If your circumstances change and you are weighing whether to back out of your decision, please talk to Career Services BEFORE calling the employer. UF Law must maintain a solid working relationship with all legal employers and we want to help you do what is in the best interest of your professional career and reputation.

Drafting Powerful Cover Letters

Writing an effective cover letter can seem like the hardest part of your job search. It is worth spending a lot of time on your letters, however, as many employers view them as the most important part of your search.

Network & Research

• As with other aspects of your job search, networking plays a pivotal role in letter writing.

• Extra time spent networking and learning about an employer can really pay off.

• Finding contacts to whom you can address your letters is the essential first step to writing a good letter.

• At the very least, target fellow UF alumni or your fellow undergrad alumni.

• Try to set up your connections so that you not only can address each letter to a person with whom you share some commonality, but so that you can start your letter with “Mr./Ms. X suggested that I contact you.”

• Target your mailings based upon your networking and research. MASS MAILINGS DON’T WORK. Ten targeted letters are better than 100 form letters.

Tone

• Entice your audience. Keep them reading.

• Everything in your letters needs to be relevant, but not boring.

• Maintain a tone that explains to an employer what you can do for them, not what a position with them will do for your career.

• Convince the employer that they need to see you for an interview. Keep enticing them with your relevant skills that fit their needs.

• Be enthusiastic and alive.

• Be confident but not arrogant.

• Don’t be too cute, informal or presumptuous.

Basics

• Be sure that your cover letter is printed on the same paper as your resume.

• Write to a named individual, not to “Hiring Partner” or any other generic term. This is where networking really pays off.

• Edit, edit, edit. Have a friend edit. Have Career Services edit. Read it out loud. Edit it again to ensure that it is flawless.

First Paragraph

• A cover letter should start with the connection you have to the addressee.

• Tell the addressee why you are contacting them.

• Introduce yourself, including your law school, your anticipated date of graduation, and the position for which you are applying.

Middle Paragraph(s)

• Sell yourself!

• Explain why the employer should want to meet and hire you.

• Go through your background and consider what the employer needs. Match your experiences and skills with their needs.

• Use the word BECAUSE and give them EVIDENCE about how you match. Make the connection between your experiences and skills and the skills needed for the position.

• Explain how specific experiences transfer into specific skills. Don’t just tell them what you did, but why what you did is useful to them.

• Give proof for everything you say you are good at.

• Show your research about the firm/employer.

• Express your interest or connection in the city the employer is located. Show your ties.

• Do not just repeat your resume.

Last Paragraph

• Close by making a specific request for an interview.

• Explain how you plan to follow up.

• Re-express your interest in the employer.

• It is not necessary to give them your contact information that can already be found in your letter head and on your resume.

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