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Friday, October 16, 2009

Thank You Notes

Our office receives many questions about sending thank you notes after an interview. Is it always necessary to send one? Can it be sent via email? What do you say? As a general rule, you should always send a thank you note within 24 hours of an interview.

What To Send
Use a nice, conservative, blank card found in most stationery stores (see an example here.) A handwritten note is ideal, however, if your handwriting is truly indecipherable, a printed card is fine. Sending an actual thank you card is best, but email is fine if you are short on time.

Who To Send It To
Send a thank you to everyone you met with. If you interviewed with a panel of attorneys, send a note to each panelist. You should receive a business card from each of your interviewers for this purpose. If you don't have a business card and have forgotten the names of your interviewers you can do one of three things:
1. If the interview was on-campus or through a job fair, contact the Career Services Office for the interviewers' names.
2. Look at the attorney profiles on the firm's website in hopes that the names/faces will jog your memory.
3. Call the firm and ask the receptionist. It is better to call and ask than to not send a thank you note at all!

What To Say
Use your note to thank the interviewer for their time and reiterating your interest in the position. Also refer to at least one thing the interviewer said about the organization that was of particular interest to you. You can personalize your note further by talking about any mutual interests you may have.

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me regarding the[position name] position with [firm/organization name].
I was extremely impressed by your description of the firm’s family law practice and enjoyed our conversation concerning spouse abuse in conjunction with child custody. Having met with you, I am even more enthusiastic about joining [firm/organization name] as a [position name].

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!
Don't lose out on an opportunity because you have spelled the interviewer's name wrong! Your thank you note is another example of your writing skills. Double check your note for grammar, spelling, and typos as you would for anything else you are sending to a potential employer.

For further reading:
Thank You Letters, Career Services Office Handbook

Walton, Kimm Alayne. "Interviewing: The Secrets That Turn Interviews Into Offers." Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams. Harcourt Brace. 1995 (Available in the CSO.)

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with the Stress Caused by Joblessness, Layoff (or the Prospect of Either)

Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) has posted a four-part series on their blog on how to deal with stress caused by job loss. The series covers three helpful steps towards coping with stress: shifting one's perception, using time to your advantage, and accepting help, giving help.

LCL is the sole lawyer assistance program in Massachusetts exclusively dedicated to helping with the many personal and professional issues of life in the law. Since 1978, they have been the only confidential counseling and referral resource for Massachusetts law students, lawyers and judges and their families.

Currently, the organization has created a Layoff Support Group which meets twice monthly at LCL and has speakers on a host of career development topics which range from networking and refining your resume, to putting together a career development plan and improving your marketability. Like everything else at LCL, it’s free and confidential.

For further reading:
Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with Stress in the Wake, or in Fear, of Job Loss (4-Part Series)

Lawyer Assistance Programs Outside of Massachusetts

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