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Tweet, tweet! Using Twitter to build career connections now

If you’re just starting law school, maybe you think of Twitter as a time-wasting vice you’ll have to give up in favor of more study time.

Think again, advises Jason M. Tenenbaum, a 2L at Hofstra University School of Law. The social media platform has been instrumental in helping him plan his career and make contacts, Tenenbaum says.

In a post called “Using Twitter to Grow My Network” on the Beyond Hearsay blog, Tenenbaum says he sets aside about an hour a day to keep up with his account, noting that the benefits for him have far outweighed the cost.

Some of these benefits have included career advice, offers to look over his résumé and cover letter, and assistance in helping him create his personal brand. Twitter has also helped him find opportunities that he can then put on his résumé, such as contributing to articles for publications, helping with bluebooking, and assisting with researching and writing law review articles. Want to get started? Here are some tips:

Start with a simple question, such as “Law student interested in [x area of law], any ideas for blogs to read?”

Don’t be afraid to show your personality and talk about your interests other than law, such as sports or current events.

Take it offline, too—invite the Twitter friends in your area to meet you for coffee or lunch now and then.

Simple steps to reduce your stress

Here’s a piece of advice that can be very difficult to act on: To be an effective law student, you have to learn to manage stress.

Sure, the demands on your mind and your time are high, but if you’re always in overdrive, you’ll (temporarily) lose some important brain function. That’s according to a post on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network called “Is the Life You’re Living Worth the Price You’re Paying to Live It?”

Spend too much time stressed out, writes Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project, and your prefrontal cortex will begin to shut down. That’s the part of the brain that allows you to think analytically and imaginatively, to consider nuances, and to look at the long-term perspective—you know, the kind of thinking that law school requires.

What’s the simplest way to decrease your stress? “Our most fundamental physical needs, beyond food, are to move and to rest,” Schwartz writes. Get adequate sleep—yes, between seven and eight hours a night for most people—and take short breaks at least every 90 minutes. Breathing deeply for just one full minute can completely clear the body of the stress hormone cortisol, Schwartz says.

As for movement, if you can’t always work out as often as you should, Schwartz says you can gain some benefit by at least doing something. Get up and move several times during the day, he advises—or better yet, go outside.

Beyond OCI: How to find a summer associate job

Yes, it’s fall, but it’s never too early to start thinking about summer. Resume Launchpad offers 10 tips in a post called “What Law Students Need to Know About Law Firm Jobs (it’s not just networking!).” Here are a few of the tips (Note: The website is a for-profit job application service, but the post itself is free from any plugs.):

Don’t rely exclusively on OCI. It’s true that many law students get jobs through on-campus interviews, but at many schools, only the top quarter or higher are allowed to participate—and many of those who do interview still don’t get jobs. By all means, give OCI your best effort, but realize that it’s not a sure shot.

Engage your local bar association. Your local bar association is a great place to meet well-connected lawyers in your area. To make the most of it, don’t just go to a few events; instead, contact the committee chairs involved and offer to help. You might be asked to do some research or help prepare a presentation, which will give you a chance to showcase your work.

Think of career services as a job interview. Law school career services counselors often have good connections to firms in your area—but to tap into these connections, you need to stand out from your peers. When you visit career services, take it as seriously as you would a job interview, and have your application materials polished and ready.

Vol. 40 No. 1

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.

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