Interviewing mistakes, love and law school, going solo.
Gen Y? Watch out for these common interviewing mistakes
If you’re member of Gen Y—born between 1981 and 2000—and are sharpening your job search skills, you might want to take heed of these tips from Jenna Goudreau at Forbes.com. (Nontraditional students, don’t feel too smug: Are you sure you’re not committing any of these offenses, too?)
In a post called “Top 5 Interview Mistakes Millennials Make,” Goudreau sums up a recent survey from recruiting firm Adecco. Here are the top five interviewing no-no’s hiring managers saw among Gen Y/millennials:
- Wearing inappropriate interview attire. This was Gen Y’s top interviewing mistake, according to 75 percent of hiring managers surveyed. In general, err on the side of being overdressed, and don’t wear flashy jewelry, T-shirts, too-short hemlines, or anything else that will distract the interviewer—or you.
- Posting questionable social media content. An overwhelming 70 percent of hiring managers say millennials make this mistake. Tempting as it is, just don’t post things like inappropriate or explicit photos or overly personal information. Oh, and watch your grammar and spelling—46 percent of hiring managers believe Gen Y needs to brush up on its writing skills.
- Not doing much research. Hiring managers are generally skeptical regarding Gen Y’s research skills, and 62 percent say millennials decrease their chances of being hired by showing they haven’t looked into the firm or what the position entails.
- Not asking enough questions. Don’t ask yet about things like salary, benefits, and hours, but in a first interview, do make sure to ask smart questions about the position and how it fits into the firm as a whole. (Seventy-five percent of hiring managers say millennials don’t ask enough of these types of questions.)
- Being overconfident. Sure, you want to appear confident—but Gen Y can also come across as too cocky, according to 57 percent of hiring managers. One way to combat this is to focus not strictly on your own accomplishments and credentials, but on how you could apply what you’ve learned for the firm’s benefit.
Love and law school: Setting expectations as a couple
If you have a significant other, and he or she is not in law school, here’s a post you might want to leave open for him or her to “accidentally” find: “Supporting Your Law Student” at thestudentappeal.com.
In the post, Sarah Eli Mattern offers tips on how to negotiate and maintain reasonable expectations when it comes to everything from housework to free time to, er, “romance.”
In general, she writes, the non-law student partner may need to step in and handle some additional chores when possible. Cooking is one of the big ones, Mattern believes. As a 1L, she recalls, even heating a frozen pizza was a challenge.
Likewise, “date night” should not require the law student to make complicated plans, she says; a simple dinner and movie is a good distraction from studying, without requiring much thinking in advance.
But it’s not all about coddling the law student, Mattern writes; during such an intense time, it’s very helpful for the non-law student partner to have a good support network and a busy roster of his or her own activities.
Each couple will reach a different understanding of how to get through law school with the relationship intact, Mattern says; the important thing is to talk about your expectations “[b]efore you get to the point where you’re bubbling like a shaken soda.”
Contemplating solo practice? Here’s something you can do now
If you’re thinking of starting your own practice and you’re currently a 3L, blogger and newly minted solo lawyer “TDot” (T. Greg Doucette) has a tip for you: Ask in your financial aid office about a US Department of Education program that allows you to buy a computer and related accessories—and then use it to get a high-end laptop.
The Department of Education allows students an increase in financial aid once as an undergraduate and once as a graduate/professional student solely for this type of purchase, he explains, adding that if you do this as a 3L, and if you buy well, the laptop should last you through your first few years of practice.
This does mean you’ll end up taking out more in student loans, Doucette concedes, but as a new solo lawyer, you’ll need to conserve your cash, and the terms of your student loan are likely much better than if you put a laptop on your credit card, he believes.
For more tips on setting up a solo law office, read Doucette’s post, “Bootstrapping your first law office,” at lawdevnull.com.