By David HelfandQ: Hello, I am a recent law school graduate, but I no longer want to practice law. I have been applying to job postings in several different fields (publishing, editing, academic, research, etc.) and I am getting nowhere. Can you give me some advice as to what fields someone with a law degree and a B.A. in philosophy can get into-or at least have gotten into? I feel like the J.D. is scaring people away rather than showing them that I am a capable person. Thank you.
A: A degree cannot show potential employers that youre a capable person, only you can do that. Therefore, my first question is how are you currently marketing yourself? Do you have a separately prepared resume for each of the target job areas mentioned above? I would recommend a different resume for each of the 3 areas youve mentioned; editing/publishing, academic, and research where you emphasize the skill sets most desired in each area and your related experience.
Next, what are you doing with the resume you have merely applying to job postings is not enough. You want to spend most your time getting face to face with professionals in the fields youre interested in through an effective networking approach. Better to be able to leave your resume, whenever possible, like a calling card after a personal meeting than sending to job postings. Since networking is said to be 75% effective then why not spend 75 % of your job search time with this approach and use the remaining 25 % looking at ads in the newspaper and internet sites (yes, people still get jobs this way) and other job search approaches (i.e. employment agencies, placement offices).
As far as advice concerning what fields someone with a law degree can pursue, I dont believe I could do any better than pointing you in the direction of three fellow panel members, each of whom has written books on this very topic.
The Lawyers Career Change Handbook
What Can You Do With a Law Degree?
Alternative Careers for Lawyers
To aid you in this process perhaps seek the assistance of a career counselor, particularly one who specializes in working with lawyers. You can start that process by contacting any of the three panel members/authors listed above. This could prove tobe most beneficial in your career planning and job searching efforts.