Read 4 Tips for Effective Paralegal Job Hunting in a Tight Economy Get tips for paralegal job searches, including temp agencies and more.
Finding Paralegal Jobs
Whether you’re fresh out of paralegal school or are a seasoned professional, finding the right job can be a challenge.
But there are plenty of paralegal jobs—if you know how to find them. Here are four tips for finding paralegal jobs in your area.
Legal Temp Agencies
1. Contact temp agencies in your city that specialize in legal work.
You’ll start by sending in your resume, but expect to go in for a personal interview and to take various tests to evaluate your typing, database, and writing skills. Especially for recent paralegal school graduates, temp agencies are a good way to find an entry-level paralegal job.
2. Get a list of the law firms in your city and browse their websites.
Law firms might not post job listings on Monster.com or in the local newspaper. This preliminary research will help you target the kind of company you want to work for: perhaps you want the excitement of working for a larger firm or the close-knit environment of a small or medium law firm. Your online research will identify the firms that specialize in the areas of law that interest you.
3. Contact top law firms and companies directly.
Whether you talk to a secretary or to a paralegal willing to grant you an informational interview, this is a great way to get your foot in the door, or at least get some valuable information. Informational interviews can teach you about the paralegal industry in general or the kind of paralegal jobs that might open up in the future at any particular company or law firm.
When conducting an informational interview, remember that people are giving their time to you, so be professional, efficient, and courteous, and have your questions ready. Consider asking questions like the following about paralegal jobs:
- What kinds of paralegal jobs are most common at the firm?
- What paralegal education or experience is required to get the paralegal jobs that interest you?
- How can you get work experience if you’ve just finished paralegal school?
- What certification is most important at the firm, if any?
- What is the work environment like? Is there a lot of overtime? Does the firm pay overtime or give bonuses?
- What kind of people typically succeed in these paralegal jobs?
When you’re done with your informational interview, thank the interviewee and make sure to follow up with a more formal thank-you note.
4. Find volunteer work that will give you the experience you need to find full time paralegal jobs.
You may have to “pound the pavement”—make cold calls, mail your resume to all the law firms in your town, and follow up with phone calls, and while you may start by doing work that isn’t very exciting, any legal work experience that you can put on your resume will be beneficial. And once you get a paralegal degree or certificate and have some experience, you might just start noticing that more paralegal jobs start opening up.