Managing your job search in a down economy

Published: February 2nd, 2009

Category: News

In this economy, the stark reality is that students are going to have to change their search strategies to find employment.

Career Services brought legal recruiting consultant Ann Skalaski to speak on Wednesday about how to manage job searches in this economy. Skalaski served as the assistant dean for career services at UF Law from 1991-1996 before starting her own company.

“You really have to adopt a new perspective,” Skalaski said. “The market is what it is; you need to understand what it is. You need to be prepared to work harder.”

Skalaski stressed a few essentials to help students in their job searches.

Students need to go into a job search with a positive attitude, Skalaski said.

“Your attitude is probably the most important thing when it comes to job searching,” she said. “I guess that’s the career counselor coming out in me or maybe the mom.”

Your attitude is also the only thing you can control about your job search, Skalaski said.

“Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it,” she argued.

“That means the current economy can only impact your job search by 10 percent if you do the rest.”

The right attitude starts in law school, Skalaski said. In addition to being positive, students need to look at their careers as a long-term plan, she said.

She advised against worrying about salaries or perks early in job searches, but instead to focus on what interests each particular student.

“I promise you, if you pursue the area of law that you are passionate about you really want to do, you will be successful,” she said. “The ideal job is one that positions you for the upturn to do what you want to do.”

In order to make a long-term career plan, Skalaski said students have to figure out how they’d like to use their law degrees. It is impossible to have an effective strategy if the student does not know what he or she would like to do.

Skalaski advised against mass mailings in this economy and instead advised students to try to develop more personal relationships through networking.

“Networking really is the best way to get a job,” she said. “It’s the most important activity you can engage in. There are countless studies out there that say 80 percent of jobs come from networking.” Skalaski repeatedly stressed networking as a means to get a job in this market. She also suggested earning an L.L.M. if that interests the student as a way to not enter the job market until it improves.

“The winning approach to all this is you have to just accept that the market has changed,” Skalaski said. “You can’t do anything about it; you just have to accept it and move on.

Develop a long-term view of your career. Work with the people in Career Services because they really, really want to help you. Take ownership of your job search and invest in relationships.”