“You can do anything with a law degree.” As a 20-something with a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising/Public Relations, I was convinced that a law school education would help me to do whatever I chose, in any industry I chose. I explained this to everyone who questioned my decision to take out a six-figure loan and give up all sanity for the next three years. It wasn’t until after graduation that I discovered taking an unconventional path can hurt you. And it did.
Prior to law school I always knew that the communications industry was my passion. So you can imagine my frustration after law school when I applied for job after job in the advertising/marketing world, only to be told that I was either over- or under-qualified. I needed to prove myself –but how?
Throughout my experience facing the rejection of a very competitive industry, I inadvertently discovered the significance of one’s professional image. I needed to demonstrate that I was the right “brand” for potential employers. It was through this realization that I landed an amazing opportunity to intern at Tag Strategies. Here are the five most helpful tips that I’ve learned for rebranding your most important product: yourself.
Focus on your abilities – not on what you lack.
It’s important to remember that just because you have yet to hold a specific title, it doesn’t mean you lack the experience or skills necessary to do the job. Use examples from your experience to emphasize your strengths and skills in both your cover letter and resume.
Try a functional resume format.
If you’re unclear as to what a traditional resume looks like, chances are you’re using one. If your education and experience are not directly related to what you’re pursuing, a functional resume format, which focuses on skills, is helpful. Learn more here.
Network. Network. Network.
Despite being the most overused advice, networking remains one of, if not thee, single most important tools. While computers, rather than people, often process applications, there is no substitute for human interaction. So whether it’s your college alumni network or a friend of a friend, reach out to as many individuals as you can and listen to their advice.
Update your online presence.
Everything that makes its way to the internet is for public viewing. Not only should your social media accounts be considered work appropriate, but also industry appropriate. In the marketing world the importance of demonstrating my creativity and organizational skills was often vocalized to me by potential employers. By creating a personal website I was able to prove my abilities in a clear and concise manner. Sharing industry-related articles on your personal accounts is also helpful where appropriate. Ask yourself this: What would you want to see if you were hiring for the job you desire? All of this helps to shape your brand.
Always remember: persistence is key.
Successfully transitioning to the job you want may not happen overnight. In fact I can almost guarantee that it won’t. But it will happen so long as you keep your chin up, stay positive, and appropriately brand yourself for the position. With persistence, I’ve learned that I can, in fact, do anything with a law degree. And you can do anything with what you’ve got too.