INSTITUTE FOR PARALEGAL STUDIES LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO. RESOURCES FOR THE PARALEGAL JOB SEARCH (revised 10/11)

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1 INSTITUTE FOR PARALEGAL STUDIES LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO RESOURCES FOR THE PARALEGAL JOB SEARCH (revised 10/11) As the computer age has progressed and matured, the job search process has evolved as well. Today, your job search efforts are made easier and quicker than ever thanks to the availability of information on the internet. Many of the resources listed below are conveniently accessible in both hard copy (paper) and electronic (internet) form, and although we encourage you to use the form with which you are the most comfortable, we suggest that you will probably find the electronic job searches to be the most time efficient. Keep in mind that your job search should include two approaches: (1) locating and pursuing actual job opportunities posted or advertised publicly, and (2) identifying and developing possible job opportunities with employers that interest you. Students find employment through a wide variety of methods. Maximize your opportunities by expanding your efforts. and Phone Etiquette More and more employers are asking that you submit your cover letter and resume by . It is key for you to make a good impression with this initial contact. It is their first impression of you. Your cover letter should be the body of the . It should be professional and error free. Your resume should be attached with a file name that will make it easy for the employer to retrieve it later, for example, JoeSmithResume.pdf. See the sample below:

2 In addition, employers are doing initial interviews over the phone. Do not assume that the purpose of the first phone call is merely to set up an interview. It is likely they are also pre-screening you for the job. If you see a call coming in from a number that you do not know, consider where you are when you answer the phone. Are you on a noisy bus or a train? Are you walking down a busy city street? Are your children playing loudly nearby? It is often best to let unknown numbers go to a professional voic message that can be retrieved later after you are in a quiet area where you can take notes. Facebook, Linkedin, and other Social Media sites Since September, 2001 employers in general have been completing on their own and paying for thorough background checks on prospective employees. Often these background checks involve an internet search of your name. For this reason we suggest that you check any social media sites that you may have participated in to verify that the information you have out there is professional in nature. References and Letters of Recommendation 1. Paralegal School Students may use the program's placement services at any point during the program. The Introduction to Paralegal Studies course includes a review of resumes and discussion of other careerrelated topics. After that class, you may contact the Institute office for individual assistance, including critiquing of your resume, planning your job search, and preparing for interviews. We usually have a general interviewing seminar scheduled early in January, and recently we started arranging mock interviews for graduating students and alumni. Second, we will distribute your resume to employers who have requested resumes directly from the Institute. Please an electronic copy of your resume to You may note your job preferences in the body of your (i.e., small firm, personal injury, southwest suburbs, etc.). Note that if you are too specific about your job search preferences, a fewer number of available positions will be appropriate for you. Please understand that we are not able to inform you each time we send out your resume. If you have given us your resume, you should be prepared to receive calls from employers at any time; make sure your voice mail or answering machine message is professional. We receive requests for resumes from employers who have received mailings from the school, found us online, noted our advertising, or heard of the program from other sources. This service is free to the employer, who also has the benefit of confirming the student's completion of the paralegal program. Third, the program maintains an online Job Board on the Employment Assistance page of the Institute s website. Go to to find these pages. Unless the employer requests otherwise (very rarely), all the resume requests are posted as an opening on the Job Board. You should reply to any and all postings that interest you, following the instructions for contacting the employer. Please do not be concerned that your reply to a posted opening may duplicate our forwarding of your resume at the time the employer contacted us. Employers know this may happen. 2

3 Finally, Loyola's general placement office occasionally receives notices of paralegal or law-related job openings. You can access Loyola s Career Development Center online at That office has a plethora of general information for current students and alumni on career planning and job searching techniques. In addition, you can register with Loyola s erecruiting system where you can view job opportunities online, as well as post your own resume and cover letter to the system. Incidentally, if you graduated from another school, you usually have access to that school's placement services too. Contact the alumni office or career center at your undergraduate university to ask about employment assistance for alumni. 2. Classified Ads (online and hard copy) Because most local law firms are aware of the free resume service provided by paralegal schools, entry-level paralegal jobs are not often advertised in the newspapers. Experienced positions, however, are commonly advertised, as are numerous other jobs (entry-level and experienced) not titled "paralegal" or "legal assistant" but nevertheless suitable for a person with paralegal training. The following are examples of typical categories worth your attention in the Jobs section of the Chicago Tribune: Accounting/Litigation Manager, Activist, Administrative/Legal, Banking, Computer/Information Systems, Contract Administration, Environmental, Financial, Human Resources, Insurance, Legal, Librarian Assistant/Law, Personnel, Paralegal, Real Estate. If you have any work experience in another area, be sure to check the listings under that occupational title too. Also, there is a website at that pulls listings from multiple sources (Monster, Career Builder, HotJobs, Job Central, USAjobs.gov, and legal job recruiters). Indeed is a search engine for jobs, allowing job seekers to find jobs posted on thousands of company career sites and job boards with one search. Indeed does not accept payment to include jobs in their search engine or to improve their ranking, so jobs are listed solely by relevance or date. The local legal newspaper is the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, published daily Monday through Friday. It is delivered late each weekday afternoon in the downtown area to law firms and some newsstands. The Institute has a subscription and copies of the most recent issues available for student use. The classified ads for the Law Bulletin are also available through their online Legal Career Center at The paralegal job listings in the Law Bulletin are almost exclusively for experienced positions. This newspaper also frequently prints ads from Chicago paralegal temporary services (Spherion, etc.). 3

4 The Law Bulletin also publishes a special supplement, called the Legal Employment Weekly. Subscriptions to the Legal Employment Weekly are free, and may be accessed online through the Law Bulletin s Legal Career Center by clicking on the Legal Employment Weekly button. New LEWs come out on Monday afternoons. 3. Paralegal Association Listings Members of the Illinois Paralegal Association have online access to Employment Opportunities, which are also published in the monthly e-newsletter, The Lookout. Go to for information on this and other membership benefits. Again, most of these job opportunities are for experienced paralegal positions, but if you have some of the skills (e.g., computer proficiency, technical or science background, health care or insurance expertise), it might be worthwhile to apply. An additional IPA member benefit is that you can apply for a paralegal Mentor. The volunteer Mentor is typically a senior paralegal with five or more years experience in your practice area of law. Once you obtain your first paralegal job, the Mentor will be assigned to you for a three-month period. IPA members may apply to be assigned a Mentor through the IPA website. 4. Government Job Listings Government jobs are occasionally advertised, but more often posted these days on web sites. Popular government job websites include and There is no charge to use these sites; be careful of non-government sites of private businesses that charge people to help them find government employment. When searching for a government job, do not limit yourself solely to jobs listed as Paralegal Specialist. There are many government jobs that require applicants with a legal background, such as Contract Specialist, Safety Occupational Health Specialist, Contract Representative, Examination Specialist, Consumer Safety Specialist, etc. You can also visit the relevant personnel office (e.g., Dirksen Federal Building, Cook County Building, State of Illinois Building, the local city or municipal hall) or search for job openings online from the Clerk s webpage. Addresses can be found online, in the phone book, or in a government directory. Again, suitable jobs may not be specifically labeled as paralegal or legal assistant positions (i.e. Courtroom Deputy). Courthouses may post openings too. 5. Personal Contacts/Networking Contact everyone you know who might be aware of job openings: relatives, family friends, college friends, former co-workers, members of your social club, alumni association or church group, sorority or fraternity, etc. Tell them you have just completed your studies and ask if you can give them your resume in case they hear of any suitable opportunities. 4

5 Widen your range of contacts. Join a professional association and attend its meetings and seminars. You should certainly consider joining the Illinois Paralegal Association (membership applications available online at Other possibilities are men's and women's business associations, not to mention the wide variety of political and social issue groups. Also, once a year, usually in May, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin has a Legal Career Day where you can meet with recruiting firms and prospective employers face to face. The career day is usually an all afternoon event and is free for jobseekers to attend. Check out the Law Bulletin website in the early spring months each year for specific information. 6. Targeted Mailings Targeted mailings are generally a more effective method than telephone calls to inquire about possible job openings. The appearance of your cover letter and resume is especially important, as they convey the first impression of your qualifications to the reader. Compile listings of appropriate job sources from the directories listed below. It is always best to call a company or law firm to ask for the name and title of the person in charge of hiring. The next best approach is to address your letter to the Paralegal Coordinator or Managing Partner in a law firm, or the Director of Human Resources or General Counsel in the Law Department in a corporation. Follow up your letter with a phone call asking if your resume has been received and if you are qualified for any openings. Directories of Attorneys: 1. Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory This directory lists attorneys admitted to practice in each state. The most useful section to job seekers is likely to be the biographical directory of lawyers and law firms, which includes brief descriptions of the law firm's areas of practice as well as biographical information on the firm's attorneys (and sometimes paralegals). The business purpose for publishing this information is to encourage referrals between attorneys. Law firms must pay for the entries in the biographical section. Consequently, not all law firms are in fact listed, although the largest and best-known certainly can be found there. Most of the Martindale information is also online at This publication is currently owned by Lexis / Nexis although you do not need to have a Lexis ID in order to perform a search. You can perform an advanced search for prospective employers by name, law firm, areas of practice, languages spoken and law school attended, among other options. 2. Sullivan's Law Directory Usually available in any law library, most law offices, and many public libraries. We have several recent hard copy editions in the Institute office. The law library's copy must be requested at the circulation desk. 5

6 The Sullivan s Law Directory is, unfortunately, not available online. The single-volume hard copy directory lists all Illinois attorneys who submit an entry, without charge to the attorney. Sometimes information is provided on the area of law practiced, but firms are listed as well as individual attorneys, allowing you to compile a listing of appropriate firms for your mailing. The Cook County attorneys are listed first, in alphabetical order. This is followed by a listing of attorneys in other counties (including Lake, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, etc.), organized by city or town. A biographical section, on blue pages, is provided for some of the non-cook county attorneys. The next section is a listing of attorneys by the names of their non-law firm employers: corporations, banks, trust companies, railroads, associations. Some entries list the specialty groups within the legal department. Finally, government officials are listed: federal, state, county, city (Chicago), and court officials. Other states have similar types of legal directories; telephone a reference librarian at the local county library to ask how to locate it. Useful Links: Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory... Chicago Daily Law Bulletin... Illinois Paralegal Association (IPA)... American Bar Association -- Legal Assistants... National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)... National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)... Legal Assistant Today... Findlaw Career Center... Monster Job Board... Chicago Tribune Career Section... 6

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