What I did on my summer vacation – or How do I update my Elevator Speech?
By Professor Kevin Hull
In the Spring 2017 Decisive Utterance, I provided suggestions to each cohort of students as to what you could do over the summer to help prepare you for your job search following graduation.
Whether you clerked at a law firm, interned in a government agency, took classes, or just sat at the beach, returning to classes for Fall Semester should find you thinking about how to update your Elevator Speech.
Past columns walk you through the importance of having a quick, compelling narrative of who you are to capture your audience’s attention and allow them to answer the crucible question: why should I care?
Why should someone care about you? What is it about you that they should regard?
I helped create the Student-Alumni Exchange to give students — especially 1Ls — the opportunity to practice their Elevator Speech on a relatively safe and friendly audience: Alumni. Your Alumni Association is a wealth of resource for you as you matriculate through JMLS, from possible mentors to potential employers. Further, Alumni have navigated the very waters you find yourself in, providing you the chance to understand their decision-making process through their time at JMLS and beyond.
So, what did you do this summer that helps inform where you are going next? I coach my LS IV students on how to look at their career development in terms of a field of lily-pads, where you hop from pad to pad as you move towards a particular area of the pond. Your direction is shaped by your desire to work in a particular type of office (government or private firm? city or suburbs? ten attorneys or one hundred?) and particular type of law (transactional or litigation or policy?).
I feel your audience in any networking conversation will be most compelled when they hear about what you are passionate about. For me, my career development is best depicted by the three core ‘buckets.’ I dedicate myself to pursuing: advocacy for healthcare for our nation’s military, veterans, and their families. Every decision I make as to what I devote my time, talent, and treasure towards must first go through scrutiny as to whether it fits within this construct. Such an approach provides clarity in a life where priorities are constantly being challenged.
I’m eager to welcome my next cohort of students, to guide them through the basics of the legislative process, and to coach them on their career development. You just completed a summer that I trust was filled with enriching experiences for life and learning. Take the time to invest in your career by ensuring your narrative is as compelling as it needs to be to answer that critical question: why should I care?
Send me your resume and draft of your Elevator Speech and we’ll sit over coffee to set your strategy for Fall 2017 and beyond.