Coach's Playbook- Job Search Tip No. 1: 'Stop applying for everything . . .'

By Elizabth Jolliffe

Your Benchmark Coach

She was mad. She had been rejected for a job as an associate that she didn't want, doing work she knew she wouldn't like and probably getting paid 40% less than her previous salary. She didn't understand why she hadn't received an offer after her interview at the firm. She was mad for weeks.

He was mad. He had been told during an interview that he was overqualified. It was a first year associate position doing work he knew he wouldn't like, for very little pay, in a work environment he would not otherwise choose, but he needed money. He was mad for a few weeks.

If these examples sound like you, or your job search strategy is to spend all of your time online applying to every law related job you find, and/or sending your resume to every law firm within 75 miles, stop and think for a minute. What is your ROI? What is the return on your time and efforts?

If all you are getting in return is mad, depressed, burned out, don't give up all hope. You don't have to start studying for another state's bar exam. There is a better way.

1. Stop Applying To Every Legal Job Posting You Find.

When you limit your efforts to jobs you actually want and for which you are a strong candidate, writing cover letters is easier. You will notice it immediately. Cover letters will no longer be the bane of your existence. You will know how your skills, experience or background fit the job description and the value you will bring to the employer. Your letter and application will be more persuasive. Your fit and desire will show more convincingly in an interview.

By being selective about the jobs you apply for, you are more likely to stand out and you will save time, money and energy.

Why set yourself up for depression or frustration from rejection or silence about positions for which you had no reason to stand out or jobs you didn't want? That can't be the best possible use of your time and resources.

Next time, Job Search Tip #2: If You Are Not Working, Start Working For Free.

Elizabeth Jolliffe is a certified career management and business development coach for lawyers.

She practiced for 19 years as a business litigator and partner at Clark Hill PLC in Detroit.

Jolliffe helps her clients build their practice and take charge of their career.

For more information, email

Published: Mon, Apr 11, 2011


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