Relocating: The Long-Distance Job Search
Conducting a long-distance job search will differ based on your experience, your desired location, your connections to the area, and your career goals. As you think about different areas, consider targeting a few cities rather than many, which will help you focus your time and yield better results.
There are surprising similiarities among opportunities across major cities, both in the private and public sector. Some initial research will help you identify these opportunities, for example if you are interested in local government work, an internet search of "city government" and "Chicago" will bring you to an official city website. From here, you can link to local government agencies, many containing detailed job opportunity information. The website PSJD, formerly PSLawNet, also includes public interest and government positions, as well as information about alternate funding sources.
As you research opportunities in other cities, reach out to alumni of both YLS and your undergraduate school to inquire about the local legal market and any advice they may be able to share. Yale Law School has over 12,000 alumni working in virtually every corner of the globe. When deciding where to work, be sure to tap into these alumni for information, through YLS Career Connections, Yale University Career Network, and Martindale Hubbell.
When reaching out to fellow alumni or others for career advice, the conventional starting point is to send an email stating your request, and asking whether there is a convenient time for the two of you to talk. If you have been referred to the person from a mutual acquaintance, be sure to mention that. Reassure your contacts that you are NOT seeking a job interview, only an opportunity to discuss your career ideas and obtain some professional feedback. For example, when sending an email to a member of YLS Career Connections, you may wish to say something like:
“I am a 2005 graduate of Yale Law School, and I am planning to relocate from New York to Los Angeles in the next year. I found your profile on YLS Career Connections, and notice that you made a similar move cross country several years ago with great success. I would be grateful for the opportunity to speak with you about your experience making this transition and thoughts you may have on the legal market in Los Angeles. Please let me know if there is a convenient time for us to talk. Thanks in advance for your help.”
It is a good idea to arrange for a trip to the area you are targeting and arrange in person meetings and/or interviews while you are there. During the meeting, be prepared with research on the subject you plan to discuss and some questions. Limit your discussion to 20 to 30 minutes, unless the attorney expresses an interest in extending the discussion. Attempt to get the names of two or three people for further networking. At the meeting and in a subsequent email or letter, express your appreciation to the individual for taking the time to meet with you. Keep the people in your network periodically updated about your career. Alumni are encouraged to review the tips on conducting an informational interview.
Employers will want to gauge your interest for working in that city long-term. The easiest way to show this dedication is through established geographical ties. Below are a few suggested ways you can better demonstrate that connection:
If possible, list a local address on your resume.
Sit for the bar exam in the location you wish to relocate. If you are admitted to the bar in that state, or once you are registered to take it, add this information to your resume.
Clearly indicate in your cover letter your connection and\or interest in the area.
Visit the city and contact YLS alumni, or alumni of your undergraduate school, to set up informational interviews.
Join the State and Local Bar Associations and list these professional associations on your resume.