Print/PDF this page:

Print Friendly and PDF

Share this page:

Conducting a Job Search in an Economic Downturn

Job searching during an economic downturn takes perseverance, resilience and creativity. Cuts to recruiting budgets are a primary way employers cut costs, which creates challenging hiring prospects for students and recent graduates. 


It is important to keep in mind that down cycles do end. Many attorneys will recall the difficult legal market of the early 1990s which rebounded with strong growth in the mid to late 90s. If you find you are job searching in a challenging market, the following tips will help create the most effective search possible.


Be Flexible

In a challenging market those who are flexible with regards to geographic area, practice area, and type of employer will have a significant benefit. Take time to evaluate what areas are doing well, for example healthcare, energy, regulatory, and bankruptcy tend to be areas less affected by economic slowdowns. Think about the skill set you currently have and how that may transfer to one of these other areas. Consider classes and law school activities to help you gain further knowledge of these fields, and be ready to include that additional education in your cover letter and/or resume.


Network, Network, Network

The importance of networking cannot be overstated, particularly in a challenging market. Networking isn’t just about attending cocktail events but includes informational interviewing, being active in professional associations, and attending educational programs. Take time to write down your personal network of friends, family and former colleagues, then add to that list by researching YLS Career Connections and the alumni database of your undergraduate school. For a more detailed discussion of networking and informational interviewing refer to the networking section of this site.


Be Very Prepared

During an economic downturn the job search may take longer than during prosperous times, so it is vital to be extremely prepared for every interview and networking opportunity you schedule. Perform detailed research on the employer you are talking with, including their focal practice areas and current trends in those areas. Before you go on an interview you should also reach out to YLS alumni or alumni of your undergraduate school for informational interviews to learn even more about the company and current trends.


Contact CDO

Whether you are a 1L seeking summer employment or a recent graduate the CDO is available to assist you. To schedule an appointment with a counselor in CDO you may call 203-432-1676 or email cdo.law@yale.edu