Recent Grads – Dos & Don’ts

This month marks 30 years since I graduated from college. When I think back to my first job, there were so many things that I did not know about how to be a valuable employee. We recently interviewed a number of new grads—some stand out as “ready for the work world” and some do not. I have spent some time trying to identify what specific behaviors inspire confidence and make me excited about introducing new talent to law firms. Here is what impresses me:

  • Coming to the interview dressed professionally (a suit), having done their homework and with well thought out questions about the industry and position 
  • Providing writing samples from college projects that are well written and typo free 
  • Being able to clearly articulate what they learned in school and from internships that they are excited to bring to their first post-college job

Conversely, I’ve also wondered what makes me hesitant to present new grads to clients. Here is what does not impress:

  • Coming across as overly confident and making statements like, “I can pick anything up and would be able to do it well in about 24 hours.”
  • Providing poorly written writing samples and, when errors were pointed out, saying, “That’s not the version I meant to send you.”
  • Making statements like, “I am a great writer.” I have found that no one who is great at something says they are great at it, because they always feel like they can be better!

So if you are interviewing new grads or have one in your life, please feel free to share some pointers with them from your work experience. I so wish someone had done that with me 30 years ago because it would have saved me from learning the hard way!

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