Six Great Ways to Kickstart Your Summer Job Search

By Hillary Mantis

Winter is finally here, but before you know it, summer will follow — do you have a summer job lined up yet?

If not, now is a great time to look. With that in mind, here is handy acronym — SUMMER — to help you with summer job search tips:

S: Seek positions with small firms, nonprofits, and state and local government agencies. In general, many big firms have completed their summer hiring by now. But small firms are often just beginning to look. So focus on small firms, and the nonprofit and government sector.

U: Use your career services office: Your career services office can introduce you to employers and alumni. They can also help you create a winning resume, and practice for interviews. Use them! They are free, and generally very helpful. When I was a career counselor, I was shocked at how many students did not fully utilize career services.

M: Meet with as many alumni as possible: Alumni of your law school have a special tie to the school. Often they will try to hire students from your alma mater. Connect with them through your law school or LinkedIn. They are often the ones who will say yes to networking requests.

M: Manage your expectations:Large firm summer associate positions often include generous salaries. But most summer legal positions do not. Remember that it is also about making connections for your future, and learning about different practice areas.  A position may not pay much now — but it might really pay off for you later, especially if it helps you get a permanent offer after graduation.

E: Expect that it may take time: While fall employers, including large firms and large government agencies seeking to fill summer positions often have established deadlines, small firms may not. Hiring may start in January, and continue throughout the spring. It’s not unheard of for students to land summer jobs even as they are finishing finals.

R: Remember that there may be funding available: For many public sector positions, there may be partial or full funding available through your school, bar associations, and other organizations. Look into funding — it may be possible to get paid for what would have been an unpaid position. Check out your options soon!


Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students and lawyers. She is a Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University, and author of career books, including Alternative Careers for Lawyers. For more information, you can contact Hillary at