By Tanuj Kalia
Law student X: “I got the internship through a contact.”
The law student community: Sniggering. Sneering. And similar facial expressions/sounds.
Question: Why do law students think lowly of their peers who get their internships/jobs through contacts?
Answer: Because, Hey! It’s their Dad/Uncle who got them the internship/job and not their own ‘MERIT’. Hahaha. They couldn’t get an internship with their impressive CVs!
Well, this logic, this answer, is so flawed at every angle that even a circle can’t save it. (Does that make sense?)
Firstly, did you fukicking deserve your height? Who gave that to you? Who gave you your gender? And your complexion? And your schooling? And the fukicking city you were brought up in? Did you decide all this?
“Hey, I’ll pick male, 6’2″, fair, Doon School, Dehradun.”
Ya? That’s the story of your life?
Just like you don’t complain about your gender or your height after a certain point of time in life, you don’t complain about the contacts v. no contacts scenario after a certain point of time in life.
Now, contacts are a reality. They are how things get done. Contacts are how you get internships and jobs and deals.
If someone uses his/her contacts to get anything ‘good’ done, then it’s because they’ve deserved it. (Sometimes, just like their height).
However, unlike your complexion, gender, height etc. you can work on your ‘contacts’. Building contacts is a skill-set.
The how of building contacts is answered below:
1. Do you have an active Linkedin profile? A Linkedin profile is your dynamic CV online. It’s unlike the 2 page, ugly PDF you send as attachments everywhere (Because hey, you don’t have contacts!).
A Linkedin profile is your story, it’s about your skills, about the projects you have done, it’s your personality displayed in a professional, dynamic manner, online.
If you don’t have one, get one.
2. Do you have a blog? A lawyer needs to demonstrate excellent research and writing skills and what better way to do that than to have your blog!
No one reads the 5000 word research articles you publish in journals (even those with an ISSN number).
Except for the quality few, law journals exist to take space, to waste the reader’s time, give some ammunition to the environmentalists (save trees!) and for academics who want to be the EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF A LAW JOURNAL (with an ISSN number!)
A blog introduces you to the world, to potential peers, recruiters etc.
Hint: Share your blog posts on your Linkedin profile.
3. What do you do at a conference/seminar?
Do you put posters on the notice boards?
Do you present a paper there?
Or do you listen attentively to a good speaker, go up to him during lunch etc., then ask him an intelligent question, get his card and then add him/her on Linkedin and in a month impress him with the quality of your blog posts that you shared? [Just an example].
There’s a lot more. But you can start with these.
Sorry if the tone of the article is rude or supercilious. I don’t mean to be either. It just adds some punch to the writing. 🙂