The recruiting director for Patton Boggs read the cover letter with rising interest. The applicant had a sterling résumé, great work experience, and impressive recommendations.
“And for these reasons,” the correspondent concluded, “I believe I would make an excellent addition to the firm of Covington & Burling.”
The letter was rerouted to a new home in the circular file.
“We see this kind of thing all the time,” admonished Kara Reidy (top photo) recruiting director for Patton Boggs. “A letter like that goes right into the wastebasket.”
Her Feb. 13 remarks to Catholic University law students, “Navigating Your Way through Stormy Seas: What You Really Need to Know about Getting a Big Law Firm Job,” coached students on the do’s and don’ts of mounting a job search in 2012.
Her foremost advice: pay attention to details. Read, and then re-read your résumé for typos. Ask your friends to do the same. Read it from back-to-front, a good trick for focusing the mind on finding mistakes.
“It is the single most important piece of paper for your job search,” Reidy reminded students.
The recruiting director strongly encouraged students to take the time to do proper homework. That means spending time on a law firm’s web site, and not relying on short bursts of information from Twitter or Facebook to form their impressions.
She also shared tips on the most promising job web sites for students, and urged them to use the resources of the law school’s career services office.