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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On Selling

Recently, I’ve been working with a lot of new clients (Thank god right, since the cats, like Congress, refuse to work... though they do enjoy eating every five minutes.) in the form of unemployed law school graduates, who now that the bar is over, are starting to realize that Sallie Mae takes no sh*t, so they either need to get a job, or burn off their fingerprints, change their identity and make a new life, somewhere off the grid, say in the Philippines. I’m sure at least one determined graduate is now Googling “how do I burn off my fingerprints?,” but for everyone else, I’d like to remind you that getting is a job is as much about selling yourself, as anything else.
Some of you shocked, shocked and outrage, because you don’t sell, Carlota: You’re an attorney! (Inspiring music here.) No. Right now you’re unemployed…once you sell yourself to a firm somewhere, then my friend, then you shall be an attorney. So: we’re all always selling, in both good and bad ways. On a date, for example, you’re selling yourself to your companion as a great prospect for future extracurricular activities. To get that date, you had to sell, you know what I’m saying?
To get an interview, you must sell yourself to HR, or ideally your networked contacts, as someone who will bring immediate value in the form of concrete skills, relevant to the business at hand, as well as experience and contacts. You’re selling both what you’ve done, and the confidence of what you will do. If you can’t sell..hmm, go into politics and make obscene amounts of money, wasting time as the world continues to collapse? (Tempting, right?)
In order to sell, you need a story: why are you interested in the law? What compelled you to attend law school in the first place?  What are you passionate about? What makes you come alive?  A good story will tell something important about your past, as well as indicate some aspects of your future. It will demonstrate, favorably, your character, your personality, your skills, and of course, your drive. It will give the listener a window into who you are, and crucially, why he or she should want to invest the time and money necessary to bring you into the firm. So…what’s your story?

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