Austin Jones, LL.M. ’18 in Real Property Development returned to UM’s campus to share what he learned while going through a vigorous job search process over the past year. The talk was hosted by the Law School’s Career Development Office as part of its Lunch & Learn, Real Property/Real Talk series, designed to help students maximize their job search opportunities.
Jones is an associate at Cole, Scott & Kissane P.A., a renowned Florida litigation firm, focusing on construction law. Jones realized his passion for construction and litigation while acquiring his LL.M. degree, stating that the Program was perfect for “narrowing down what you want to do and don’t want to do.” The well-rounded Program gives students a head start in any real estate area they wish to explore, whether it’s construction, land use, condominiums, or other specialties.
Austin Jones, LL.M. '18
Network, Network, Network
Jones could not stress enough the importance of taking advantage of every networking tool provided by the Program, which frequently invites guest speakers to campus and hosts networking events and conferences.
“Take every opportunity to shake everyone’s hand, at any event or field trip, ask for business cards and send follow-up emails,” Jones said. “The internship is another great opportunity to develop networking connections,” he added. “Even if you do not get an employment offer, the lawyers you work under can be very helpful in your job search.”
Take Advantage of the Career Office
Similarly, Jones accessed all the available Career Development Office resources. “Get close with your career advisors, they want to help you and feel useful,” he remarked. The CDO is unique in that all the advisors are lawyers with practice experience, and they are committed to assisting students and graduates of the School of Law with their job search and professional development needs.
Jones felt it was “comforting to have someone double-check what you’re doing.” During the job search process, it can feel as though every move you make is vital to your future success. “Why not take the extra step to have confidence in yourself?” He even sent emails to the CDO to be reviewed before sending them to partners at various firms.
Use Your Career Advisor to Hone and Prepare
Jones’s CDO Advisor, Debbie Rowe-Millwood, Esq. agrees. “When Austin met with me in his first semester of the Program, we went over his goals, carefully crafted his approach to the job search and the steps he needed to take. He followed my recommendations and sought my input on all materials and communications he sent out.
“The CDO strives to partner with each student to provide the resources necessary for students to be prepared; creating a better chance of success in their job search and professional development, a win-win situation for all.”
Stay Persistent and Always Prepare
The job search process can feel like a full-time job itself. Jones advises that it can feel discouraging at times, but that it is imperative to remain persistent. He says that “emailing partners and associates and getting no replies is fine, they have a lot going on, it’s not that they don’t want to help, they’re just busy.” However, Jones has found that small, quick things, such as simple meet and greets at the office or meeting for coffee, are great ways to break the ice when networking.
Once you procure an interview, Jones warns that it is vital to find out who will be conducting the interview and to research them beforehand. With this preparation, Jones felt confident in his ability to make a good impression during the interview. The mock interviews provided by the CDO were priceless for Jones, as they helped reduce his feelings of blind-sightedness when walking into the real interview.
“You get as much as you are willing to put in,” Jones said.