Lately I have had to turn away many extremely well-credentialed associate candidates, due to the restraints of this difficult market. If you find yourself recently laid off and are unable to find a reputable recruiter to assist you in your search- here are some suggestions on how to kickstart your job search on your own.
1. Contact your law school's career center and ask to speak to a career counselor. Your counselor can hopefully help you get your resume in good shape and identify job openings. Furthermore, law schools sometimes have job openings that are "exclusive" to its graduates- so you may be able to gain access to opportunities that the general public cannot access.
2. Network, network, network. Now is the time to dust off your suit from OCIP and go to as many legal networking functions as possible. With each person you meet, you are increasing the probability of finding a new position. If you can, try to arrange informational interviews with the partners you meet at these functions (who work at firms that may be of interest to you). Many a job hunter has found out useful insider information during these types of informal interviews, and some have even garnered job offers as a result of these types of meetings.
3. Use your online contacts. In this difficult market, now is not the time to be shy. Utilize your online contacts (e.g. LinkedIn, alumni groups, bar associations, etc.) to the best of your abilities. Let people know that you are looking for a job and ask if they can help you. Personal referrals are a great way to get your foot in the door with a new firm.
4. Contact firms you are interested in (regardless of whether or not they are advertising an opening). The needs of firms change all the time. Thus, it is in your best interest to contact as many firms that you could realistically see yourself working with. The worst that will happen is that you will get a rejection form letter. The best that could happen is that you could get an interview and an offer, from your efforts. In this market, it is worth a shot.
5. Stay positive and be consistent. Attitude goes a long way when you are unemployed. If you are overcome with feelings of despair or negativity, this will permeate in your job efforts. Try to stay focused on the good things in your life and realize that this tough time will pass. Consistently commit yourself to looking for a new job every single day, and treat it as a job unto itself. With this type of regular effort, you will hopefully be presented with various job opportunities soon.