Monday, April 18, 2011

Second round Interviews

I have been going on some final round interviews for some sales and contracts management positions. Things have been going okay for me thus far, but I was very sad by a letter I received from a recruiter this afternoon. It turns out that with my education and experience, I was considered to be "overqualified" for a position.

I was thinking "WTF!?!? How can I be freaking overqualified for a job in IT sales?"

I have a BA in Business Economics, an ABA certified Paralegal certificate, a California certified Tax Preparer and a Notary Public ( I do a LOT of freelancing on the side to make extra money, thats how I am surviving).

She was impressed with my work history with VAR's, OEM's, and other technology related applications.

However, she said that she was afraid I wouldn't last long in sales because once I found a "lucrative job in the legal profession" that I would bail and find something "better." She said I was their top and first choice for the job in their El Segundo office, but she was scared that I would be a "Flight risk" so they chose another candidate. The job pays $76,000 a year.

Why the fuck would I want to work as a Paralegal if I can make $76,000 a year working for a firm that does business with Boeing?!?!?

Such bullshit!

Let this be a lesson for anyone who thinks any sort of legal education will "help you in all sorts of fields", because it FUCKING WON'T!

People will think you are overqualified to work in other areas or that you won't want to stay in anything else but the legal profession.

-The Poor Paralegal


  1. I'm sorry for your story, and it reminds me of my experiences.

    During my job search, and about 5 years ago, I had two long telephone conversations with Insurance Industry Recruiters.

    I had sent my resume to them,along with a cover letter, and then called one back a few times to follow up.

    She was very nice, but she was genuinely perplexed by me.

    I was thinking my law degree was proof enough of competence and ability, and she was looking for specific and narrowly described experience.

    She explained how Insurance Co's were all structured the same, with specific dept's with specific duties.

    She told me that I had no experience in "Claims" "Underwriting" etc.

    I said (pleaded almost) that I can easily learn.

    But she finally terminated the conversation.

    THe second recuriter was also a nice person,and we also had a nice long talk, but he told me point blank that he thought I was overqualified and a flight-risk, and that besides he feels lawyer types are advesarial and would cause trouble--make problems.

    He gave a personal stor about how he had a tenant that was a lawyer, and about how he would never rent to a lawyer again.

    But I have sent out many, many resumes over the years, and for non-legal positiopns that I was well qualified for--and I never heard back.

    SO I learned to drop the JD from the resume when searching for non-legal jobs---even sales jobs.

    Prospectoive employers can accept that you went to college---but Law School really confuses them and sends up all sorts of red flags.

    In my case it was a non-elite JD, so maybe that made things worse. I don;t know.

  2. Employers love the "overqualified" excuse. Which raises the question, "If I am 'overqualified,' then why did you select my application among the legions of others - and interview me twice, bitch?!?!"

  3. Yesterday's job interview was similar for me. I'm a solid candidate with enough background in the industry, but the boss kept asking what he was going to do when I decided I wanted to go back to a law firm and get rich. We spent an hour an a half out of my two hours there just talking about whether I'd leave to go to a law firm (even though I'm not barred in that state).

    That said, good luck. Hopefully you'll keep bringing up your disinterest in law, and someone will pay attention.

  4. Kids, are you listening to this? SOme of have been saying this FOR YEARS, because it has happened to us. A law background, be it the dreaded JD or otherwise, closes more doors than it opens. I repeat: it closes more doors than it opens. Legal training limits your sorry ass to the legal field, with the exceptions being perhaps if you are an attractive young lady or one with significant non-law experiences and contacts. The non-law world HATES attorneys and other legal practitioners and considers them potential trouble. Lemmings, beware.

  5. @ 1:35 said:

    "The non-law world HATES attorneys and other legal practitioners and considers them potential trouble. Lemmings, beware."

    A good topic for another blog Post.

    I know I said I wouldn't focus on this kind of stuff anymore on my blog, but it is mighty tempting.

    In fact, this one topic alone should simultaneously be posted about by all the bloggers, because the message cannot be repeated often enough. Maybe say:

    "You CAN NOT!!! NOT!!! NOT!! do anything with a Law Degree!!!!

  6. I concur with 1:35 and JDPG. Despite possibly having great transferable skills, when you work in law, the rest of the business world pigeon-holes you.

    I was downsized over two years ago and I applied to various positions: executive assistant, assistant vet tech (I used to help my friend out who is a vet when he lived in NY), database clerk, sales assistant, customer service, cashier, contract administrator, office manager, and teachers aid. I was only considered for temporary paralegal positions. I almost accepted one offer in which I would have been an EA to three company principals, however calculating amount of OT required, plus the fact that the company was not doing well financially, I passed on that gig.

    Last Fall I was finally offered a position as a Litigation/Claims manager in a mid size company (the company canned its in-house counsel who did nothing and refused to assist outside counsel--I kid you not.). My years working as a senior level legal assistant in insurance finally worked in my favor however it took me nearly two very long years to land a decent paying full time job.

  7. Another common suggestion given to JDs is to apply to contract manager or contract review positions in both the public and private sectors (i.e. at DOD contracting firms). This does not work. I can personally attest to the fact that such firms/agencies will swiftly label you as overqualified. You'll have as much luck getting a job in this area as you would making money as a small town attorney.

  8. Small town attorneys aren't rich? But, but... I thought it was just some sort of bizarre anti-country-folk snobbery that kept all those tens of thousands of unemployed law school graduates from moving to Green Acres to get RICH? (With the help of a few courses from something like SoloPracticeU, of course). Dream. Shattered. Dude, dream shattered.

  9. @ Big Meech

    I'm an attorney who has worked in contracts management for over 6 years, and I know many attorneys who also work in that field. Contracts manager jobs can be very low level or very challenging, so whether they will hire an attorney really depends on the company and the responsibilty level of the job. Contract Managers can either be entering information into a database or practially functioning like in-house counsel. You just have to find the right position and convince them that you have no interest in working at a law firm and really enjoy the transactional aspects of contract negotiation.

  10. I don't understand - why are there sooo many articles out there praising the paralegal profession as the "top growing job in America", and the best option to choose if you want to find a job in this economy? But then there are so many paralegals saying that they can't find work? What's up with the discrepancy? Is it a matter of location?

  11. @ Katie

    Location probably is a factor, but experience is probably a bigger factor. It can be very difficult for new paralegals to find work. A paralegal with 5 years of solid experience at recognizable firms or companies would probably do okay in this economy.

  12. Overqualified is actually a term used by douchebag recruiters and HR morons as a generic excuse *not* to hire someone, but mostly it is code for one of two things.

    Either you are (1) Going to ask for what your education is worth vs. working for peanuts; and/or (2)You are *not* a freshly minted college graduate with your head up your ass who will work for peanuts and never need health insurance.

  13. Omg, I can't believ I stumbled upon this blog. I have several stories, I'll just give one. First I have to say I also got the "your over qualified" bull. My story: I went for an interview @ a "prestigious" law firm which started when sun was up until sun down. Yes, I am serious. They then called me back to interview w/group of attorneys in another dept because they chose to hire som1 else for the prior position. They then called me back to interview w/partner , another call back to interview w/group of paralegals. All just so they could not call me back.

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