For years, Amazon has been a big supporter of MSJDN’s mission and has been a changemaker when it comes to hiring and supporting military spouses. Last month, over 30 MSJDNers joined Amazon leadership and legal recruiters for a members-only webinar. We learned about Amazon’s efforts to hire and retrain military spouse attorneys plus tailored guidance for MSJDN members interested in joining Amazon.
We heard from Beth Conlin, who many of you will recognize from past Making the Right Moves conferences. Beth is an Active Duty Army spouse and Strategic Business Development Program Manager with Amazon Web Services (AWS). She was hired by Amazon about two years ago to build out strategic hiring programs and retention programs focused specifically on military spouses.
We also got a lot of inside information from Lindsey Boyle, a Senior Program Manager who oversees diversity and recruiting programs for Amazon’s legal recruiting team.
Finally, we’re grateful to MSJDN member Claire Tracey, a labor and employment attorney at Amazon. Claire made this event happen and weighed in with her experiences as a military spouse attorney at Amazon.
Here are some of the fantastic takeaways for military spouse attorneys applying to Amazon—and other corporate roles!
- Amazon is an intentionally inclusive workplace. As a military spouse, you can bring your whole self to work and expect to be celebrated.
- All attorney roles are called “corporate counsel,” but that doesn’t mean you necessarily need corporate experience. Two years post-grad legal experience is the floor (need not be in one place or continuous, just two years total).
- Many Corporate Counsel roles are tied to a specific skill set, e.g. Real Estate. Other roles are very broad and will mean you’re a mini-General Counsel, with new responsibilities daily. There is no perfect background or specific skill set. These roles are the space for pivoting practice areas.
- When you apply, don’t hesitate to speak with a recruiter to better understand the specific role and the things you’re supporting.
- Once you get a phone call from a recruiter, LEAN IN to your “military spouseness” and emphasize your unique background. Use your resume to tell your story and tailor your experience to the specific role.
- Be honest about your situation; don’t wait until later in the interview process to discuss geography or other challenges. Even if you can’t onboard now, the recruiting team has the flexibility to come back to you later.
- Stretch yourself to decide what you are willing to put in. If not living in Arlington, what commuting are you able to do via Amtrak, etc? Be creative. And ask where the client is located, because that can affect the needs of the role and increase flexibility if e.g. clients are in another region or not in the office themselves.
- Location. Location. Location. Amazon is famously headquartered in Seattle and recently opened their HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia. Although Amazon cannot onboard candidates virtually just yet, they are definitely looking for candidates outside Seattle. Legal hubs are in Seattle, Arlington (largest), New York, the Bay Area, and Southern California. Recruiters can consider a candidate most strongly if located in one of those hubs or able to relocate. But they do understand that there are times military spouses are not in control of their location!
- Many of Amazon’s legal teams are not back in the office, and that decision is made on a team-by-team basis.
- Individual teams and hiring managers may have some flexibility to onboard in a particular location and allow remote work later on.
- Amazon is a massive organization. So many opportunities that your first position at Amazon should not be your last, you will move and grow.
- A wide variety of “attorney adjacent” opportunities are also available!
- Amazon’s legal team consists of 2,000 people. Program managers, executive assistants, compliance specialists, contract managers, and paralegals provide critical support and are full-fledged members of the team. (However, these roles are not typically a stepping stone to corporate counsel positions.)
Make your resume stand out! Hiring managers often get hundreds of applications per role.
- Go to the dedicated requisition. It’s okay to have key words and phrases from the req to tailor your resume.
- Highlight that you are a military spouse – in your short professional summary or cover letter. This explains your mobility and makes it easier for a recruiter to understand your resume and see the fit.
- Don’t apply broadly. Identify five roles that you feel speak to your experience—experience you have or would like to have. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for this job.
- Be very thoughtful. No grammatical errors which could knock you out of consideration. Keep things crisp and clean, using traditional fonts and structure. (Times, Arial, Calibri). No more than two pages! Don’t let anything get lost, highlight the important stuff up front.
- Amazon loves to see key accomplishments under each role (particularly if the job duties are already self-evident). Amazon needs to see that you can handle a high volume of work + fast pace + high level of ownership. Keep it punchy. Love bullets, love metrics.
- Promote yourself. Show the impact, not just the work. Link to a press release or media coverage, e.g.
- Be sure you have a LinkedIn profile with a picture that is consistent with your resume. This is a great place to include additional content to fill out that short, focused resume.
- Watch out for military references, which recruiters do not understand. Spell out military-related accomplishments, explain security clearances, etc.
- Channel Amazon’s leadership principles as you write your resume and show how you lived these values in previous work.
And, now, the interview process!
- Amazon’s interview process is very structured. Recruiters conduct the same interview regardless of role, even outside the legal department.
- Internalize the Military Spouse Interviewing Tips for everything you need to navigate the process!
- Know that once you’ve applied, it varies how quickly Amazon will get back to you. Check your Amazon jobs account for updates.
- First, you’ll complete a 45 minute phone interview with the hiring manager. For corporate generalist roles, you’ll interview with a lawyer who is trained to understand your skill set without reference to a particular role, because you’re being considered for all open generalist roles.
- Your interviews will include situational and behavioral questions. “Tell me about a time when you needed to make a decision with very little data. What was the situation, how did you handle it?”
- Recruiters are looking for very specific, detailed stories about matters you’ve worked on.
And if you have your heart set on a role at Amazon, be sure to connect with Claire Tracey, Lindsey Boyle, and Beth Conlin on LinkedIn. The Amazon legal team is committed to this community and seeing you succeed!