Seven tips to stand out during OCI season once again

It's OCI Season

[ Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona ]

First, if you are fortunate enough to have already secured your position, congrats! It is now your turn to be a supportive friend! Help your friends look for jobs, conduct mock interviews, and review documents for them. If you do not have a position yet, it is time to get serious. If you are a 1L, there isn’t too much pressure. Sure, getting a position is important, but what you choose to do will likely not impact your first position post-law school too much. But if you are a 2L, the pressure is on in many ways since this summer can serve as an “audition” for what will become your post-law school position. Here are some tips to make sure you stand out and get called for the screener interview.

#1 – Take Your Cover Letter Seriously.

Last year I wrote a blog dedicated exclusively to cover letters. I won’t go into that much detail here, so check it out Many people send generic cover letters out with their resumes. Do not be that person. For one reason, you risk addressing it to the wrong person, doing that can easily land you in the “No” pile. Take the time to tailor each letter in a specific way. Maybe you met someone at the firm during a law school event, or maybe you really like an aspect of their government agency. Now is the time to use that information to make your cover letter stand out.

#2 – Be Confident, But Humble.

Confidence in your ability is great and a positive trait, but there is a fine line between confident and arrogant. Employers want to know if you can be a team player, that you can follow instructions, and if you can be molded to fit into their culture.

#3 – Be Prepared to Just Chat

I think that is one of the biggest things that caught many of us off guard during OCI. We did not get asked about jobs on our resumes, the law, or our future plans, but we did talk a LOT about our hobbies, passions, and activities outside of law school. Be prepared for that. Employers are going to be spending four months with you; they want to make sure they want to have you around! For me, I was almost always asked about being a concert photographer, as that was one of my past hobbies.

#4 – Have Questions Prepared

Read the employer’s website and find something interesting to discuss. Go beyond just asking about work/life balance and billable hours, demonstrate a real interest in the work the employer does. Also, be sure to check out the bio for the people that are interviewing you and see if you have something in common.

#5 – Send Those Thank You Letters

When you finish your interview, wait until the end of the day or next morning and send out that thank you letter. Personalize it just like you did with your cover letter. It doesn’t have to be long, but be sure to send it. I always liked to mention something that we talked about, to make sure they connect the thank you letter with my interview.

#6 – Keep Applying

Keep sending in those applications, even while you are waiting to hear about your OCI callbacks. Of course, you want to keep using your career development office, but now is the perfect time to tap into the legal network you’ve been building and talk to your previous professors, to see if they have any connections.

#7 – Take A Deep Breath

I know that this is a stressful time for everyone, especially 2 & 3Ls. Take care of yourself. You want to be in your best shape during interviews, so be sure to take a break for some me-time. Meditate, go for a hike, just do anything that you love. I know that Mara, Mackenzie and I have written a lot about self-care, so check out any of those articles if you need some tips!

Best of luck during this season’s OCI! If you have any tips or suggestions, let me know over at the @The2LLife on Instagram and Twitter!

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