As a law student, the law school on-campus interview (OCI) process can be a bit overwhelming. But with a little preparation and the right mindset, you can increase your chances of landing a summer job. Here are some tips to help you stand out during law school OCI season.
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What is OCI?
What does OCI mean in law school? On-campus interview. The on-campus interview process involves employers coming to campus to interview, and potentially hire, law students. To land your dream job, you’ll need to prepare.
Law School OCI Tips
- Focus on your grades first: Although it is tempting to start throwing out applications before exams begin, the most important thing you can do to land your dream summer gig is to ace your law school exams. With the right resources and preparation, you can make sure that your grades are competitive. However, don’t stress if you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for. As stressful as law school is, grades are not everything, and with the tips below, you’ll be able to get yourself back on track.
- Start early: As soon as you know the dates of your law school’s OCI, start preparing. This means researching the firms that will be attending, tailoring your resume and cover letter to fit their needs, and practicing your interviewing skills (here are some practice questions).
- Network: Reach out to upperclassmen or alumni who have gone through the law school OCI process and ask for their advice. They can provide valuable insights into the firms and the process itself. Additionally, attend networking events and connect with recruiters and attorneys on LinkedIn. Don’t be shy – networking is part of the process and everyone has been in your shoes. Most attorneys would love to give you their advice. Networking is especially important when looking to move outside of your region.
- Tailor your application materials: This is a very important step. Each firm, company, or organization is looking for different qualities in their summer associates – and specifically, they are looking to ensure that you understand what it is they do and that you would like to do it. Do not use a generic cover letter for each application. Research the jobs that interest you and tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your experiences and skills that align with their needs.
- Dress professionally: First impressions are everything, and your appearance is a big part of that. Make sure to dress professionally for each interview, and if you’re unsure about appropriate attire, err on the side of dressing more formally. In general, this means suits and ties for men, and equally formal attire for women. If you aren’t sure, ask your school’s career office.
- Show your passion: The firms are looking for summer associates who are genuinely interested in their practice area and the firm itself. Be prepared to ask thoughtful questions and speak with enthusiasm about why you want to work there. You may receive a list of interviewees in advance – do your research and ask about a case or area of practice to show you are interested in their work and in turn, would want to be involved. Show why you are uniquely positioned to help them.
- Optimize your resume and cover letter for each role: Make sure your resume and cover letter include relevant experience to the specific role. Showcase your involvement in areas that are relevant to the role. Don’t be afraid to include personal interests, which can help break the ice.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to standing out during law school OCI and securing a summer job. Law school is a stressful time, but the job search can be worth the hard work as you enter a new and rewarding stage of your career. Remember to stay calm, be yourself, and showcase your passion for the specific role in question. Good luck!”