Top Five Things To Bring To OCIs
It can be scary to meet lots of new people, especially when those people are potential employers! In this post, we outline the top five things you can bring to OCIs to help you make a great first impression to land you the job.
Top Five Things To Bring To OCIs
1. Resume, Transcript, And Writing Sample
While the school might provide an employer with these materials ahead of time, you want to make sure that you bring them as well. That way if anything has been misplaced, you will be prepared to give your interviewer another copy.
In addition to making sure your materials are polished and typo-free, documents should not be wrinkled or torn. Consider using “resume paper” for some of these documents to add a little heft to each. Also, consider investing in a nice padfolio or another sturdy folder to keep everything tidy and professional-looking. If you don’t have the time or resources to purchase one, you might also be able to borrow a padfolio from your Career Services office or a friend for your interview.
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you are able to discuss everything on your resume. If you are a little shaky about a language skill or can’t quite remember what you did during that internship in high school, it might be best to leave it off. Focus on the experiences that you can speak to most fluently.
If you’re unsure where to start with building your resume, check out our Legal Resume tips.
2. Identified Strengths And Weaknesses
The interviewer is likely to ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. Do not let this be a surprise question or catch you off guard! You want to make sure that you have honest and well-thought-out examples at the ready. Try to focus your strengths on something specific like “I look at problems more analytically given my undergraduate background in statistics” versus more general traits like “I am organized.” This will make it seem like you have given more thought to your answers, and also make you more memorable to the interviewer. It also highlights something unique about you, your major in statistics.
In terms of weaknesses, you also want to identify a true weakness. Avoid saying things like “I am always early” or “I can be too neat.” Instead, focus on things you actually want to improve, like “I am sometimes reluctant to voice my opinion when in a large group.” When you have identified a weakness, you also want to pair it with how you are working to make progress in that area. For the example above, you could say, “I am focusing on writing down what I want to say ahead of time so that I am then more confident speaking up in the meeting.” Additionally, you could note how you’re overcoming this with the Socratic method of teaching, 1L oral arguments, and any possible moot court experience you may now have. Essentially, you’re still couching your weakness in a positive light and discussing how you are addressing it to be better. We all have faults and things we want to work on, the biggest thing is identifying them and showing your interviewer that you are taking proactive steps to address them.
3. Examples Of Leadership
Your interviewer will also likely ask about a time that you showed leadership. You might not think this is important as you will just be a summer associate, but even in your associate class, the employer is looking for these skills.
As with strengths and weaknesses, you want to be as specific as possible. For example, you could speak about being a captain of a sports team, leading a mock trial team, or helping fundraise for one of your student organizations. If you’ve been recently elected to an e-board position of a law school organization, mention that too despite not yet undertaking much of the role!
4. Questions For the Employer
Your interviewer will likely leave time at the end for you to ask questions. This will give you a great opportunity to learn more about the specifics of that employer. You could ask about pro bono opportunities, mentorship roles, or summer training opportunities.
Your questions don’t have to be novel, but make sure they weren’t already addressed in the interview or easy to find on the employer’s website. Spend time reviewing an employer’s website prior to the interview to make sure your questions are not on one of the main pages. You could also see what the firm has been up to lately and ask about those initiatives.
See our post on OCI mistakes to learn more about how to avoid asking weak or risky questions.
Even if your interviewer isn’t going to be working with you directly, you could potentially be members of the same firm! Everyone wants to work with people who are friendly, nice, and enthusiastic.
Having to complete so many interviews can be tiring for both you and the interviewer. Try to make your discussion as natural and enjoyable as possible for everyone!
The more you can make yourself seem excited, the more engaged your interviewer will likely be and the easier you will find the conversation!
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