How to Rock an Interview and Land Your Dream Summer Job

Although summer still seems far away, now is the time that you have to start thinking about job applications and interviews. I recently went through the law school summer job recruit and participated in numerous interviews (close to 20!)

Along the way, I learned a lot about job interviews, and have some tips on how to impress your potential employer and hopefully get hired. I ended up getting a job at a small personal injury firm here in Victoria, which was my top choice. Hopefully you can learn from my experience and find success in your job search!

Tip #1: Research!

Being knowledgeable about your potential employer is so important. Often an interviewer will ask “what do you know about our company/organization?” and your answer to this question can make or break your interview.

Employers will be impressed if you are well-informed about their company/organization, as well as the job requirements of the position you applied for.

It can be tough to memorize lots of specific facts about an employer, particularly if you’re applying to a bunch of jobs. I found it was helpful having a small notebook in which I kept notes about the law firms I applied to, as I was able to carry it around with me and study it whenever I had a little bit of free time.

In the context of a law job, I found it beneficial to know how big the firm was, what areas of law they practiced, their mission statement, their mentorship program for students, and any notable cases they worked on. It’s also good to research your interviewer if you are given their name before your interview.

Tip #2: Show Genuine Enthusiasm

Another question you should be prepared to answer in an interview is “why do you want to work at our company/organization?” This is your chance to show your enthusiasm about the job. Employers want to hire someone who really wants to work there.

During my interview at the personal injury firm, I spoke about how I wanted to help real people (as opposed to corporations) in my work, and this was why personal injury appealed to me. My interviewers could tell that I was genuinely passionate and interested in the work, and I think that’s a big part of why I got the job.

Tip #3: Look the Part

First impressions are critical, so you should present yourself well in your interview. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wear a suit. Your goal should be for the hiring manager to be able to visualize you as part of the team. To achieve this, you will want to get a feel for the work environment and dress yourself accordingly.

If you’re interviewing for a job in a conservative work environment, such as a law office, accounting firm or financial institution, wearing a suit would be prudent. On the other hand, if you’re interviewing for a position at a startup, you could likely tone it down a bit and go for business casual.

My tip would be to scope out the work environment before your interview and see what the employees are wearing, then step it up a notch in your interview outfit.

Tip #4: Visualize Success

When I had my first interview in the law school job recruit process, I failed miserably. I was nervous, my voice was shaky, and my answers were mediocre at best. I think a big part of this was that I didn’t feel confident in my ability to get the job.

I didn’t want this to happen with the personal injury firm I was going to interview with; I really wanted the job and didn’t want to let my nerves get the best of me again. Instead of putting lots of pressure on myself and stressing out, I walked into the law office with a calm confidence and visualized myself being successful in the interview. This mindset paid off; it ended up being my best job interview ever and I was offered the position.

Job interviews can be stressful, but with the right approach you can become a pro. Good luck to those of you who have interviews coming up!

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