Work + Growth

How to Stand Out When Summer Associate Recruiting Begins

  • The summer associate recruiting process can be rough; it can be difficult to know how to stand out
  • It’s not all about your resume. Your personality and communication skills are important, too
  • You can never be too prepared!

The summer associate recruiting process can be nerve-racking.

What do they want to hear? What is the most important thing on your resume? Are you wearing the right thing, speaking the right way, and impressing the right people? Obviously, the recruiting process is important because it is the most likely path to a full-time Big Law associate position. Here are a few pointers to help you stand out among all the other candidates.

  • Your resume is not just about your academic accomplishments. Be sure to include points that can point to your initiative and leadership abilities.
  • You cannot be too prepared. Know as much as possible about the firm. Practice what answers you’re going to give and what questions you’re going to ask.
  • Recruiters are looking for people who can communicate well face-to-face, so again: Practice! You need to make sure you’re comfortable answering and asking questions, as well as able to talk about anything on your resume in depth.
  • When practicing, be sure to tie the experiences you’ve had—whether at work, during internships, or with volunteer work—to how they can relate to what you hope to do at the firm.
  • Don’t forget that you are there to ask questions as well as answer them. Have a few insightful, intelligent questions ready to ask, and be prepared to come up with more depending on how the conversation naturally goes.
What kinds of things do you want to know about working at the firms you’re interested in? Think of three things to ask recruiters.
  • Avoid sounding scripted. Be someone who people would want on their team. Enthusiasm is just as importance as intelligence.
  • Your resume will likely be similar to many others. How can you distinguish yourself? One way is with your personality. “Fit” will be a big factor in who will receive a callback.
  • Another way to distinguish yourself is by following that age-old, corny advice: Be yourself. Don’t try to pretend to be a personality type that you are not. Find the area where you can excel, not the area where someone else excelled.
  • Speaking of the callback: Don’t forget that you should be just as prepared for the callback as you were for the original interview. Callbacks will usually include a meal; one way you don’t want to stand out is for your terrible table manners.

What's Next

Have you been practicing for your interviews? Practice at least three times—with friends, in the mirror—in the next week or so. Practice more if you still don’t feel completely comfortable.