Mental Edges for OCIs

by: Josh C.

For my last entry here on the blog, I’d also like to discuss OCIs briefly. If you’re reading this, you will have seen that Chris and Tali have provided invaluable advice for resumes, cover letters, interviews, etc. These topics have been covered so thoroughly, I don’t think I can contribute anything else on them. Instead, I’d like to focus on a different aspect: the mental side of recruiting.

A lot of hype gets built up among fresh 2Ls about OCIs and it will likely be one of the only things you hear about for two months. The way the numbers work means that a substantial number of 2Ls who apply through OCIs will not receive an offer for a summer position. I had the fortune of knowing a few people in the years above me who were willing to impart their guidance about the process. They told me that year after year, many qualified people do not get an offer and that I shouldn’t feel like it’s the end of the world if it were to happen to me. Their words may not sound optimistic but I thought it was a realistic view of what happens.

At the time, I was constantly asking myself questions like “What if I don’t get an offer?” and “What if no one wants to hire me?”. I realized that these questions were disempowering for two reasons: 1) when you ask yourself things like this, you’re psyching yourself out and not in a productive state of mind and 2) it’s very easy to start thinking that the worst is going to happen. Rather than get completely caught up, I decided to change my way of thinking. I chose not to invest myself completely in the OCI process and would take whatever outcome in stride. That isn’t to say that I stopped working on my application or stopped putting forward my best effort. I just simply realized that this wasn’t an end but rather a step in a sequence. As soon as I changed my mindset, everything was easier. I was calmly editing my cover letters and resumes instead of agonizing over paragraph length and synonyms. Interviews and cocktail parties were no longer stressful interrogations but rather opportunities to talk to people about a million different topics. Everything was easier.

When you don’t completely invest yourself in a particular outcome, I think that you can see things from a more objective perspective and determine your strengths and weaknesses. Moral of the story: change your mental approach and you will not only avoid disappointment if you don’t get what you want but you’ll also likely improve your chances in achieving your goals. It helped me and hopefully it helps some of you.

Have a great rest of the summer and good luck on whatever goals you set out to achieve.

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