Throw yourself into the process. Show up to firm events and open days. Contact lawyers for coffee. Be the first to raise your hand and ask questions.
Stop doing what everyone else does. Know your stuff. Like really know your stuff. Be able to confidently discuss M&A, debt, equity and the commercial news with ease. Understand what lawyers really do without all the buzzwords.
Write exceptional applications, applications that are personal, tailored and convincing, applications that make the recruiters want to invite you to interview.
Show up to the interview confident that you have value. Be prepared, not scripted. Smile and gesture. Show that you can stay composed when asked tough questions. Know who you are and your story. Double down on your strengths and honestly reflect on your flaws.
This process is unfair. You’ll have to deal with doubts and biases. You’ll be up against candidates with more connections, resources and opportunities. That sucks, but it’s out of your control. Consistently show up and put your time in. Aim for exceptional and not just ‘good enough’. Cultivate discipline. Take lots of baby steps to push yourself outside your comfort zone.
None of this will guarantee you an offer, but it will make you an exceptional candidate.