Application and interviewing tips

Here are some tips to help you succeed when submitting an application to Osler and participating in our recruitment process.

Submitting your Application

Your application should consist of a cover letter and résumé. If our advertisement requests additional materials, such as references or transcripts, be sure to include these. Sending your application by mail isn't necessary. Email is generally preferred.

Cover Letter Tips 

Your cover letter matters. It is the first impression you will make. It is a sample of your writing skills and also tells us relevant information about you. We suggest keeping your cover letter short and concise (i.e., three to four short paragraphs and never more than one page). Be sure to proofread it to ensure there are no spelling, grammar or other mistakes (i.e., office address or contact name).

Cover Letter Do's and Don'ts 

Do

  • Tailor each letter according to the specific job you are interested in
  • Proofread - typos and formatting errors do not yield results
  • Format leaving adequate white space
  • Study the advertisement on Osler.com/careers, assess the skills we are looking for, and provide two or three examples that show you have these skills
  • Name people you know within the firm, if relevant
  • State how you will add value - what's in it for Osler if we hire you?

Don't

  • Use a form letter
  • Misspell or misuse the firm or person's name
  • Use greetings like “Hey” or “Howdy” or salutations like “Cheers”
  • Start most sentences with “I”
  • Talk more about what Osler can do for you than what you can do for Osler
  • Write more than one page

Résumé Tips 

Your résumé gives us some idea of what contribution you could make to the firm. We're interested in your education, work experience, community involvement, etc. Your life experiences may indicate you are someone who is responsible, motivated, hard-working, interesting, team-oriented and well-rounded.

Overall, your résumé should be:

  • Easy to read (i.e., well organized, not too cluttered and well spaced)
  • Concise (one to two pages) yet informative so that we can easily focus on the most important aspects
  • Structured in reverse-chronological order (i.e., most recent schooling or work experience first)
  • Tailored to the specific job for which you are applying

Remember that during your interview, you should be prepared to discuss and expand on anything you've mentioned in your cover letter or résumé.

Résumé Do's and Don'ts 

Do

  • Target your résumé for the position
  • Keep your résumé to two pages and use plain paper
  • Format leaving adequate space, use an easy to read font and use minimal special effects
  • Ensure dates and/or titles are accurate - Osler conducts background checks as part of our recruitment process
  • Start with strong verbs (e.g., wrote, presented, advised, etc.)
  • Proofread - typos and formatting errors do not yield results

Don't

  • Simply list job duties; instead detail transferable skills
  • List personal or irrelevant information (age, marital status, SIN)
  • Include extra information such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, awards - you'll be asked to provide them if necessary
  • Avoid using verbs such as: "assisted", "participated“ or "helped“ in isolation as they are too vague and do not reflect your specific contribution

Interviewing 101 

Interviews are exciting and can also be stressful. Here are some suggestions to make your interview a positive experience.

  • Prepare in advance. Surf Osler.com to get a sense of the firm culture and the type of work we do. Make sure you know the names of the interviewers. Look up our location on a map and plan your transportation. For example, find out where you can park or what transit to take.
  • Dress appropriately. While we are a business casual environment, consider wearing a suit, as first impressions are crucial. Ensure your clothes are clean and pressed. You'll feel more confident if you look the part.
  • Be on time. Arrive five to ten minutes early so you have time to hang up your coat and collect your thoughts.
  • Practise. Before the interview, think about the types of questions you might be asked. Brainstorm examples of past experiences that demonstrate your skills.
  • Stay calm and be yourself. Try and relax. Be honest about your experiences and skill set. Make eye contact with the interviewer(s).
  • Listen carefully. Make sure you understand the interview question. It is okay to take a couple moments to form your response. Ensure you answer the question that's been asked.
  • Thank the interviewer for his/her time and shake hands.
  • Follow-up the next day with a thank you note (email is fine).

We do everything it takes to maintain our position as one of Canada’s leading business law firms, meeting and exceeding the expectations of our clients, lawyers, students, staff and communities.

Learn more about Osler