Most job searches in law are what game-theory experts Nathan Bennett and Stephen Miles would label "commoditized." In their 2010 book YOUR CAREER GAME, Bennett and Miles explain that when an approach is the same all the time it is usually ineffective. That's because the JD who does get that job anticipates competitors's every move. That provides a distinct advantage. The winner creates strategies and tactics which make him or her appear superior to the other applicants.
Commoditized approaches for JDs would include highlighting grades, rankings in class, how a case introduced by the interviewer would be solved, evidence of the ability to fit in the organizational culture, and perhaps some actual experience.
The non-commoditized method could include bringing in new business during the application process, taking on the role of a team member and making recommendations about a real case the firm is working on, and/or offering to be "tried out" for a month without compensation.
Lawyers are hardly the only professionals who default into presenting themselves in homogeneous ways. This is frequently what many of us do, whether we pitch ourselves for a job or assignment in-person, on paper, or online. That is most likely because, as Bennett and Miles point out, we don't truly grasp the real game with the real rules. Therefore, we take the flight to safety and come across as most of the other applicants.
YOUR CAREER GAME is a must read for those who are not succeeding in a search for jobs or assignments. Results could happen immediately. That's because it makes clear that the winner is not necessarily the best credentialed or most talented but the professional who plans and plays the game the most astutely.