IAFG wrote:^^ everything this guy said.
Seriously. 100% credited. TLS places a lot of emphasis on grades because that's the only thing you can change one you're in law school (can't get new strong ties, WE, IP, URM, etc.). But 0L and 1L shouldn't take it to mean that it's the only thing, or that a certain level or grades will make you 100% safe. And you should realize this BEFORE OCI hits.
Plenty of the wildcard factor can be changed in law. WE, IP, URM obviously can't. But networking can, making a resume technically good even if your substance sucks. Also, part of the wildcard is biding strategy and outside OCI job search strategy. You only get a certain amount of OCI interview slots, and you should use them for maximum effect. I saw people waste high bids on firms that just were never, ever, ever going to take them. A little research and realism would have helped. I saw people go the other way and bid on 15 shitty Chicago firms who have 1-3 SA's each summer.
Effectively mass mailing is huge. Knowing how to sell yourself in an interview. Even if you suck at interviewing, you can figure out what you should be saying. Have intelligent questions, be able to have a coherent answer to common questions.
PROTIP: Don't say your greatest weakness is writing, don't threaten to beat up a named partner, and don't quote the song Ebony and Ivory to a black and white pair of associates.