Top 7 tips for training contract applications
Applying for training contracts requires a high level of dedication, perseverance and time commitment. Given the ratio of aspiring solicitors against the ratio of trainee solicitor vacancies, only excellent applications will secure that elusive interview. With training contract deadlines fast approaching to help you on the way, we have put together our tips on how to nail training contract applications.
1. Research the prospective law firm
Thorough research of the law firm you are applying to is an absolute must. Law firms will typically expect you to clearly demonstrate: a) a deep understanding of what the firm does, b) a clear interest in its work backed up with relevant examples and c) evidence that you have given a lot of thought why you want to work for this firm by delivering a tailored application. The difference between a good and an excellent application, however, is the research a candidate has undertaken and the way in which is reflected in each and every part of the application.
2. Understand and actually answer the questions
This part is quite crucial as there is nothing more frustrating for a recruiter than to read an application that does not or simply partially answers the questions. Before you dive into answering any questions, write them down on a separate piece of paper and read it carefully to fully understand it. Your answers will only be as good as your understanding of the questions being asked. Getting this part wrong will seriously hamper your chances of securing an interview.
3. Demonstrate your unique selling point
Recruiters want a spark in the application that tells them that this applicant has something special to offer. You should be able to highlight your unique selling point and what you can bring to the firm beyond the generic ‘ I have excellent communication skills’. To do this, you must cast your mind back at your experience and achievements you had from different walks of life and clearly convey that in the application and how it could benefit the firm.
4. List out all the relevant skills and experience
Ensure you list all your work experience be it through paralegal jobs, a vacation scheme or other non-legal experience. You must clearly demonstrate the transferable skills you have picked up and how you could carry this across in a career in law. Do not be afraid to include non-legal working experience because almost all non-legal jobs will enable you to pick up relevant and useful skills that could be carried across into a legal career and this is something that will spark recruiters interest.
5. Explain any gaps in your profile
Submitting an application with gaps in your education or work history without explaining those gaps will almost certainly put your application at the bottom of the pile. Recruiters do not have the time to read incomplete applications and frankly unexplained gaps demonstrate lack of effort, which will not go down well with any recruiter. Be sure to explain any gaps whether is related to taking a gap year or illness and be honest about it.
6. Submit a mistake-free application
Solicitors by default are expected to have meticulous attention to detail. An application which is riddled with typos or spelling errors will not be appreciated and ultimately will end up in the rejection pile. With so many online tools now, days to check typos or even grammatical errors there is really no excuse for such errors. Make that great impression by submitting a mistake-free application as you only get one attempt.
7. Check over your application multiple times
Before you submit your application is always advisable to get another person to read your application. You are less likely to spot any mistakes as you have been immersed writing the application. We also recommend that you take one or two days break before prove reading it. This will give you a better chance to spot any errors with fresh eyes.
Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs