It doesn’t need to be said that securing a training contract is tough. There are a myriad of statistics out there showing that there are many more aspiring lawyers than there are training contracts.
Applying and then securing a training contract requires a high level of dedication, commitment and perseverance. There are some simple and straight-forward tips that can help in that quest. I have selected only three stages to talk about – applications, online assessments and interviews.
Application forms can be long and feel impersonal, but they are vitally important and the first step on your quest to securing that coveted training contract.
- Be honest about mitigating circumstances, but do only put down anything that genuinely had a negative impact on your grades and ability to perform at your best.
- If you have any gaps in your education or working history e.g. if you had a gap year make sure you mention it somewhere.
- List ALL your work experience, but make sure you write about your transferable skills. Part-time jobs whilst you are at university are really interesting to read about and there are lots of skills that can be transferred to a career in law.
- Most important of all is attention to detail – get someone to read your application before you submit it, you are less likely to spot the typos or spelling mistakes as you have been immersed in writing your application.
As much as you may or may not like them online assessments are here to stay. There are some useful things to remember when completing online assessments.
- Don’t rush and use the time allocated – it is there for a reason.
- Read all the instructions thoroughly before you start, you will only get one attempt.
- Make sure you are free from distractions such as your phone, flatmates or family. You are unlikely to be able to pause what you are doing.
If you manage to secure an interview this is a great testament to the work you have done so far, but there is one final stage to still get through and it is the most important. Don’t forget that interviews are a two way process so make sure you make a good assessment as to whether it is a firm you can see yourself training and qualifying with.
- Be yourself, you will perform much better and you will feel relaxed. When we are interviewing at Taylor Vinters we are looking to get to know you, what makes you tick and if we think you would be a good fit for Taylor Vinters as well as a great future lawyer.
- First impressions count so dress suitably, arrive early, know who you are meeting and make sure you have a good handshake.
- Do your research – on the firm, their competitors, and the industry. Many interviewers will want to see that you have a broad understanding of current affairs, the impact of them on the firm and their clients.
- During the interview consider your body language, don’t slump or cross your arms.
- Be prepared with questions to ask your interviewers. This is also your opportunity to learn more about the firm and see whether you would like to work there.