At Bright Network we always strive to ensure our members are prepared for the application process. We caught up with Anna Dixon (Resourcing Specialist at Burges Salmon) to give us her five top tips for applying for a vacation scheme or training contract
1. Have an application strategy
It is sensible to apply for a manageable number of firms as you will need to spend time doing research and getting to know the culture. Think about what you would like from your future firm. Are you interested in international work or secondment opportunities?, do you want to work in the city or at a regional location? Is there an area of law you would like the firm to specialise in? Think about the values you would like the firm to represent and the kind of culture you can see yourself being part of.
2. What makes the firm stand out?
When you have decided which firms fit your criteria, start to think about what makes those firms stand out from others. During the application stage and at interview you will be expected to talk about what differentiates the firm from their competitors and how they fit into the legal market. There may also be differences in culture and the way that the training contract is structured. Find out as much as you can about the firms strategy and what their plans are for the future.
Sign up for firm events such as presentation evenings and open days. Meeting members of the recruitment team, trainees and lawyers is the best way to get an inside perspective on the firm. Prepare questions before attending and ask as many as you can.
4. Be yourself
Let your personality come across. When writing applications talk about your hobbies and interests, non legal work experience or previous careers, your language skills and University societies you are involved in. Some of these experiences may not seem relevant but will have helped you develop skills that law firms are looking for. For example being part of a university society will help with your communication, leadership and organisation skills. Working in a shoe shop during the holidays may increase your knowledge of how a business works and enhance your commercial awareness. You never know, that business may be a client one day and a knowledge of the sector will help you to provide expert legal advice.
5. Attention to detail
It may sound obvious but you will be surprised at how many spelling and grammar mistakes I see in training contract applications. Proof read before sending and ask someone else to read it to help spot mistakes. Something as simple as spelling the firm name wrong could lose you a space on an assessment day. Make sure that you read each question carefully and think about what the firm is looking for. If a question mentions the firm it is probably looking for you to give a specific answer not something general about the legal sector. This means that it is impossible to copy and paste from other applications and goes back to my first point. You will need to spend a lot of time researching and writing applications so ensure you only apply to a select few in order to be successful
If you have any questions about applying for training contracts or about Burges Salmon please get in touch with Anna on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0117 307 6938.
Discover more about a career with Burges Salmon here.