It’s that time of year again – application season is upon us! Graduate programmes across numerous industries will open in the next few weeks. As students get ready to go back to another year of studying, law firm applications open for vacation schemes and training contracts. Here are some really simple but important tips to ensure that your applications are in tip-top shape. They may seem simple, but if applied correctly, they’re probably three of the top ways to improve your chances when applying for schemes this year.
1. Get your application in early
Call me a perfectionist or a procrastinator, but I am the worst for worrying over applications up until the deadline. I rewrite my answers over and over and can’t seem to bring myself to submit until right before the closing date. And it turns out I’m not alone in this habit; many law firms report receiving a massive influx of applications on the final day, or even in the final hours, of their deadlines.
Because of this, one of the most effective ways to ensure that your application is well received might be to get it in early. Instead of being among a flurry of applications, yours will be among a much smaller number – which should mean that it gets the attention it deserves. Additionally, you’ll be showing the firm that you can organise yourself – a key skill for any firm.
2. Ask someone to read over your application
At the very beginning of my decision to pursue a legal career, I filled out numerous application forms and I didn’t think to get them checked over by anyone. I’ve since learned how crucial it is to have a fresh pair of eyes check over your work – particularly because law firms are scrupulous about errors and aren't often very lenient about typos or bad grammar in applications. When you’ve been juggling applications with university deadlines, you can often get tired of proofreading, so it’s really helpful to get a family member or friend to read your application to check that it makes sense.
If you’re at university or are a recent graduate, it’s also worth checking with your careers department to see whether they will carry out application checks. Otherwise, if you or your parents know any current lawyers or experts in the field, they may be able to provide constructive advice on your applications.
3. Back up every skill with an example or evidence
Many application forms ask for details about your skills and capabilities, which is why it is so important to be aware of your main ones. Further, one way to instantly spice up your application in the eyes of a recruiter is to add evidence supporting your skills. You can add quantifiable numbers or details to bring situations where you have used your skills to life, so that interviewers have proof that your individual contribution made a difference to a situation. For example, if you raised a certain amount of money for charity or coordinated an event with many people, it’s always a good idea to include those stats into your application answers.
As well as making your application a bit less wordy, the fact that you juggled working 17 hours a week with studying, raised £1,500 for charity or organised a barn dance for 100 people will show the interviewer that your skills have produced good results.