updated on 30 June 2020
Last year I sent off over 40 training contract applications, but didn’t get one interview. What am I doing wrong?
While we don't know much about your academic background or work experience, one thing that does jump out is the sheer number of applications you have submitted - 40 is a lot! There seems almost no way that you could be putting in the required amount of care and time on each of those applications.
Submitting 10-15 carefully targeted, properly researched, checked and rechecked applications may prove more successful than dozens of identical applications.
Applying for a training contract is a competitive process. You must market yourself in the best possible light, so make sure that your applications are the best reflection of your skills and experience. When choosing which firms to apply to, make sure that you have targeted them well – do they specialise in a practice area that interests you? Are they located in a place you want to work/have a connection to? Are you being realistic about matching up to the criteria they require? Make sure also that you get as much help from any careers advice services that you can. They should be able to give you individual attention, or at least point you in the right direction.
In terms of this year's applications, we suggest that you spend approximately two days on each - researching the firm, doing a draft application, having someone else check it - to make sure that each application is polished and stands a good chance of being taken seriously by recruiters.
A standard application form, including open-ended questions can take between six and eight hours to complete. Some careers advisers we speak to advise making five to six vacation scheme and five to six training contract applications per intake. Review and check each application at least three times. Do not underestimate is the importance of time-consuming research before applying.
Identify which firms to apply to by considering the following: