Josh Richman - Nine top tips for summer vacation scheme applications
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The biggest vacation scheme application deadline of the year – 31 January – is looming. Almost 50 firms have set their deadlines for spring and/or summer vacation schemes at the end of this month.
Unsurprisingly, advice on how to be successful at this important stage is everywhere. This Guardian article on the seven skills that will help you to secure a vacation scheme from 2016 remains essential reading for anyone applying for a work placement.
All firms require your application to be uniquely tailored to them, so every form you complete should be different. But you should also approach every application in the same way – take your time, carefully prepare your responses and pay attention to detail.
Here are nine pointers:
- Read through the entire application form before you start, keeping a close eye on all instructions.
- Plan where all your main boasts will be made. It would be a shame to work a slightly tangential skill or experience into one answer when you turn out to be questioned directly on the issue on the next page.
- Don't complete the form with your caps lock on. Equally, don’t go entirely lower-case, as you will give the impression of someone without care or regard for grammar.
- Take care with the layout of your application. Consider writing the longer sections in Word and then copying the text over, checking that the formatting (eg, bullet points) have transferred properly.
- Don’t succumb to ‘copy and paste’ fatigue. If you can substitute the name for any other firm into your application and it still makes sense, you haven’t you’re your application specific enough.
- Don’t be tempted to use text speak (eg, “pls giv me dis job”). Write in full sentences and do not abbreviate words. Equally, do not use emojis.
- Make sure that there is some way of keeping a record of your application, and if you are lucky enough to be invited back for interview, ensure that you have reread it and are familiar with what you said!
- Read through your completed application at least three times before you submit it. Talking up your “excellen eye for deetail” will not get you the vac scheme place. It’s always a good idea to get someone else to read it, as they’re more likely to spot mistakes or omissions.
- Use a sensible email address that you will be able to access throughout the recruitment period (not firstname.lastname@example.org).
Refer to LawCareers.Net’s comprehensive list of the 44 firm deadlines which fall on 31 January to make sure that you don’t miss the boat. But also be aware that many firms have deadlines in advance of and after 31 January, so check out which firms want what and when. Good luck!