Training contract applications: your love letter to a law firm

Dear Oracle

How do I make my training contract application stand out from the thousands of others that my preferred firms will receive?

The Oracle replies

Your application should, as LCN's recruiter friends always tell us, be a "love letter to that firm". It should be the embodiment of your ardent desire to work at that particular firm and nowhere else (even though in reality, everyone knows that you’ll be pursuing other potential employers). And you need to pitch yourself as the perfect partner, which means emphasising your assets and declaring why you and that firm should be together. Your application should be deliberately boastful - if you're not slightly embarrassed reading it back (or reading it out loud to a friend), then you haven't done it right. Although, equally, we warn against demonstrations of extreme arrogance. There is a fine line between the two and you need to position yourself on the right side of it.

In your love letter you should be including clear examples of the impressive qualities you claim to possess. For example, it is not enough to say that you are a good team member. You must offer evidence of when you have proved yourself to be so. Sport? Mooting? Choir? Checkout operator? Importantly, these examples should be taken from your extracurricular activities, not your academic life. Everyone who is applying for a training contract has been to university and secured good grades - you need to talk about things that you've done that weren't compulsory!

For more sound application advice, check out our features on how to demonstrate the key skills that every recruiter wants to see, best practice when completing online applications and all-round top tips to get ahead.

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