A-Z of Training Contract Applications 2013

Posted by Stephen Gurman on 4 July 2013

Application deadlines are just around the corner, so here's an alphabetised list of tips for those of you in the thick of it all:

ABC blocks

A is for Attractive. Have you laid out your application carefully. Is it easy to read? First impressions are so important.

B is for Brilliant. You need to look like this - both academically and in everything else you do.

C is Check and check again. You've all heard the one about Attention to D for Detail. It's a big one. Really. No typos, no spelling mistakes, no grammar mistakes.

D - we've covered Detail, but we could start talking about D for dedication to your chosen career too. Make sure you demonstrate this on your app

. So many Es. Include Everything that they ask you for in Each part of the question - read the question carefully.

F. Is for Finish it before the deadline. You haven't got long, but even getting it in this week rather than next shows you are more prepared and motivated.

G is for Go for it. Yes, what have you got to lose?

H is for Happy, do you feel a genuine interest in the firms you are applying for? If so, a happy feeling should be seeping through.

I is for Interest. Do you really have a genuine Interest in corporate law or whatever you are interested in? You can't just say you do. You have to prove it. So, if you are saying "the firm's International Arbitration work is particularly appealing" don't forget to finish off by saying why it is so to YOU!

J is for Judgement. You need this as a lawyer, for e.g. what will you include, or won't you include in a letter, essay or conversation. You need to show good judgement in applications too.

K is for Killer App. Not the one on your phone, but the one you are making here.

Scratching Head

L is for Limits. Yes, keep to the word count. As a lawyer you have to explain complicated matters concisely. This time you are explaining another complicated concept - YOU - your achievements, motivations etc. Draft and redraft. Make every word count.

M is for Money. It might be a driver for you to work in corp/comm law for example, but don't make it your sole reason for applying. You may not write this - but if you think it - and can't think of another reason, it will come through on your form.

N is for Numbers of applications. A modest number of well thought out, carefully-targeted applications is the only way to go. On the other side, don't put all of your eggs in one or two baskets.

O is for obvious. Are you overlooking the obvious when considering what to put in your applications? Sometimes we've done brilliant things but don't acknowledge them as such. Reflect on all your experiences (part-time work, voluntary work etc.) and then include.

P is for Pressure. If you are feeling this, then take a break. Also, just turn your application form over and ask yourself "what am I really trying to communicate here.....have I done so, and could I make it more interesting?"

Q is for Quota. Yes, how many last minute applications are you doing? Go back to N for numbers here.

R is for Resilience. You need this to be a lawyer and you need it now.

S is for Simplicity. Applications which are beautifully and simply expressed are also Stylish. You need to write well to be a lawyer. No ambiguity. Make sure you use an appropriate choice of words and don't use jargon.

T is for Timing. Do not submit applications at the eleventh hour. Firms hate it.

U is for Urgent. Yes it is. But you know this.

V is for "Ctrl +v", otherwise known as the paste short-cut. Don't use this! Make sure that each application is targeted to the firm you are applying to.

W is for Weil, Gotshal and Manges and other unusual sounding names. Make sure you get the spelling and punctuation right!

X for X factor, make sure that you get your unique points across.

Y is for Yangtze River, if you're going to talk about your travelling try and think how you can talk about your experience in a way that's relevant to the firm you're applying to.

Z is the Zone. You need to get into this to get your applications done - spend a quality amount of time researching and writing applications - don't copy and paste answers or zip through them too quickly.

Good luck!

Pictures - Microsoft Clip Art

Topics: CVs and applications, law

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