Training Contract Journey
*Deep breath* So, mark the day, 5th July 2013, the day I pressed ‘submit’ on the majority of my training contract applications (there are 2 outstanding due to a query I am making).
I am now officially on the hunt for an elusive training contract with the firms to whom I have applied.
*Braces for (rejection) impact*.
This journey hasn’t been without its trials and tribulations. When I first began researching for contracts late last year my immediate thought consisted of ‘John, you have no chance, after two years of law school you’re going to find yourself in the one place you never wanted to be – the dole queue’.
But as The Fray once sang, ‘You can never say never’. Or, if you’re a ‘belieber’, Justin Bieber also sang a similar phrase. So I decided that, whilst I am prepared for the worst, a rejection is not the end of the road.
I have selected seven firms, which I have fully tailored. Now, I can hear some of you gasping after reading that sentence either because you are applying to many more than that and think I have made a very ‘un-strategic’ (not a real word) move by applying to so few, or because you haven’t applied to as many as that (?). It is all about you and your personal preferences. I know some people who have told me they applied to more than 10 firms and still didn’t get a contract but hey, who knows what fate has in store for me.
One thing I found helpful was that most of the applications were similar in structure so I got through the basic sections, such as ‘work experience’, ‘education’ and ‘interests’ quite fast. I have spent several months then tailoring the applications to each firm. It is important to show you are genuinely interested in the firm and would genuinely be proud to be an employee of the firm.
The biggest obstacle for me was, and still is, my fear that my applications aren’t good enough and that they will all opt for first class students. Now, whenever anyone tells me that I am ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’ I always refute that. ‘Smart’, to me, would be someone who gets 95-100% in all of their exams, which I have not. I am confident that I am perfectly capable of a career in law; it is all I have wanted to do since Year 10, but ‘smart’ I am not.
All I can do now is sit and wait. Within the next several weeks and months, I hope to be able to utter the words ‘I have a training contract’ to you and give you an insight into my journey through assessments days, interviews and the general selection process, minus the firm secrets and confidential information. I shan’t be doing what one person did, as reported in the legal news recently, and set up a website revealing such details!
Spend time tailoring your application to your firm, incorporating recent deals they have been involved in into your answers and stating why you’re capable of such work. Also, choose firms that you are genuinely interested in, recruiters aren’t stupid and will know if you’re just applying for the sake of it.