Picture this scenario, and this shouldn’t be too difficult for you law students out there: you have just started your first year at university. There comes an opportunity to apply for a work placement. You’re putting together your resume and writing about your job at the local shop.
A few weeks later, you are called in for an interview. They start asking you about what activities you’ve been involved in outside of school and if you have had any relevant practical experience.
So, you have worked at the local shop and made it through secondary school and the A-levels. That is a good achievement on its own; but how do you stand out from the 80 other applicants in this moment? Those applicants may well have done the same. In this article we will have a look at which measures you can take to distinguish your CV.
If your law school is doing competitions like mooting, negotiation and mediation, join them. Don’t worry about your lack of knowledge about law as the second and third years who judge them know very well that you have just begun your first year and won’t know very much about it.
You’ll get to practice your debating and researching skills, as well as having a go at arguing in a mock courtroom.
Participating in these competitions can give you an idea of what kind of internship you want to apply for in your later years as well. There are students at my year who is already finding out if they favour the direction of barrister or solicitor simply by doing the negotiation and mooting competitions.
2. Apply for Work Experience
As a first-year law student, the opportunities for pro bono work and internships you receive in your e-mail might be overwhelming. However, taking on some of those opportunities already will aid your applications for work experience.
Remember, you will never have more time on your hands than in your first year of your law degree. Be brave enough to try to get some practical experience already.
It will aid you in your legal studies as well. By working with law in a practical manner you will understand the theory behind it better. After all, applying the theory to practical work may help your studies more than just reading about it in the books.
3. Find Non-Legal Extracurriculars
Do something that is not law-related. Allow yourself to take some time off law. Get involved in a society; you can show off your leadership skills by starting your own.
Employers want to see that you have had a life outside of law as well. If you’ve spent all your three years buried in law books, you won’t have anything new to bring to the firm. Social skills are crucial to have as a lawyer as well. Acquiring those skills is not always prioritised by law students, but it should be.
Getting involved with non-law societies will further develop your people skills and gain other valuable skills. Creativity, confidence and organisational skills are all important skills for employers. You do not have to do a law-related activity to develop those skills.
To have acquired experiences like these will help you stand out at that interview. It will help them remember you and prove that you can provide skills that others may not. Not only this, but you’ll feel more equipped to take on the job.
The most important thing to take away from this is that you don’t have to do a vacation scheme to enhance your CV. You just need to show that you have taken initiative and done something practical outside of your legal studies.
Do you want a training contract or a vacation scheme? Our Training Contract and Vacation Scheme Conference, in partnership with BPP University Law School, will provide you with all the knowledge and skills you need to ace your applications and impress every interviewer – for only £5!