Published on April 20, 2018 by isabellaford

There’s a lot of advice out there about how to get a training contract. But what are you currently doing at the moment that you may not realise is holding you back?

Take a look at our latest blog post to find out the five things that are most likely preventing you from obtaining your training contract.

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1. Worrying

Worry leads to procrastination, procrastination must be avoided! If you are worrying rather than doing then you will worry more about what you haven’t been doing. Vicious cycle, isn’t it?

Remember that you’ve gotten this far. Perhaps you have graduated already or perhaps you just started university but these are great achievements.  The fact that you are here reading this proves that you care and have the drive to achieve your goals.

Don’t be disheartened if you have already been rejected from various training contracts or vacation schemes; I met a trainee who applied three times for her position before it became reality.

2. Applying for too many at once

You just can’t put the required effort into one of these applications if you are focusing on anything else! Take them one at a time, and you should be spending a good amount of time on them.

It’s just the same as the assignments we all had to do: we know they come out best when all of our focus is on one submission at a time.

Similarly, don’t leave your applications too late. If you submit near the deadline, you will be one of potentially hundreds at once, whereas if you send it in much earlier, the recruitment team may appreciate it more without so many others to go through still.

Fancy finding out what Clifford Chance trainee Kishan says is another “big mistake” that applicants make? Take a look at the interview in our guide Clifford Chance: Training Contract Tips!

3. Overloading yourself

Everyone needs to take a break. If you never give yourself time to pause you will find stress builds up pretty quickly.

If you allocate a certain amount of time per day to work on an application, when that time is done you can properly relax. Whereas if you do not have a plan, you will feel constant pressure to work, just like for exams.

Let others help you! I am sure you know a few people in the same position as you right now who perhaps are not applying for a training contract, but for a job in their own industry. I’ll bet they’d appreciate someone reading over their application just as much as you would, so why not offer to swap with your friend so you can get fresh perspective on your work and have a nice break from your application by reading something fresh.  

Remember to access the help available around you as well, so if you are at university still then use their services, or if you are not, check anyway! You might find they are still willing to support you in your endeavours.

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4. Assuming your degree is enough

A degree by itself often isn’t enough to secure a training contract anymore; you need to have other skills and activities to prove you are capable of the job you are applying for here.

Even if you get a first-class degree, if someone with a 2:1 applies for the same space and has multiple work experiences (not necessarily in law), volunteering roles or society experience AND they’ve been attending the networking events, it is much more likely that if it came down to the two of you your opponent would have the upper hand!

We all know law is incredibly competitive, so you need to go beyond your degree in any way you can. Some simple tips include: joining or running a society, volunteering once a week, running revision or study sessions for your peers and getting a part-time job.

Find out more on networking with our popular blog post on How to Network: 12 Pro Tips for Standing Out!

5. Avoiding networking

Networking is intimidating, and it can be easy to keep putting off applying for and going to open days and fairs with the logic that you will always have time for it later. The truth it you have never networked enough, so use the spare time you can to try and do some at least once a month.

This includes contacting people on LinkedIn – if you don’t have an account yet make it now – or in directories of websites aimed to help you! It can even be worth simply sending an email to a few local firms to see if you can have a chat with some of their employees, maybe you will even get some work experience out of it.

Networking will be more effective the more you do it, so if you are avoiding it because you don’t want to mess up visiting your favourite firm, then try going to a few others to practice.

It is possible your university runs its own networking events; for example, mine does a wine and cheese night, as well as running a careers fair once a year (it’s worth noting that we aren’t a Russell Group university either).

It is never too early to start networking, I wouldn’t have gotten many of my opportunities and positions within university without accessing a few networks and having little conversations with professionals, and that includes my tutors! Most of yours probably had positions in law before they became lecturers.

You’ve clearly come here today because you want a training contract – therefore, we’ve compiled a list of some of our top training contract blog posts for you to read after this one!

Published: 20/04/18       Author: Sarah Wilkinson


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