The days are getting shorter and it’s getting colder. Christmas is fast approaching and with it the end of term. It’s definitely time to take a well-earned break.
It can be tempting to completely switch off. However, don’t doze off just yet! Read our advice to those applying for training contracts and learn how to stay on top of your applications over the holiday period.
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Many deadlines are approaching. A number of vacation scheme applications (for summer and spring), as well as some training contract applications close after 31st January, and a number of applications close in December itself.
Some firms such as Sidley Austin and Herbert Smith Freehills are increasingly trying to recruit exclusively through their vacation schemes so you must check this when you are making the decision of applying to vacation schemes or applying directly.
To make sure you do not miss these deadlines, take a note of the firms you want to apply to and check the relevant deadlines. You can take this information down on paper or take a note of it online.
Alternatively, there are many websites you can use to keep track of the deadlines. The Lawyer Portal itself has useful information on deadlines and applying to firms, and other websites you might use are Chambers Student and Lawcareers.Net. You may also find it useful to actually have a hard copy of Chambers Student at hand.
One aspect of applications that undoubtedly puts people off is that firms often ask similar-sounding questions. You cannot always use exactly the same answer for each application. Firms dislike it if they get the impression that you have not actually tailored your answer. You may therefore feel that you need to start from scratch each time, and this takes time.
However, this isn’t always necessary. Despite the differences that exist between the firms you might be considering, there are undoubtedly similarities in what they look for. Firms will always want to know what skills you can transfer: teamwork, communicating with others, attention to detail to name but a few. You could therefore consider saving the answers you write for firms in one place (a word document, a google doc, dropbox for example).
You can save time by just referring to answer you have already written. For example, if you are asked to demonstrate the time you worked in a team, you could pull that answer out of your answer bank. You would then only spend time on tweaking your answer to make sure you’ve answered the specific question that firm has asked. For instance, you might receive a question asking you to demonstrate team-working skills and asking what you learned from those experiences. By building an answer bank, you can save time by simply referring back to your stored details and answer this question easily.
Building on the last point, another source of pain is having to enter information about all those exams you took in university or school. This is very time consuming and especially off-putting during the holidays.
As with the questions, have one place you store this information. Try to put together a document storing all your information about grades and details about your school, university and where you took the GDL and/or LPC. This will help you later on when you need to refer back to all these details in your applications.
You should only then spend time on answering the main questions and possibly writing about your work experience.
Your plans might include spending time with the family which may include travelling. There is also shopping for gifts and catching up with friends. Possibly exam revision and completing of assessments that are due. On top of that job applications.
It can all start to feel like too much and that is natural. Make sure you take regular breaks so that you don’t end up being completely exhausted, as that will impact the quality of your applications and revision. For more guidance, it might be a good idea to read our other tips about relaxing during the holidays.
Happy holidays and good luck!
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