Applying for training contracts

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APPLYING FOR TRAINING
CONTRACTS
24th May 2012
Jenny Keaveney, Careers & Employability Service
The slides from this presentation are available at
www.kent.ac.uk/careers/slides.htm
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The Job Market
Steps to getting a training contract
Finding out about firms
Choosing which firms to apply to
The selection process
What employers look for in applications
How to complete an application form
CVs and covering letters
THE JOB MARKET
• Highly competitive!
• Fewer training contracts and more
graduates competing for them
STEPS TO GETTING A
TRAINING CONTRACT
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Start early!
Do your research
Know which firms are recruiting now …
… and what they are looking for in
candidates
• Are they offering what you are looking
for in a firm?
• Meet the deadlines!
Timeline
APPLY FOR TRAINING CONTRACTS
(LARGE FIRMS)
SUMMER 2012
APPLY FOR LPC
OCT-NOV 2012
GRADUATE!
SUMMER 2013
START LPC
SEPT 2013
APPLY FOR TRAINING CONTRACTS AND/OR PARALEGAL WORK
(SMALLER FIRMS)
FINISH LPC
QUALIFY!
START TRAINING CONTRACT
SUMMER 2014
SUMMER 2016
FINDING OUT ABOUT FIRMS OFFERING
TRAINING CONTRACTS FOR 2014
Useful information sources:
• Target Law
• The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook
• Prospects Law
• Chambers & Partners Student Guide
Links to all the above from:
www.kent.ac.uk/careers/siteslaw.htm
NB: Many deadlines are at the end of July!
THE SELECTION PROCESS
Application Form
or
Curriculum Vitae
plus
Covering Letter
then
Interview
perhaps
Selection Centre
WHAT ARE EMPLOYERS LOOKING FOR ?
• Academic ability
• Awareness of what being a lawyer
involves
• Awareness of the environment in which
the firm/chambers and its clients
operate
• Motivation and commitment
• Competencies
COMPETENCIES
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Written communication
Verbal communication
Analytical and problem-solving skills
Teamworking
Working under pressure
TYPES OF EMPLOYER
APPLICATION FORMS
No application form
Just the facts
Autobiographical
Structured
Combination
“JUST THE FACTS”
 Much the same information as on a CV
 But don't underestimate them!
 There may be just one nasty question - but
this could be the decisive one!
for example:
“Why do you want to work for us?”
“What is your greatest achievement?”
WHY ARE YOU APPLYING TO US?
THE REAL QUESTION
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Have you prepared properly?
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Have you read the information we produce
for applicants, thought about what we are
seeking and what you have to offer us?
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Are you committed to this career?
SOME POSSIBLE ANSWERS
The firm's reputation among clients and as an employer
The opportunities it offers for training and career
development
Information you have gathered from reading the
business or legal press or searching the Internet
Information you have gathered from talking to people
who work for the firm, or its competitors
Personal experience of the firm, e.g. through a vacation
job or course
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
• Just one big section for everything beyond
the basic facts
• You will need to select the appropriate
information, decide how much weight to
give to each item and structure them into a
narrative
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
Example: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
"Please write about yourself in no more than 4000
characters [approx. 750 words]. You may wish to mention
any posts of responsibility held at school or subsequently,
any regular employment or other work experience, any
sporting or other achievements and any particular
interests and personal qualities which are relevant).
Please also state briefly why you are making this
application”
STRUCTURED APPLICATION FORMS
These work on the principle that:
PAST PERFORMANCE IS THE BEST PREDICTOR
OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE
The selector will therefore be seeking examples of
past behaviour that provide him/her with concrete
evidence that you have the necessary competences
to succeed in the job.
STRUCTURED
Look for evidence of the personal qualities which
you will need to do the job well
Example: Denton Wilde Sapte
Team working
a) Describe a time when you felt you contributed to
the success of a team.
b) What was your contribution to its success and
what did you learn?
THE REAL QUESTION
How do you get on with other people? What role
do you take in a group? Are you able to focus on
goals and targets?
Some possible examples:
• Putting on a drama or music production
 Planning a holiday with a group of friends
 A business game or “Young Enterprise” scheme
 Working in a fast-food restaurant
 Sports teams and university committees
CVs FOR APPLYING TO
LAW-RELATED EMPLOYERS
Personal details
Education and qualifications
Work experience
Interests
Practical skills
Referees
COVERING LETTERS
Introduce yourself:
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what are you applying for?
where did you hear about the firm?
Sell yourself:
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your
your
your
your
motivation
past experience
skills
knowledge of law/of this firm
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your ability to communicate effectively in writing!
Provide essential information:
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your availability
refer the reader on to your CV/form
What do firms say?
WHAT IF YOU CAN’T GET A
TRAINING CONTRACT?
• You don’t have to have a training contract
fixed up before you start the LPC
• Try and get work experience related to law,
such as paralegal or advisory work ….
• … but any kind of experience will help you
demonstrate people and/or business skills
and awareness
• You could take your LPC part-time while
working
WHAT IF YOU CAN’T GET A
TRAINING CONTRACT?
• “Most law graduates assume you have to find a legal job in
order to secure a training contract. Apply for anything
commercial or challenging and it will get you a foot onto the
job ladder. You may even find an alternative career! For
instance if employment law interests you, why not try the
recruitment industry? If you are interested in legal aid why
not volunteer on an ad hoc basis within a charity? You will
gain lots of transferable skills and insight into the market.”
FURTHER HELP AND INFORMATION
• Making Applications - Careers Advisory Service
booklet
• Video - Looking Good on Paper
• DVD - Your Job’s On-Line
• www.kent.ac.uk/careers/applic.htm
• www.prospects.ac.uk/job_application_advice.htm
• www.prospects.ac.uk/cvs.htm
• www.prospects.ac.uk/law_sector.htm
• www.gradjobsuncovered.com
• www.traineesolicitor.co.uk
• www.traineesolicitorsurgery.co.uk
FURTHER HELP AND INFORMATION
• What a training
contract means
• Choosing a firm
• Applications and
interviews
Available in Careers
Information Room
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING NOW
• Thinking about yourself:
– What you are good at
– What you enjoy doing
– What you want from your career
• Researching firms
• Noting deadlines
• Constructing a CV and/or preparing answers
to questions about your competencies
FURTHER HELP FROM THE C.E.S.
• Duty Careers Adviser:
– Checking application forms and CVs
– General help or advice on applications
– (almost!) any other questions
• Advice by phone or email
• See www.kent.ac.uk/ces/advice.html
for contact details
GOOD LUCK!
Careers and Employability Service
We are open all through
the vacation!
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm
Monday - Friday
http://www.kent.ac.uk/ces
[email protected]
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