With many summer work placements being cancelled or postponed, and the academic year drawing to a close, the question of how to develop the skills required to secure a Vacation Scheme or Training Contract may be on your mind. Here’s 7 ways to become a stronger applicant from home:
1. Online internships
Inside Sherpa has collaborated with leading international law firms, such as White & Case, to produce online internships. These provide insight into the lifecycle of a transaction and the role of a trainee in deals. They are also a great way to evidence your interest in commercial law and great preparation for typical vacation scheme tasks.
2. Apply to become a campus ambassador
Campus ambassadors organise and promote networking opportunities for students at their university for the firm that they represent. As a campus ambassador, you can build a rapport with a firm, placing you in a strong position to apply there. You also develop your organisation, communication and time management skills. Campus ambassador opportunities are advertised on firms’ websites. Make sure to check that you are eligible before applying: some firms only recruit from certain universities, and others require applicants to be going into their penultimate year of study. Firms such as Linklaters are recruiting now!
3. Get ahead on commercial awareness
Commercial awareness is a skill assessed heavily during the recruitment process. It means understanding how law firms and their clients operate. Get tips on how to develop your commercial awareness here.
4. Online tutoring
With schools being temporarily shut, many students in their first year of GCSEs and A-Levels are seeking online tuition. Tutoring allows you to improve your communication skills, emotional intelligence and empathy – while revisiting your favourite subjects at school.
5. Take up a new hobby
Just as law firms are constantly striving to improve their services, they are looking for candidates who want to develop themselves. Start playing a new instrument, learn a new language or pick up a new sport. This shows firms that you are self-motivated, disciplined and willing to try new things. If you’re results-driven like me, having a specific goal in mind helps. For example, I have started running during lockdown, and am currently training to run 10K. Take this further by identifying ways to continue to develop your new hobby post-lockdown, such as by electing to study the language you are learning alongside your degree.
In an increasingly saturated market, law firms have to innovate to remain competitive. Law firms therefore seek candidates with an innovative mindset. Establish a new society at your university. Set up a business. Create an initiative to support people during this pandemic. These all involve creative thinking, marketing, branding and building your network – key skills for a commercial lawyer.
7. Most importantly… look after yourself!
Many aspiring lawyers, myself included, feel the need to constantly be productive to get ahead in a competitive job market. That being said, it is important to prioritise our wellbeing and not put too much pressure on ourselves, particularly during these difficult and unprecedented times. The application process is demanding and requires resilience and perseverance. Start looking after yourself now, so that when the time comes, you are in the right frame of mind to apply.