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Is there something fundamentally flawed in my application? (TCs) Watch

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    Have you ever worked a proper job before? I had a significant amount of success (I didn't get a TC but I was really close with three top 50 firms) and what I can tell from your stats is that they are good....but that's it. What is your USP? Have you ever supported yourself? How can you claim to be commercially aware? What is going to make you stand out against the hoards? They all have what you have in essence, plus more.
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    (Original post by Nordic)
    Have you ever worked a proper job before? I had a significant amount of success (I didn't get a TC but I was really close with three top 50 firms) and what I can tell from your stats is that they are good....but that's it. What is your USP? Have you ever supported yourself? How can you claim to be commercially aware? What is going to make you stand out against the hoards? They all have what you have in essence, plus more.
    Thanks for the reply, I worked at one of the largest department stores in the UK for 3 months during the Christmas period (it was only a temp contract). I haven't had any jobs since then though, so maybe that is what is letting me down. I have been worrying that I don't really have a USP to separate me from the thousands of other applications, but I suppose I am struggling to find something that would fit that criteria.

    I've been trying to show commercial awareness through applications, e.g. showing appreciation of trends in the legal market and current changes in the commercial sector.
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    (Original post by Rtxox)
    Thanks for the reply, I worked at one of the largest department stores in the UK for 3 months during the Christmas period (it was only a temp contract). I haven't had any jobs since then though, so maybe that is what is letting me down. I have been worrying that I don't really have a USP to separate me from the thousands of other applications, but I suppose I am struggling to find something that would fit that criteria.

    I've been trying to show commercial awareness through applications, e.g. showing appreciation of trends in the legal market and current changes in the commercial sector.
    It's something but not enough. I am being a bit blunt but I'm sure you rather have that then some false validation. What you need to do is something different. So for my personal applications: I owned a small business, I ran a £500,000 business when the owner was away for a few months, I've moved countries, and I have another degree. I'm only in my mid twenties. So other than blowing my own horn, you need to find something to blow your horn about. Start a journal, start a society, do something different and exciting.
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    (Original post by Nordic)
    It's something but not enough. I am being a bit blunt but I'm sure you rather have that then some false validation. What you need to do is something different. So for my personal applications: I owned a small business, I ran a £500,000 business when the owner was away for a few months, I've moved countries, and I have another degree. I'm only in my mid twenties. So other than blowing my own horn, you need to find something to blow your horn about. Start a journal, start a society, do something different and exciting.
    Your bluntness is appreciated as hearing the weaknesses in my application is the only way I can try and improve. Your credentials are impressive, and I do not have anything similar. I was once told that applications need to have a 'hook' that will make recruitment want to interview you so they can ask about it, I'm guessing that due to my lack of it that I come across as a generic, bland law applicant. Thank you for your help.
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    (Original post by Rtxox)
    Your bluntness is appreciated as hearing the weaknesses in my application is the only way I can try and improve. Your credentials are impressive, and I do not have anything similar. I was once told that applications need to have a 'hook' that will make recruitment want to interview you so they can ask about it, I'm guessing that due to my lack of it that I come across as a generic, bland law applicant. Thank you for your help.
    I think you nailed it exactly. Unfortunately it's not an easy fix. You still have the summer to get something going. Even doing some bar work or something consistent will help. If nothing else it will improve your answers to the inevitable "tell me about a time when...."
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    I would agree with the above.

    You don't say what your pro bono is??? Presumably it must be something to do with law??

    But yes - I think you probably sound on paper like hundreds of other applicants. I would perhaps suggest taking some time to do this - make yourself stand out - you are pretty much at the start anyway - check out the profiles of successful trainee sols at the kind of firms you like to see what they do.

    Get another paid job! I am a career changer applicant, and one of the big things that stands out to me about the vast majority of law students is that they don't have any experience at all of working in an office environment with all that that entails. You know, getting on with people in offices is important.

    Look to charities to get some interesting experience - i find law students are - understandably - fixated on VS at law firms, but the reality is that there are dozens of charities out there, doing legal-esque work in legal fields trying to get volunteers. You have the time to commit now, so route out a couple of this type of option - try to get some sort of experience at the 'sharp end' of something - working in some way with clients who are in distressing circs. Go do something hairy with crime or victims or something. Do something that frightens you. This way you will learn and develop some skills, and something to talk about.

    You might want to consider some sort of low level business enterprise - how could you raise a thousand quid for charity, say, in a different way? EVERYONE does cycle rides, climbs mountains etc. What could you do? You need some sort of out-there scheme to build the kind of skills lawyers like - tenacity, people skills, persuation, networking, all this - you are more likely to build commercial awareness skills setting up your own soup stall on the market than you will reading the legal press.

    Also, you are prob still getting the hang of writing TC apps - you will improve and learn as you go along.

    Don't be disheartened - go do something you WANT to do rather than something that looks good on the CV. Passion is good for making people want to talk to you - but you might have to put yourself out there a bit.



    (Original post by Rtxox)
    Hi there,

    I know these threads are annoying but I was just wondering if anybody would be able to offer some help. I have been applying for Training contracts and have so far already received two rejections pre-interview. My careers service at university is not particularly good and I was wondering if somebody could tell me if maybe a career at a city law firm is an unrealistic goal for me? I also applied for vacation schemes earlier this year but was rejected pre-interview for all of them.

    Background:
    A*A*A at A-level
    Top 10 University for law
    63 average first year, 66 average second year
    Good extra-circulars (committee work, charity work, pro bono, travel)
    I put in a lot of hours research for applications and also proof-read them and get them checked by someone else before submitting.

    The area I think I am lacking is my work experience. I only have my pro bono and 4 x first year open days (2 MC, 1SC and 1mid-size London firm). I have tried to get work experience in law for years in my hometown and have constantly been told that work experience isn't available informally without contacts (I have none), and I was unsuccessful in securing a vac scheme.

    Is the lack of work experience mean my application is unlikely to ever advance past interview stage?
    Sorry for the long thread, I would appreciate any help.
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    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    I would agree with the above.

    You don't say what your pro bono is??? Presumably it must be something to do with law??

    But yes - I think you probably sound on paper like hundreds of other applicants. I would perhaps suggest taking some time to do this - make yourself stand out - you are pretty much at the start anyway - check out the profiles of successful trainee sols at the kind of firms you like to see what they do.

    Get another paid job! I am a career changer applicant, and one of the big things that stands out to me about the vast majority of law students is that they don't have any experience at all of working in an office environment with all that that entails. You know, getting on with people in offices is important.

    Look to charities to get some interesting experience - i find law students are - understandably - fixated on VS at law firms, but the reality is that there are dozens of charities out there, doing legal-esque work in legal fields trying to get volunteers. You have the time to commit now, so route out a couple of this type of option - try to get some sort of experience at the 'sharp end' of something - working in some way with clients who are in distressing circs. Go do something hairy with crime or victims or something. Do something that frightens you. This way you will learn and develop some skills, and something to talk about.

    You might want to consider some sort of low level business enterprise - how could you raise a thousand quid for charity, say, in a different way? EVERYONE does cycle rides, climbs mountains etc. What could you do? You need some sort of out-there scheme to build the kind of skills lawyers like - tenacity, people skills, persuation, networking, all this - you are more likely to build commercial awareness skills setting up your own soup stall on the market than you will reading the legal press.

    Also, you are prob still getting the hang of writing TC apps - you will improve and learn as you go along.

    Don't be disheartened - go do something you WANT to do rather than something that looks good on the CV. Passion is good for making people want to talk to you - but you might have to put yourself out there a bit.
    Thanks for the reply, my pro bono was working in a local law clinic. Thank you for your advice, I'll definitely look into legal volunteering in a charity context.

    Yeah I've been thinking about doing something business orientated as I know firms love to see knowledge of how a business works and how what their clients want.
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    Your academics are fine. How many applications have you made? When firms are receiving in the region of 50 to 150 applications per place, it stands to reason that you need to make quite a lot of applications (all of good quality of course) just to increase your chances.
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    (Original post by Rtxox)
    Hi there,

    I know these threads are annoying but I was just wondering if anybody would be able to offer some help. I have been applying for Training contracts and have so far already received two rejections pre-interview. My careers service at university is not particularly good and I was wondering if somebody could tell me if maybe a career at a city law firm is an unrealistic goal for me? I also applied for vacation schemes earlier this year but was rejected pre-interview for all of them.

    Background:
    A*A*A at A-level
    Top 10 University for law
    63 average first year, 66 average second year
    Good extra-circulars (committee work, charity work, pro bono, travel)
    I put in a lot of hours research for applications and also proof-read them and get them checked by someone else before submitting.

    The area I think I am lacking is my work experience. I only have my pro bono and 4 x first year open days (2 MC, 1SC and 1mid-size London firm). I have tried to get work experience in law for years in my hometown and have constantly been told that work experience isn't available informally without contacts (I have none), and I was unsuccessful in securing a vac scheme.

    Is the lack of work experience mean my application is unlikely to ever advance past interview stage?
    Sorry for the long thread, I would appreciate any help.

    Sorry to hear you're not having much luck. Unfortunately the lack of a USP is something common to many of the outstanding applicants I know. If it's a City law firm TC you want, you need something which makes you stand out, because there are just too many AAA/2.1 law applicants (sad but true). I feel that my path to TC was definitely helped by languages and international experience, and if any of my friends were ever to ask me for career advice, I would say learn a language, go abroad, do something people want to ask you about.

    Lots of good advice been given so far in the thread.

    One point though: as far as I understand it, volunteering for a charity/free law clinic, etc. is great for law students to build confidence, or for those going to the high street/Bar. I just feel that, already having this under your belt, more of this is not going to give you any greater advantage at a City firm. Obviously they do care about pro bono and will be happy to see it on your app (and any experience is better than none), but in this crucial period, you need to get relevant, transferable, commercial experience. Whether this is at a commercial law firm, or within a company is irrelevant; the only way you are going to be able to convince a recruiter that this is the career for you is to have had a taste for it.

    You need to be able to abandon your reserve and get creative with your search for experience. Talk to anyone who will listen, join your school/uni alumni groups and comb LinkedIn for potential contacts who went to your uni. Many people say 'I have no contacts', but to put it bluntly, you need to be proactive and unashamedly forward. This is how I got my first contacts in the industry, and even if they can't offer you experience, they can give you advice, put you in touch with other people, etc. People like talking about themselves and their careers, and people like giving advice.
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    (Original post by Crumpet1)
    Your academics are fine. How many applications have you made? When firms are receiving in the region of 50 to 150 applications per place, it stands to reason that you need to make quite a lot of applications (all of good quality of course) just to increase your chances.
    I made around 15 for Vac schemes and am planning on making around 12-15 for TCs (already done some). Do you think this is a good number or do you suggest 15+? Thanks for the help!

    (Original post by eumelembro)
    Sorry to hear you're not having much luck. Unfortunately the lack of a USP is something common to many of the outstanding applicants I know. If it's a City law firm TC you want, you need something which makes you stand out, because there are just too many AAA/2.1 law applicants (sad but true). I feel that my path to TC was definitely helped by languages and international experience, and if any of my friends were ever to ask me for career advice, I would say learn a language, go abroad, do something people want to ask you about.

    Lots of good advice been given so far in the thread.

    One point though: as far as I understand it, volunteering for a charity/free law clinic, etc. is great for law students to build confidence, or for those going to the high street/Bar. I just feel that, already having this under your belt, more of this is not going to give you any greater advantage at a City firm. Obviously they do care about pro bono and will be happy to see it on your app (and any experience is better than none), but in this crucial period, you need to get relevant, transferable, commercial experience. Whether this is at a commercial law firm, or within a company is irrelevant; the only way you are going to be able to convince a recruiter that this is the career for you is to have had a taste for it.

    You need to be able to abandon your reserve and get creative with your search for experience. Talk to anyone who will listen, join your school/uni alumni groups and comb LinkedIn for potential contacts who went to your uni. Many people say 'I have no contacts', but to put it bluntly, you need to be proactive and unashamedly forward. This is how I got my first contacts in the industry, and even if they can't offer you experience, they can give you advice, put you in touch with other people, etc. People like talking about themselves and their careers, and people like giving advice.
    Yeah I think the lack of USP is what is preventing me from getting to interview it seems! Thanks for the advice about languages and going abroad, I agree they do make you sound interesting and would be handy for demonstrating my interest in an international firm.

    I feel the lack of any vacation schemes is really hindering my app for TCs atm, but I plan to apply to some of the winter/spring ones next year (that are open to final year law) and hope to secure one to add some experience to my application. I am also going to see if I can get a part-time job to get that transferable commercial experience you mention.

    Thanks for the advice about contacts, I'll see if I can find anything along the routes you suggested.

    Thank you for your help, much appreciated!
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    (Original post by Rtxox)
    I made around 15 for Vac schemes and am planning on making around 12-15 for TCs (already done some). Do you think this is a good number or do you suggest 15+? Thanks for the help!
    As many as you can, whilst keeping them well researched and good quality.
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    Every summer I work, as it keeps my mind busy. It's been interesting as law firms seem to have taken notice of me only after I hit a lot of work experience in law (my grades are not as good as yours, btw).

    Try to find a legal gig right now, and if you can't, start handing out your CV to smaller lesser known firms and say you'll work for them for nothing.

    Think about transferable skills when making a case for yourself.
 
 
 
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