Kiran, a trainee solicitor in the firm's Manchester office, shares her top tips for drafting an awesome application form that will help you stand out to recruiters, and bag you a training contract.
Your training contract application is a chance for the Graduate Recruitment team to get to know you and to understand why you want to become a solicitor at Shoosmiths. As a result you need to get your personality across, show your interests and demonstrate that Shoosmiths will be the right fit for you and you for Shoosmiths. I've come up with a few tips to bear in mind when drafting your applications which will help you stand out.
Plan your answers
It's very easy to jump straight in and begin to answer a question without thinking about what it's actually asking. One of the ways to avoid this is to break the question down, think about what it is asking and then decide how you are going to respond to each part - this will ensure you answer all of the question. It also allows you to decide which examples you will use for each question before you start drafting your response. As the word count is limited, try to use one example per question so that you can provide more focussed information. Planning your answers will also enable you to draft clear and structured responses.
A common misconception is that non-legal work experience is not relevant to applications for a training contract. Many skills can be transferred from these roles to a role of a solicitor. Think about the experience you have and the skills that you obtained from it and then think about how it will help your day to day role in a law firm. Some of the skills that are readily transferable include organisation, enthusiasm, resilience and teamwork.
Use your experiences to support your responses. Try to give different examples for each question to showcase your experience. Shoosmiths are looking for well-rounded individuals, this is your chance to demonstrate that you have more than good academics. Remember to always link your response back to why it will make you a good solicitor at Shoosmiths and our values.
Tailor your application
Many applicants tend to apply to numerous firms with generic answers rather than a select few firms with tailored applications. Your application will stand out if you incorporate your research of the firm into your answers, this includes the firm's strategy, culture, clients and practice areas. Shoosmiths' culture underpins all that we do, this is based on our four values which are: being within reach and responsive, talking business sense, pulling together and taking initiative. Use the information that we post on social media and our website so that you can gain an understanding of the firm, the deals that we have been involved in and our experiences as trainees. Your research will allow you to explain why you want to work at Shoosmiths and why it is the best fit for you.
Attention to detail
This is a key skill and one which you should show throughout your application. Read your application several times prior to submitting it to ensure that it makes sense, answers the question and is free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It's often a good idea to leave it for a day or two and come back to it because you can miss the obvious. It is also easier to spot mistakes when you have a paper copy in front of you.
Good luck with your application!
The deadlines to apply are:
30th June 2018 - Training Contracts to commence in September 2020
30th November 2018 - Insight Evening taking place in January & February 2019
28th February 2019 - Summer Placement Work Experience taking place in June 2019
30th June 2019 - Training Contracts to commence in September 2020
to start your Shoosmiths application today.