There are certain skills that firms are looking for that you will need to demonstrate that you have both in your application and at interview. The table I have compiled is by no means exhaustive, nor will you be expected to show that you have acquired in some way every single one of these skills, but it should help give you an idea of the kind of characteristics they will be looking for in potential trainees.
In your applications for vacation schemes and training contracts you will need to link your experiences to certain skills in order to show that you are a) aware of the kind of skills a lawyer needs to have and b) you are aware of how you acquired these skills and in what kind of situations they are useful.
How do I talk about these kinds of skills in my application?
Often, the questions law firms ask you on your application will ask for a time when you worked in a team, or a time when you dealt with a challenge, or another type of skill. The important thing is to concisely write about how you used the mentioned skill along with other skills, and how this is relevant to becoming a lawyer.
Use the table above when you’re completing your application and think about the ways you’ve demonstrated that you have these skills in your application.Would graduate recruitment be able to tell from your application that you have developed a range of comprehensive and useful skills, or have they only learnt about one skill you think you have? If so, go back and edit! It’s your chance to sell yourself to the firm so don’t underestimate the importance of flaunting your talents. The application is really hard because it can seem really impersonal. I was left wondering how they would know enough about me to call me for interview, and because there is actually only a select amount of information they want to know about you, you have to use it wisely.
Finally, here are my top tips for showing your skills on applications
- Use examples! Lawyers love evidence
- Show critical thinking by asking these two questions:Why do you think the skills you have are useful?
- How did the skills in question help you to complete a project/event successfully?
- Is there something you would do better for the future, or a skill you would like to work on to add to your repetoire?
If you’re looking for ways to develop skills and experience for law, check out my post on Using Non-law work Experience in Applications.