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Top tips for training contract applications...

14 June 2011

Training Contract application season is now in full swing, so with help from my fellow trainees, I have put together 10 top tips that helped us through what can be a stressful time!

1. Research the firm you are applying to – look at the core values of the firm you are applying to, see what type of people they are looking for, and match those qualities to your own.

2. NEVER copy and paste! Let’s face it, it’s easy to copy and paste answers in application forms and to just change the firm’s name. This can be a dangerous tactic, and although it would save time, it can cost you an invite to an assessment day! Not only do you risk the answer becoming generic and irrelevant, but a typo can be copied time after time. Remember, HR teams are great at sniffing out a ‘copy and paste’ answer, so stay away from ‘Ctrl + V’!

3. Spellcheck – a simple but crucial point! Having sat at a computer screen for hours on end, it’s easy for a typo to slip in. If you can, print off your application before sending it, as sometimes it’s easier to spot an error this way!

4. Take your time – everyone knows time is precious in TC season, especially if you are sitting exams at the same time, but if you can, keep coming back to an application – refine your answers over time. This also makes it easier to spot mistakes!

5. Recruit a friend to read through your applications – perhaps tempt them with a drink in exchange for their time! You can ask for their opinion and they can spot anything that has slipped through your net.

6. Answer the question! Simple I know, but one of the most important things in an application. Make sure you tailor your answers and make them as relevant as you can.

7. Be yourself – Make sure you try to get your personality across in your application – the firm is looking for a person, not a robot!

8. Include all of your work experience – even if it isn’t legal. This can help to show your commercial awareness and your understanding of business.

9. Don’t forget the details! It’s easy to make a mistake when entering GCSE and A-Level grades – don’t fall into the trap! Double check them when you’ve finished.

10. Quality NOT quantity – Before you start applying, think of the types of firm you want to apply to. Many people fall down trying to apply to as many firms as possible, thinking they are increasing their odds of getting an invite to an assessment day. However, applying to hundreds of firms means you don’t have time to research the firms properly, and to really think about why you want to work there. It’s much better to target a specific group of firms, giving yourself the best chance possible to get in a really good application that’s audience specific and that stands out!

So, best of luck to you all, and I might be seeing some of you an assessment day soon!