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remembering the end goal...

14 February 2014

Being a trainee can be overwhelming at times, and it is easy to forget that you are effectively on a two year job interview. As a second year without time to count, the March qualifications can be a timely reminder to dust the cobwebs off your CV, reflect on the blur that is the last 18 months and start asking ‘what are the key things that I have achieved?’

Here are a few tips which should make this process easier, and have relevance to all stages of your training contract:

1. Ask questions, no matter how stupid they seem

That case you assisted on last September, the one which seemed to take over your life for weeks. You remember the late nights and early mornings, the coffee cups swamping your desk, but do you remember the detail or the reasons behind the course of action that was taken? Sometimes, being a trainee means focusing on the minutiae and missing the big picture. Taking time to ask questions and get to grips with it will not only aid your understanding but will also give you the confidence to be quizzed on it at interview. A key benefit of working at Browne Jacobson is the approachability of your colleagues and how generous they are with their time.

2. Don’t leave it to the last minute

Yes it’s obvious, but you will be surprised how quickly qualification comes round and trawling back over 18 months of trainee diary to pull out the best bits can seem an insurmountable task. Keeping a note of them as you go along will ensure that nothing is missed and draw your attention to any gaps before it is too late.

3. Get involved

Identified a gap in your CV? Consider what you can do to fill it, and if you see an opportunity, take it. You could be surprised how much control you have over your own training, so don’t be afraid to speak up and offer assistance on a particular deal or case that interests you. It is useful to get involved in non-work related activities too, such as running for a post on the Nottinghamshire Junior Lawyers Division, or being a mentor to local students.

4. Get advice

Not sure which area you want to qualify into, or finding it hard to decide where which seat you should choose next? If you are struggling to objectively evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, speak to those who supervise you to find out where they think your skills would suit. Or if you have an interest in a particular area, schedule coffee with someone in the team to find out more about what it’s like day-to-day.

5. Keep calm and carry on

I’m not suggesting that you are in a big brother style environment with your actions being monitored every minute by HR, but being self-aware and appreciating how your actions and attitude could be perceived is essential. Supervisors talk, and leaving them with positive things to say about you can make all the difference.