Editor’s weekly: Apply yourself

I wasn’t planning on sending out my email on how to perfect your application forms until next month. But with the competition for training contracts continuing to intensify and with some firms bringing application deadlines forward I strongly recommend that you get your forms in well before the traditional 31 July deadline.

Application forms are the first point of contact you’ll have with a potential future employer so it’s really important to get them right.

Indeed, with some firms receiving in excess of 2,000 applications for just a handful of vacancies a poor application is likely to go straight in the bin, especially in this market. So if you don’t want yours to suffer the same fate then have a read of our Application Forms survival guide (read article).

In a nutshell the key to filling in the perfect application form is to pay attention to detail. Make sure your form doesn’t have any spelling mistakes – that includes the spelling of the firm’s name. Another top tip is to avoid regurgitating the firm’s graduate recruitment brochure or website such as listing off the deals it has been advising on as firms already know how great they are.

On the same token, don’t do what one candidate did and rip off a song from a West End musical and adapt the words to describe how great the firm was.

Indeed, other things that are best avoided include enclosing presents with your application form or pictures of you posing like a cover girl. References to sex are another no-go area, so don’t do what one student did when she was asked to describe her greatest achievement she wrote losing her virginity. All of these examples might sound a bit far-fetched, but I promise you they’re all true.

But seriously, treat every application you complete like an exam and you’ll have a very good chance of securing an interview. Good luck.


PS – also when communicating with law firms via email don’t do what I mistakenly did when I emailed a student contact earlier this week and sign off with kisses – I felt like a complete idiot!