Editor’s weekly: Selling yourself short

With the deadline for submitting training contract applications now passed all you can do is keep your fingers crossed and hope that you’re one of the lucky few to get through to the next round.

Especially because as we reported earlier today (12 August) a number of the top law firms say that they’ve witnessed a surge in applications (read more).

What’s more graduate recruiters claim that the standard of applications is very high this year. That said, there were plenty of poor quality entries, which contained more than just the odd typo. Indeed, if there were a prize for the worst application ever it would have to go to the student who thought sending a DVD of herself would make her application stand out. Unfortunately, the main thing we noticed was the classic schoolboy error of addressing the wrong firm and the cheesy music. And just in case any of you are thinking of doing the same avoid zooming in – it won’t do you any favours even if you look like Naomi Campbell.

Another way not to sell yourself on an application form is by saying that losing your virginity is your single greatest achievement. If I were you I’d stick to something more straightforward such as winning a major award or organising a successful fundraising event. And don’t forget employers aren’t necessarily interested in the achievement per se rather the methods used to execute it and how you dealt with any hurdles that came your way.

Admittedly, it’s absolutely crucial in such a competitive jobs market to think of ways to make your application stand out. But often spending an extra hour researching an employer and then going through your form with a fine tooth comb to ensure your answers are well structured will pay greater dividends than taking a more novel approach.

So if I were you I’d ditch those homemade business cards and focus your efforts on boosting your commercial awareness by keeping a regular eye on the financial press and indeed Lawyer2B.com. That way, if you are invited for an interview you won’t end up selling yourself short and then having to face the dreaded rejection letter.