Vacation Scheme Application Tips

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Vacation Scheme Application Tips

Vacation schemes are brilliant opportunities for penultimate and final-year university students to gain valuable work experience at law firms. These one to two weeklong internships usually take place either in Spring, Summer, or Winter. Vacation schemes are known to be competitive, and the application process can be arduous. This article is going to give you tips on how you can perfect your application so you can land your dream vacation scheme.

Tip 1 - Be Realistic

Realistically, no one can apply to every vacation scheme available. You need to ask yourself what areas of law interest you, and what type of firm you potentially want to work for. Compile a list of these firms and decide how many applications you think you are capable of writing. Stay organised and note down important dates; when applications open and their respective deadlines. Being selective with the firms you apply to, will ensure your applications are of high quality. It is important to remember that quality is far better than quantity.

Tip 2 - Conduct Thorough Research

‘Why are you interested in applying to this firm’? is a question law firms often ask vacation scheme applicants. When answering this question, avoid making generic statements that can be said about any law firm. For example, simply saying that you want to work in a multijurisdictional law firm can be applicable to most major law firms. If you can replace a firm’s name with another firm, and your answer still makes sense – you know you are not being specific enough. Make sure your answers are specific to the firm you are applying to and use figures or data where relevant. Try to connect the firm’s main practice areas to your own interests or any previous work experience you may have. You could also discuss any of the firm’s recent cases that you found intriguing.

Tip 3 - Use The STAR Technique

The STAR technique is a writing technique that is particularly useful when you are asked competency-based questions, for example, questions about your leadership ability or other strengths. Instead of simply stating what strengths you have, provide examples of when you have shown those strengths.

The STAR technique is as follows:

S = Situation

Describe the situation you were in and provide a bit of background information. Answer the ‘who, what, where’ questions.

T = Task

Discuss the task that was assigned to you and mention the deadlines you had to meet. Furthermore, be sure to discuss how you overcame any challenges that you faced.

A = Action

Explain all the steps you took to complete the task that was assigned to you. Highlight desirable traits such as leadership, communication skills, and attention to detail.

R = Result

Share the outcome of your actions; quantifying your results where possible.

Tip 4 - Triple-Check Your Answers

A successful solicitor needs to have great attention to detail, as they are often dealing with complex contracts. If your answers have numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes, you will not be successful in your application. One easy way to check that your answers are mistake-free is simply by re-reading your work. You can read your answers out loud, or even use a dictation feature to listen to your answer. This is a great way of spotting mistakes that you might not necessarily notice when reading silently. Additionally, keep the word count of each question in mind, and aim to write as close to the word count as you can.

Tip 5 - Do Not Leave Your Application To Last Minute

Vacation scheme applications require a lot of time and effort. Thus, you need to ensure you start early and have enough time to perfect your application before the deadline. You also need to allocate time to practice any psychometric tests that might be required as part of your application. Balancing writing applications and your university work can be challenging, so time management is key. You do not want to be behind on your work or miss out on a vacation scheme opportunity, purely because you failed to use your time wisely.

With these tips under your belt, you are one step closer to achieving a vacation scheme. If you pass the application stage and are moving on to the interview stage, check out the How To Stand Out In The Interview stage article so you know how to beat the fierce competition. If you are rejected from a scheme, please do not be disheartened. As cliché as it sounds, when one door closes, another opens. Learn from your mistakes and do better when the next opportunity arises.

By Simran Gill



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