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Communicating your experience

Communicating your experience

When applying for vacation schemes and training contracts you need to be able to communicate on paper and in an interview the experience that you have gathered. We’ve asked our Experts for their advice on how applicants can best describe the experience that they have obtained at different stages of their careers.

When submitting an application, it is important to ensure you have discussed your extracurricular involvement. Most application forms include competency questions and ask for recent examples. Many students think they must provide examples from relevant work experience, but using examples from your extracurricular activities is also advised because recruiters want to see focus beyond just academic performance.

When writing an application it is important to consider what is the employer trying to find out and what are they looking for in their applicant. Therefore, when describing an extracurricular university experience, don’t just tell a story in a timeline of events, but also include aspects that highlight your personal qualities. This may include how you approach decisions, how you reacted to scenarios, how you dealt with others and how you thought about elements that are beyond the obvious.

When applying for a training contract or a vacation scheme, your work experience is a key part of your application form. We ask you to include four different work experiences/employments, but please note that these do not solely need to be legally focused. We fully appreciate how hard it is to secure legal work experience, and so carefully think about the four entries that you make in this section. Experiences that you may have had volunteering at a legal advice centre or citizens advice bureau are equally as valid, as well as work experience in a high-street law firm.

The majority of applicants tend to have some kind of commercial experience e.g. work experience or a university project that is relevant to their application. The tricky thing is how you can communicate that in such a way so that it is relevant to the role. You need to ensure that everything you include can be seen as useful experience for the job you are applying for. Getting this across in a concise and engaging way is important, especially when you consider there is usually a strict word limit on the application.

Meet the experts

  • With 25 offices in 15 countries and a number of referral relationships, we offer the reach and insight of a global network, combined with the knowledge and understanding of local…
  • Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice. We provide the world’s pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3800 lawyers based…
  • Shearman & Sterling is one of the global elite of law firms; with 18 offices worldwide we are a full service corporate firm who excel at offering complex, cross-border advice.…
  • Taylor Wessing is a full service global law firm working with clients in the world's most dynamic industries. Our focus is on the industries of tomorrow: Technology, Media and Communications;…