Welcome to our monthly updated section featuring Q&A sessions with our regular panel of top UK law firm representatives, who'll tackle any topic to do with graduate recruitment, applications, interviews, training contracts, vacation schemes and much more. If you have a question we haven't covered, just drop us a line, or tweet us @TheLex100, and we'll keep it in mind.
If New Year’s Resolutions are your thing, what can you decide to do in your spare time in 2015 in order to develop new skills and strengthen your CV?
"Extra-curricular activities are crucial in shaping a candidate. Not only do they allow you to demonstrate your interests to us, but they also help us to identify the skill set that we are looking for in you. Recruiters are looking for a set of competencies which individuals develop in many more ways than studying. Academics are critically important, however, skills such as teamwork/interpersonal skills as well as communication and motivation are often demonstrated through activities sitting outside of academic study.
Your extracurricular activities can set you apart from the other applicants and therefore you should think carefully what to write in this section.
Involvement in supplementary activities gives your application a well-rounded feel, and could portray qualities such as leadership, teamwork, and dedication. It is one thing to proclaim that you have good qualities to be a good lawyer, but confirming it through your hobbies does more to reassure a recruiter.
Extra-curricular activities are important because they help you build up your transferrable skill set and show us that you are a well-rounded candidate. For example, as an active member of a society, sports team, or organisation you will likely have to learn how to juggle multiple responsibilities and prioritise tasks in order to remain involved while keeping up-to-date on your coursework and attending lectures.
First things first, you need to make sure you understand which of your skills are truly transferrable, as not everyone will be. Don't be tempted to use lots of words telling us about something of which you might be very proud, but that isn't really relevant. The application form needs to be succinct and to the point and, if you are successful, there will be plenty of opportunity to tell us lots of other brilliant things about you at a later date!
We love reading about applicants' personal achievements, interests and activities outside of studies. From a recruiters perspective it is just as important, if not more important than academic and working experiences as it really gives insight into your personality, motivators and also how you will be able to adapt to the workplace. So it is vital that you invest the time to firstly identify and understand your strengths and skills so you are able to share your experiences in the best possible way in your application form.