We’ve come to the end of the academic year! You will be planning to utilise your free time wisely, whether that’s by completing a summer vacation scheme, seeking work experience elsewhere or by going on a much-deserved holiday to get away from it all. Over to the Experts, with advice on how to get the most from your summer holidays…
At the end of a vacation scheme, two outcomes await. Either way, the opportunity a scheme presents is not bound by its one-, two-, or three-week period - that time merely serves as a platform to build upon.
Truly learning from the experience should be your priority; recognising what you did well and not so well is key to improving, whether to become a better solicitor when starting a training contract or increasing your chances of success during your next vacation scheme. A self-evaluation can be immensely beneficial here. Equally, if feedback from the firm is not readily given, ask for it. Beyond initially discussing your performance, remain in contact with your recent colleagues; you’ve been handed a great networking platform, so make the most of it.
Completing a vacation scheme over the summer is certainly a good way to obtain real-world experience as life as a trainee. But, your personal development shouldn't stop once the summer comes to a close. Instead, reflect on your experience and the work you undertook so that you can confidently discuss your vacation scheme in future applications and at interviews.
Are there skills or areas which you need to develop? If so, think about how you can gain experience in these areas by speaking to your careers advisor, attending skills sessions or obtaining future work experience.
It is important to have a good rest from your studies and enjoy a well-deserved break, but think about how you might be able to use your time productively to help prepare for the year ahead and your future career.
There are plenty of opportunities throughout the summer for you to gain valuable transferable skills that can help you stand out from the crowd. Whether you volunteer, complete a work placement abroad, sign up for an additional short course or work throughout the holidays, all provide you with the chance to further develop and build skills that employers will be looking out for.
Legal work experience is notoriously difficult to secure, and graduate recruiters are fully aware of this. It can take a lot of time and commitment to secure this, but please do persist as your application will be stronger, and it really will highlight your motivation and determination for a career in law. Larger law firms are typically exceptionally busy over the summer with vacation schemes, so target your efforts to the high street firms as well as Legal Advice Centres and Citizens Advice Bureaus. Any form of legal work experience is valuable in helping you to develop the confidence towards, and commitment to, a legal career.