It seems that the theme of the last couple of weeks has been first past the post, what with the London Marathon and the general election. Before you limber up, I’ll remind you that in some races, the key to success is stamina, not speed.
Run at a constant speed and you will see the finishing line for sure; campaign consistently and you increase your chances of securing voters (well, perhaps not this time around).
The same goes for a training contract. Some of my friends have had anxiety attacks over the fact that they haven’t secured a training contract yet, that they’re getting older and feel like they’re running a race that they cannot win and perhaps it’s time to throw the towel in.
I know for many, there does come a year where you decide to end the hunt completely and focus on other aspects of your career and lives. But I would say to those who are considering doing exactly that, to hang on a little longer. The country is not out of a recession yet but at some point recovery will kick in slowly but surely. Many firms are recruiting for 2011 having under recruited last year and I have even spotted a handful that are recruiting for people to start this year. I’m definitely taking advantage of the earlier start dates and rather than worrying about the increase in applicants I am concentrating on what I have to offer the firms that I want to work for.
‘I was at the end of my tether when I got my training contract,’ a friend of mine explained. Many, many applications, interviews, vigorous assessments - it can feel like it is all for nothing when you start to see the continuous patterns of rejection. However, after seeking some careers advice from an ex-solicitor, I was told I had fantastic experience, skills and that my cover letter and C.V were strong. The bottom line: stick it out, something will come along.
So I would say to those who feel a little deflated, if you are questioning your application technique, seek advice from someone preferably in HR that deals with recruitment, a solicitor and importantly, somebody outside of law for that business perspective. Secondly, be honest with yourself and apply to firms that you actually would want to join – in moments of desperation, it is easy to apply to firms based on the training start date, easy application requirements and mass intakes. Thirdly, if you do get rejected, don’t take it personally, they’re not saying you’re not cut out to be a lawyer, they simply have to choose between many fantastic candidates and perhaps you’d benefit more from a different firm.
This all sounds like common sense but you will be surprised at how many people forget this with lots of distractions and worries; even MPs fail to use common sense when campaigning to win an election (like forgetting to remove your mic before making rude comments about supporters).