It is likely that anything less than very good A levels and a 2.1 standard degree will make it difficult for you to even be given a first interview; however, good grades on their own are unlikely to lead to a job offer. The other sought-after skills must shine through on your CV, during the selection process and throughout your career.
Communicating and networking
A not-insignificant portion of a successful solicitor or barrister’s work life is spent building and maintain relationships with clients, colleagues and other work associates; therefore, good interpersonal skills are key. To network effectively means that you will be able to enter a room full of strangers and start to engage in a conversation. This is difficult for many and requires practice; however, it can be invaluable in finding a way to get the best out of such social situations.
Prepare for that interview
It is not simply your ability to answer a question well that is judged at the interview; in addition, you will be assessed on your appearance, body language and general presentation.
To face an interview a little more confidently, you must prepare. One way of doing this is to imagine the questions you may face. Analyse your application – what questions would you ask?
Think also about what you would like to find out from your interviewer. You are often given an opportunity to ask a question or two at the end of the interview – having something prepared can be impressive.
Avoid slang and typos
As a lawyer, you will do a lot of writing – court documentation, along with written correspondence, is everyday fare. The application process will also involve a good amount of paperwork. Ensuring that your spelling and grammar are flawless and your responses written succinctly and with clarity will ensure your application is not the first to be tossed aside.
Application form success
To give yourself the best chance of being invited to interview, you must ensure that your responses are interesting enough to stand out to the person reading it. Give a full answer – but don’t go over any stipulated wordcount – that highlights your main strengths and how you can evidence these. Double and triple check before you send!
Be aware of the business
Ensure that you fully understand the sector in which your firm operates and how the business works within it. To ensure that your commercial awareness is up to scratch, it may help to start reading through the relevant commercial press.
Your attitude to your prospective employer and the business world in which it operates will often be assessed based on your so-called soft skills. These skills, alongside your ability to communicate, include your empathic ability, your personal presentation and your body-language. Almost as crucial as your ability to answer a legally complex question, these skills will tell your employer a lot about your ability to deal successfully with clients and colleagues alike.
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