The Hunt for a Training Contract: Take Three

Discussion in 'My Training Contract Journey' started by Aela_Nox, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. Aela_Nox

    Aela_Nox Standard Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I thought maybe this would be a good place to get some initial thoughts down, perhaps ground myself a little as I prepare for what is sure to be quite a whirlwind of a journey.

    A little bit about me. I graduated from a Russel Group university in 2015 with a 2:1, and to be quite honest I don't think I was too sure I knew what I was doing. I wanted a career in Law and shot off some poorly-written applications in a desperation to make it look like I knew what I was doing, since everyone else seemed to.. yeah, I know. The reality was that I had zero confidence and my individual grades weren't that great (plenty of 2:2s, couple of 3rds and even did a couple of resits...). I'd held a weekend job throughout uni and done some pro-bono at the legal advice centre but all I had drilled into my head was that my less-than-stellar grades would get me nowhere. That was cycle one down the drain.

    I ended up taking a gap year for several reasons but during that time ended up doing a 9-month stint in the DWP. I gained a lot of skills, but felt I wanted to develop a career in Law further and took the leap in doing the LPC without a TC offer. I hadn't made applications because, well... my work experience wasn't fantastic and again it was the notion that my grades would lead me nowhere.

    LPC done and dusted in 2017 (with a plethora of resits due to certain circumstances that I've been told probably will not count as mitigating circumstances) and I found myself working at a high street firm for a few months. I had attended a few open days and what is now lawcareers.netLIVE and decided that working at a high street firm most certainly was not for me. I made a few applications during this time, made it to the VI stage at one firm and interview at another, as well as an AC for an in-house TC (the furthest I've ever been!) but no light at the end of the tunnel that is the TC, unfortunately. I also started volunteering at my local library, undertaking projects and sessions for children - I still volunteer there most Saturdays. Unfortunately that was my second cycle without any luck.

    All the while I remained on the job hunt, feeling that some paralegal work may boost me. It took me quite a few months, but I ended up as a legal assistant at a conveyancing firm where I've been for the past year.

    So... why a TC now? Why am I doing this? Is there a point? Will I be a suitable candidate?

    Yes, my grades aren't brilliant despite having the 2:1. My work experience may be classed as average and my extra-curriculars... meh? But I think that's the problem. I never had the confidence to push myself or go further. I had (and sometimes still have) this notion that my grades and experience means that any recruiter will just stop reading at that point and throw my application away. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it happens and I'm sure these are points for concern for recruiters. But how can I know without even trying?

    I can't change my grades and I can't change the experiences I've had, and being in full-time employment can make attending events/gaining other experiences somewhat challenging. But what I can do is try to sell myself better. I mentioned above that I never had the confidence to push myself and now I feel like that really showed in my application. I've gained a lot of skills from various experiences and I've learnt a lot. I've learnt more about what I actually want and what kind of firm I want to work at. This time I want to make the effort to actually talk to people, work on myself and really improve the way I write applications. I want to give myself every opportunity and every edge I can gain in selling myself to recruiters. And if I fail to get a TC this cycle, no worries. Onwards and upwards. I'll learn from my experiences and keep pushing forward.

    This is way longer than it should be already, but perhaps this is a way of keeping myself accountable as well. Maybe I'm trying to gain further confidence because I always worry too much of what others are thinking and whether it's really worth it. I want a TC, I really do, but without making a sincere effort I will go nowhere. It's up to me to give it a best shot and maybe this third cycle will be a bit more successful.

    If you read this far... thanks, I very much appreciate it. If anyone has any tips in respect of confidence/speaking confidently that will be very much appreciated. I'll try to update going forward. I'm currently researching law firms and trying to prepare some questions to ask at the law fair I will be attending :)
     
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  2. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    I found this very inspirational Aela. Thank you for your honesty - it sounds like you have great determination. I'll be rooting for you!
     
  3. Abstruser

    Abstruser Legendary Member
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    From personal experience and also from talking to my peers, shifting into a 'growth' mindset really was pivotal in finally landing a training contract - I'll be rooting for you too!

    I joined a local Toastmasters club to improve my public speaking in the cycle I landed my training contract. You don't have to sign up to complete a course if you don't have the resources to commit to it - just showing up to watch other people speak or networking with people there can be really beneficial in terms of inspiration and gathering useful tips. As a personal tip - I find speaking in a slower, more measured pace helps me come off as more confident and collected when I speak. Speaking slowly (not too slow, though) can also help buy you precious seconds to collect your thoughts when you're answering a tricky question in an interview!
     
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  4. Samar

    Samar Active Member

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    I really resonated with parts of this so will definitely be following your journey! I think so much of success comes from confidence (and preparation) so it is such a great moment when you reach that point where you realise that is what you need and really show your capabilities.
     
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  5. Daniel Boden

    Daniel Boden Legendary Member
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    Thank you so much for your honesty Aela! We're all rooting for you :)
     
  6. Alice G

    Alice G Legendary Member
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    Hi Aela! Confidence has also been an issue for me last cycle and I’m still trying to work on my public speaking/presentation skills. Half the battle is knowing where you need to focus more though and then you can start improving yourself and hopefully build that confidence! Really brave of you to share and I just know you’ll be such an asset and inspiration to this platform. A really warm welcome and all the best!
     
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  7. Helena

    Helena Legendary Member
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    A truly inspirational post @Aela_Nox and thank you for sharing your journey thus far with us. Believe me, you are not alone. This is by far the most difficult process I have ever been involved in and undertaken and your post really struck a chord. I am certain that confidence and the ability to gel with assessors at interview is key to success and one day I am sure we will all reach this goal. It is refreshing to hear your thoughts. We are all in this together.
     
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  8. Aela_Nox

    Aela_Nox Standard Member

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    I just wanted to thank everyone for being so kind and supportive to me :)

    It is so hard to be confident when I have fewer experiences to write of than the majority of people/lower grades. But I am starting to believe I may be able to do this if I keep trying :D I just need to keep working on my application technique and trying my hardest.
     
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  9. wwood

    wwood Star Member
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    Thanks Abstruser for the tip! I googled the club and found there's one in my city! I'm looking for a confidence boost and this seems perfect. Could you share more about your experience? :) Thank you!
     
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  10. gricole

    gricole Legendary Member
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    Good luck @Aela_Nox! I enjoyed reading your post very much! It is a tough journey but I am forever grateful to @Jaysen and the TCLA team for providing us with their endless support. Honestly, I think the positive environment here is something unique that can't be matched by unis' career services and law clubs. If you have any queries or issues with applications, please feel free to drop me a message.
     
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  11. Viviane

    Viviane New Member

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    Hey Aela, this was very inspirational and I think very relatable for a lot of people. I a kind of at the same stage and it is nice to know I am not alone when in doubt... Good luck with everything! I will be following your journey and wish you the best!
     
  12. Abstruser

    Abstruser Legendary Member
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    No problem at all! So aside from the courses you can sign up for, a Toastmasters club usually holds 'Table Topics' where people volunteer to speak for two minutes about a random topic drawn from a ballot box. In my local club these were open to new members as well (so essentially free) and I used to volunteer myself for these Table Topics when I first started going to the club. It was really supportive as well because they have moderators that give you feedback, and I just found the community in general really empowering and supportive. I met loads of super inspirational people - like a blind immigration barrister, a nuclear physicist-turned-comedian - and I ended up signing up for a course after two or three weeks. I hope you enjoy your first session and feel free to PM me if you have any other questions! :)
     
  13. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    I also did Toastmasters for a while (during my LPC) and thought it was great - I don’t think there could be a more supportive environment for practising public speaking!
     
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  14. wwood

    wwood Star Member
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    Thanks so much Abstruser (and Jaysen) for sharing your experience! It's wonderful to have a supportive community with feedback! I'm definitely gonna visit one of their meetings this October! :D
     
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  15. Karin Pastikova

    Karin Pastikova Standard Member

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    Thank you for the tip! I looked up toastmasters and it looks like just the right thing to become more confident in public speaking. Just a question, I found quite a few organisations that offer it - Toastmasters International, for example. Do you have any tips on which organisation you would recommend?
     
  16. Abstruser

    Abstruser Legendary Member
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    I just chose the organisation closest to me for convenience. Perhaps you could attend a few meetings at different locations to see which organisation you'd prefer?
     
  17. Syafiqkay92

    Syafiqkay92 Star Member
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    Thank you for sharing your story and reading this motivates me to keep on going. You are not alone. There are so many things about my university experience that I wish I could do differently but the fact is, we can't turn back time. Your point that we need to sell ourselves better resonates with me because all the experiences we have gone through taught us something about ourselves and that is how we sell ourselves as the best candidate for the training contract position and beyond.

    Good luck to you!

    Best wishes,
    Syafiq.
     
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