A work experience-experience: An interview with 2nd year Law student Josie
We all know that gaining work experience can look great on your CV and give a great insight into the industry. Here Wesley Triffitt interviews Josie, a second year law student, who this summer completed a work placement with Furley Page Solicitors.
When did you apply for the placement and when did it take place?
I applied in March 2016 and the placement started on the 27th of June, and it was a weeklong placement.
From what you’ve told me it seems that the application for the placement was very competitive. What advice would you give to other students looking to compete for placements when it comes to submitting a CV?
Try to stand out from the other bulk of CV’s piled on the HR manager’s desk. Good grades are of course essential, but things such as extra-curricular commitments and voluntary work will enhance your CV and demonstrate that you are a well-rounded individual with interpersonal skills.
Part of your application included a panel style interview. What advice can you give on preparing for something like this?
The key here is in the question: preparation. Good preparation is done well in advance. Get your application in before the deadline so that you give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the interview. Research is key. Firms and companies what to know that you are interested in them specifically, and that can be hard to demonstrate because, honestly, we can’t all throw our eggs in one basket!
For my interview I researched the law firm, got my head around all their different areas of expertise, practice, and commitments. I researched into who their clients are and I was prepared to be able to tell them why I liked their firm above others. Make sure you can pinpoint particular skills you’ve gained that will enable you to work well in the industry you are applying for. As for the interview itself, being relaxed is important. Be professional yes, but don’t be too serious, make sure your personality comes across.
Now tell us a bit about the work experience itself. What were you doing on a day-to-day basis?
Well, at a law firm they have different departments for the different practices in law. You spend a different day in each department. This included tasks concerning that particular area in law that mirror the real life tasks of a practicing solicitor. Be prepared for a challenge; you may not just be shadowing but may be required to demonstrate some competence in the area.
How do you leave a lasting impression?
If it is appropriate, you may be offered or be able to ask for a contact email to be able to stay in touch with someone at the firm or company. Inquire as to weather they have any networking events that you can attend, again only if you feel. One other key thing: dress to impress. The well-dressed individual can make much more of an impact than you might think in both the interview and through the placement.