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Training Contract Online Application Cover Letter

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I just finished my penultimate year of law school, and began the long and arduous process of applying for training contracts. I have two internships in the next two months, but the deadlines for applications are at the end of July, so I want to have them ready by the time I receive my exam results.

I have a list of 8 firms I'm applying to.

My question is this: if there is an online application that includes a space for a cover letter, would I include the standard cover letter formalities (e.g. "I am from [x] University, and am interested in applying for [x position]"), or would I leave them out because they are apparent from the rest of the application?

Also, once I write the letter, could someone help me improve it? Perhaps I'm being unnecessarily anxious, but these applications will determine the course of my professional life for at least the next 5 years, and I want to give it my best.

Thanks.
post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.P View Post
I just finished my penultimate year of law school, and began the long and arduous process of applying for training contracts. I have two internships in the next two months, but the deadlines for applications are at the end of July, so I want to have them ready by the time I receive my exam results.

I have a list of 8 firms I'm applying to.

My question is this: if there is an online application that includes a space for a cover letter, would I include the standard cover letter formalities (e.g. "I am from [x] University, and am interested in applying for [x position]"), or would I leave them out because they are apparent from the rest of the application?

Also, once I write the letter, could someone help me improve it? Perhaps I'm being unnecessarily anxious, but these applications will determine the course of my professional life for at least the next 5 years, and I want to give it my best.

Thanks.

I can only advise you from my own experience.

I wouldn't include the standard, I am from X university and obtained this grade etc. Its already on your form, most firms seems to have a fairly standard application form, with the questions part or 'additional information' sections being the only part that changes.

Make sure your covering letter is tailored towards the firm you are looking at. If the firms website talks about how hard an acquisition was, how much they pride themselves on family law, they operate in a certain niche etc. Address it.

Do your research, a few people that I went to law school with, treated training contract applications as '9-5'. They would read every paper, use every website in order to get high quality information for a single page covering letter. Needless to say they got more than one offer.

In the questions, highlight your strengths, do not address your weaknesses at all, the space available simply isn't long enough. But again, tailor your answers towards the firms interests, who are they looking for? Don't lie, but ensure the information you are giving the firm will be of interest to them.

Out of curiosity, what firms are you interested in (PM).

Any other questions, feel free to ask.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks. My strategy so far has worked well for vacation placements, but I have not put nearly as much time into those applications as you suggest. For my current one, I have been going through the firm's website with a fine comb. I've had the "show, don't tell" maxim drilled into me by a series of literature teachers in high school, but I'm a bit doubtful about using this approach in applications. Certainly it's better to demonstrate a skill than to describe it, but most good cover letters seem to be a finely-balanced marriage of form and content. What would you say about the "Describe your interests and extra-curricular activities" section? Is this something that one can standardise, or should that be tailored to each firm? Is it preferable to show engagement in a variety of activities, or excellence in a few? Or both?
post #4 of 4
Without knowing what it is your interests and extra-curricular activities are, I cannot really say, but again I would attempt to tailor it in slightly if possible. Again, this is to demonstrate that it is not a cut and paste from your last application.
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