Application Content Sending your application and CV is one of the most important steps in the application process. It is often the first contact between you and the firm. The content of the application is vital as it is the first impression you will give to the firm and should include the following documents: Motivational or Covering Letter CV Full Academic Transcripts Matric Certificate ID References (if applicable)
Motivational or Covering Letter Each application must include a good covering letter. The letter should state what year of studies you are currently in and what exactly you are applying for i.e. articles 2014 or 2015. Tip: Keep your letter well ordered and clear. The letter should not exceed one page.
CV content Your CV plays a key role in the application as it tells the firm what they need to know. Ensure that your CV is detailed and gives a clear picture of who and what you are i.e. mention leadership positions and/or community service. You can structure your CV as follows: Personal details Name and Surname Area you are living in – you do not need to put your address Comprehensive contact details – telephone and email Gender Race Nationality Drivers licence
Qualifications and courses For each qualification put a start and end date and the name of the institution. List the most recent studies first working down to secondary school. Traineeship You should state any previous vacation programmes and/or internships you have taken part in. Work Experience Please mention each position you have held (temporary and holiday work included) as follows: The start and end dates; the name of the position The name of the organisation and a brief summary of your responsibilities
Additional Information/Extramural Activities The achievements and qualities acquired whilst studying are an important addition to your personal profile and may include the following: Active memberships of an association Executive positions and/or work on committees Political activities International experience Community service Tip: Ensure that there are no typing or spelling errors on your application; this will create a negative impression.
The Interview The prospect of an interview for either the vacation programme or articles can be nerve-wracking, but if you are prepared it can alleviate much of the stress. The selection process may differ at each organisation. The first interview is usually an introduction to the firm, where topics for discussion may include personality and “culture fit questions. This interview is normally conducted by one or two HR Representatives. The second interview may be a panel interview and will have a legal focus. It is important to consider what the firm would find important and prepare accordingly.
Types of Questions Interviewers ask different types of questions to assess different things during an interview: Traditional questions establish a person’s career aspirations, personality traits, strengths and weaknesses Competency based questions provide insight into a persona’s ability top carry out specific tasks Legal questions help the interviewer assess a candidates’ legal knowledge
Examples of Traditional Questions: Why did you choose your particular career path/field? What type of environment allows for your optimal performance? What are your major weaknesses and strengths in your current role? Examples of Competency Based Questions: Give an example of when you had to work on an important deadline and how you managed your time to meet the deadline. Describe an occasion when you had difficulties working with a team including details of the problems and how they were caused.
Legal Questions You have almost completed your law degree and we do not expect you to be legal experts on a particular area of law. In a few years you will become legal experts… Listen to the questions carefully before answering. If you do not understand the question ask the interviewer to ‘rephrase’ the question (attempt to answer the question). If you want to use an example to explain your answer you may do so. If you did not study a specific subject at university and you are asked a question on this area of law tell the interviewer that you did not study that particular area of law.
What is the difference between an option and a right of first refusal? What is the difference between a suspensive and resolutive condition? Can you extend the date for fulfilment of a suspensive condition after the date for fulfilment has expired? Stay calm and take a few minutes to think about your answers.
STEP 1: PREPARATION The better prepared you are the more confident you will be. Logistics: find out the exact location of the company, duration of the interview, parking arrangements, etc. Interviewing panel: find out more about the panel, how to pronounce each person’s name and their roles within the organisation. Specific facts about the company: find out about the organisation you want to join. It’s a good idea to highlight what appeals to you about the organisation during the interviewing process.
STEP 2: DRESS CODE Dress like a professional: in a smart business suit with a crisp clean ironed shirt (males should wear ties). It’s best to wear dark colours: black, grey or navy blue. Do not wear casual clothing or shoes. Ensure your hair is neat and tidy.
STEP 3: THE INTERVIEW Make the right impression by arriving on time or a few minutes early. Greet the interviewers. Body language is important - sit upright during the interview. Follow the interviewers’ lead - let them set the tone. Listen to the questions carefully before answering. Maintain eye contact when answering questions. Try to highlight your strengths while being aware of the fact that your areas of development will also be assessed.
STEP 4: CLOSING THE INTERVIEW Enquire about the next step of the interview process. Ask pertinent, not irrelevant, questions relating to the role or the department. Ensure that the interviewer has the most recent details of referees he or she may need to contact after the interview. Thank the panel for their time.