24 January 2022

So you’ve done it. After months of writing applications and attending interviews and assessment centres you’ve finally secured a place on a vacation scheme. You’re excited to start but what do you actually need to do to impress? This is the question that is foremost in most applicants’ minds. In this blog post, five of the top ways to nail a vacation scheme will be looked at to give you the best chance of making a good impression and securing that all important training contract. 

1. Be curious 

One of the most important things to remember is that a vacation scheme is a two-way thing. Don’t think of it as a week or two week long assessment centre. Instead, view it as an opportunity for you to understand what makes a firm tick. By being curious, asking questions and speaking to as wide a range of people as possible, you’ll be in a position to make a far more informed decision about whether you want to work there. At the same time, you’ll be improving your stock in the eyes of recruiters by demonstrating a proactive attitude. 

2. Back yourself  

Getting to a vacation scheme can be intimidating and many candidates feel like they’re imposters. It’s important to remember that nerves are only natural and to try and stop them from getting the better of you. This may be easier said than done but remember that the recruiters must like you if you’ve got to the point of securing a place on a vacation scheme. If you believe in yourself it’s likely that others will to.   

3. Check, recheck then check again

Most applicants know that attention to detail is one of the most important traits a lawyer can have. As a result, this is something that’s closely looked at on vacation schemes. Even if you produce the most amazing piece of work in the world, sloppy execution will distract whoever is reviewing it and undermine your credibility. Don’t let a typo stand in the way of your training contract. 

4. Be yourself

It may be clichéd but the idea of ‘being yourself’ is genuinely important. Don’t try and be what you think the firm wants. If you do get offered a training contract, you want it to be at a firm which is a genuinely good fit. 

It can be hard to distinguish between firms by just looking at their websites. One of the most useful things about vacation schemes is that they give candidates the chance to see what the culture of a firm is really like. Listen to your gut and if you don’t think the firm is right for you, think very hard before accepting a place there. If you feel comfortable at a firm you’ll be more relaxed and perform better in the process. 

5. Try to enjoy it

If during the vacation scheme you find yourself feeling constantly stressed or anxious it may be worth considering whether the firm is right for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy the work and like the people you’re working with you’ll be happier and probably do a better job.

Firms are likely to put on evening socials and other events to give you a chance to meet employees and other applicants in a more relaxed setting. It’s important to get stuck in with these as they’re a great way for you to make an impression as someone who people would like to work with. They’re also a good way to have a bit of a laugh after a hard day’s work. 

There’s no denying that vacation schemes can be stressful, however, they should also be fun. If you are successful, the work you do over the course of the scheme could be the sort of thing you’re doing for the next 40 years so you need to make sure you enjoy it!

Burges Salmon careers

We work hard to make sure Burges Salmon is a great place to work.
Find out more