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How Instagram can help you get a training contract at a national law firm

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Five tips courtesy of Shoosmiths

‘How can I secure a training contract at my dream firm?’

It’s a question familiar to aspiring lawyers, who may be faced with lengthy application forms, assessment centres and partner interviews.

The answer, however, can easily be found in the palm of your hand, on Instagram.

The popular app is more than just your go-to for sharing lockdown snaps. Social media savvy law firms, like Shoosmiths, often use Instagram to offer training contract tips, application advice and even a sneak peek into lawyer life beyond the glossy graduate recruitment brochures — invaluable information for legal rookies.

To give you a steer, we’ve compiled our top five training contract tips that can be found on Shoosmiths’ Instagram page, ‘@shoosmithsgrads’.

1. Turn quick chats into personal connections

Open days, insight evenings and law fairs — you’ve been there, done that, got the branded t-shirt (and free pen, notepad and reusable water bottle). But how can you turn your quick chat with grad rec teams into a long-lasting connection?

Follow-up afterwards, advises Samantha Hope, graduate recruitment manager at Shoosmiths. It’s that simple.

In an Instagram Live Chat with Legal Cheek, which has since been shared on Shoosmiths’ Facebook page, and embedded below, Hope recommended reaching out to your new connections over LinkedIn and always attaching a personal note to your invitation to connect. In your note, remind the recipient of where you met and why you’re getting in touch.

“It moves it from being an online connection to being able to remember somebody and thinking, ‘oh yeah I had a conversation with them,” says Hope.

#InstagramLIVE: Legal Cheek talks vac schemes with Shoosmiths

Adam Mawardi (from Legal Cheek) asks Danielle Owens & Samantha Hope (from Shoosmiths Graduates) some questions about applying for vacation placements at Shoosmiths, including:

-How do you tailor your application to a specific location?
-What are five key skills you need to work in a law firm?
-How do you make the most of networking online?
-Where can you research a law firm?
-Can social media be used to secure opportunities?
-Share your tips for the video interview.
-Common mistakes on applications?

If you would like to apply for a vacation placement at Shoosmiths, the application is available via our website until 28th February 2020.

Posted by Shoosmiths Graduates on Tuesday, 10 December 2019

2. Become a legal influencer

Want to stand out from the countless training contract and vacation scheme applications a law firm receives? Follow in the footsteps of legally-minded vloggers, study-grammers, fitness-fanatics, wellbeing gurus and LinkedIn influencers sharing their career journeys with the masses. Speaking in the Instagram Live Chat with Legal Cheek, Hope says:

“We absolutely love engaging with social media influencers within the legal space. I think it’s a great way of engaging with others and being able to demonstrate other skills you might have. And it’s also great that you’re putting yourself out there and networking with other people, and helping others.”

Indeed, just this week, Shoosmiths teamed up with Chrissie Wolfe, the vlogger behind YouTube channel Law and Broader, to host an Instagram Live cook-a-long and training contact Q&A.

You don’t necessarily have to be the next Eve Cornwell — but you can start by being more active across social media. Engage with law firms online by commenting on their posts, re-sharing their content, letting followers know you’ve attended their events and even offering your thoughts and opinions. As said by Hope, it’s about “being able to put yourself out there and having the confidence to think your thoughts and opinions are valuable”.

Applications for Shoosmiths' Training Contract (to commence 2022) close on Sunday 31 May

3. Get to know your future colleagues

What’s it like to be a trainee solicitor during lockdown? On Shoosmiths’ Instagram Highlights, you can see for yourself. The firm’s trainee Insta-takeover sees remote-working lawyers each offer a sneak-peek into their home set-up and daily work routine, as well as their secrets to securing a training contract.

Also offering Insta-insight into legal life is Shoosmiths’ Gabrielle Wall, who discussed life as a part-time paralegal and a full-time student on the Legal Practice Course.

To those wanting a glimpse of lawyer life before and after the pandemic, you can even find behind the scenes snaps of the national firm’s offices across the country — from Reading to Edinburgh.

4. Win work experience

As aspiring lawyers vie for highly sought-after TCs, give yourself an edge by entering another contest: Instagram work experience competitions.

Last year, Shoosmiths’ Instagram prize draw included one day’s work experience, a mentoring session with a Shoosmiths partner, a lunch date with trainee solicitors, a Shoosmiths study pack and a £250 voucher.

According to Hope: “That’s a good opportunity for people who feel like maybe the application form isn’t their strength, but they could perform and do well in the job once they meet people. So, it’s good to look out for opportunities that might not be your traditional route in.”

5. Look out for Instagram Q&As

Got any questions? Don’t keep them to yourself — put them directly to your desired firm directly during an Instagram Live Q&A.

Whether its during FAQ Friday, trainee Insta-takeovers, partner Q&As, live law fair tips or an Insta-Live chat with graduate recruitment, Shoosmiths offers plenty of opportunities for rookies to get their burning career questions answered over Instagram.

You can find previous Instagram Q&As saved to their Highlights here.

For applicants wanting more Insta-tips from Shoosmiths, keep an eye out for new careers-focused content. Hope tells Legal Cheek Careers:

“You can expect the continuation of honest transparent information to be shared from the graduate recruitment team, and current trainee solicitors through @shoosmithsgrads’ Instagram. This includes various Instagram Live interviews with guest speakers and webinars, Instagram takeovers from a variety of Shoosmiths people, interactive stories, polls and information sharing. This is all in addition to the usual office images, meet the trainee, and careers blog posts shared on the grid, designed to give you a real flavour of the working culture and values at the firm. The @shoosmithsgrads Instagram is a one-stop shop for everything related to upskilling and becoming a qualified solicitor.”

Applications for Shoosmiths' Training Contract (to commence 2022) close on Sunday 31 May

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