Vacation schemes are a great way to gain legal work experience, but it's becoming increasingly competitive to land a coveted spot. How can you make your application stand out?
Be original. Of every ten applications we see, nine seem to cover the same same current affairs / item of news / reason for applying. Use a story that interests you - you'll be able to put your own spin on it, and will be in a much better position if you're asked to elaborate at interview.
Emphasise why you should be offered a place. Vac schemes are all about gaining insight into a particular firm, trying out practice areas, meeting practising solicitors and trainees, and establishing whether (all else being equal) you'd like to train at that firm. Focus on communicating your desire to gain experience with that firm.
Check, check and check again. Vacation schemes are increasingly popular, so your application needs to be near-on perfect to succeed. That means proofreading thoroughly for typos, ensuring your sentences are grammatically correct and that you've correctly spelt the firm's name (yes, people really make this mistake!) and the names of any other companies / brands on your application.
Strength in numbers. As with training contracts, vac schemes are competitive. Do apply to as many firms as you can make quality applications to, rather than relying on just one or two.
Consider other options. If you're not invited onto a formal vac scheme, think of other ways that you gain gain legal experience and boost your CV over the holidays. For example, you might approach smaller firms and high street solicitors (that may not have formal vac schemes) and ask if you can spend a week shadowing staff and assisting with what you can. Trips to your nearest working court to watch proceedings are another option, as is short-term volunteering and pro bono.