How to succeed on a vacation scheme
Once you’ve secured your vacation scheme, it’s important to make the most of the opportunities for training and development that the placement offers.
With most firms favouring those who have undertaken vacation schemes with them for future training contracts, doing well during your time with the firm can increase your career prospects and boost your employability.
Do as much research as you can
If you’re assigned a specific practice area within the firm, make sure you do as much research as you can before the first day, so that you come prepared. Find out about the people you’ll be working with, the kinds of projects you’ll be working on, and take in as much information as you can once you’ve started - keeping a notebook to jot things down throughout the day would be a good idea for this.
That said, you should also look to spend time with different departments in order to find the one that best suits your interest - it might be the case that you come across an area which catches your eye after gaining first-hand experience working in it.
Speak to as many people as possible
A vacation scheme is a great way to learn as much as you can about a specific company as you get an insight into the way they run and the company culture. In addition, you’ll have access to different departments and specialities as you come across colleagues from various areas of the firm.
The best way you can take advantage of this is to speak to the people you meet throughout your time at the firm in order to gain a better understanding of the professional environment. You’ll come out of your placement with a range of information about the profession you’re looking to go into, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can!
Show your enthusiasm
More generally, being open and enthusiastic in wanting to learn more about the firm will set a good impression, and might even help you with establishing a number of contacts at the company, which can go a long way towards securing a training contract! An informal way of networking during your vacation scheme might be to attend social events, such as after-work drinks - this will also give you an insight into the company culture and decide whether you’d fit at the firm.
At the office, you can set a good impression by taking the initiative in asking your supervisor, and colleagues, for projects to work on. It’s also important to take on any task you’re assigned, as any kind of work will be important to building up your skills in the industry as well as making sure you’re a recognisable face at the office.
Do the work to the best of your ability
It’s likely that at the start you’ll find yourself making cups of tea and coffee - it won’t be the most exhilarating work, but it’s a rite of passage that everyone has to go through. Soon enough, though, you’ll be entrusted with real work that the firm will use.
This means that showing enthusiasm for what you're doing will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in legal work, which will be reflected in the quality of what you produce. Make sure you’re always receptive to any feedback as well. Showing that you’re willing to develop your skills and come out of your comfort zone, giving a positive impression to your colleagues.
Follow up at the end of your placement
A good way to round off your vacation scheme is by thanking the firm for having you and emailing individual people you’ve worked with. This will again ensure that you leave the company with a good impression of your work and increase your chances of getting a training contract down the line. You might even decide to keep some people as contacts, for example by connecting with them on LinkedIn.
How can I find a vacation scheme?
If you’d like to put these tips into practice by taking on a vacation scheme, head on over to the jobs section of our website for the latest opportunities!