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Tips for marketing yourself in your online application

The Early Careers team share their top tips on how to successfully demonstrate your key strengths in a training contract application.

Across the recruitment process one of the biggest downfalls of candidates is that they sell themselves, rather than market themselves. Bearing in mind that the majority of application forms have a tight word count, it's important that you make the most of the space you are given. It can be easy to fall in to the mind-set of simply trying to get as much information down as possible, but this often deters candidates from showcasing themselves in the best possible way. Those who do this are 'selling themselves', giving the graduate recruitment team reels of information that often translates to very little value.

So, what can you do to improve this?

To market yourself, rather than sell, you must first understand your audience and then select information and deliver it in a precise and concise way.
Here are some top tips to help improve your application: 

Employer research

The biggest difference between those who sell and those who market is good employer research. In order to truly market yourself, you must first understand what DWF is looking for. This is more than just looking at our website, but rather, it is done by engaging in social media posts and observing industry trends and challenges in addition to any other activity which the company is involved in. Once you understand our business, you should be able to answer the questions on the training contract application with ease, as you will understand why we are asking these questions.

As a reminder, on the training contract application for 2022/23 you will need to answer: 

1. Why have you chosen to apply for a Training Contract at DWF? (250 words)

2. The DWF values are core to our culture, actions and behaviours. Consider which value(s) particularly resonates with you. How have you demonstrated this DWF value(s) in your current employment, extra-curricular experience or studies and how you would apply this in the role of a Trainee Solicitor? (250 words)

3. Please comment on a commercial news topic or trend which has interested you recently. Within your response, please consider how this news topic or trend is relevant to DWF. (250 words)

There are many useful websites out there, which help you to understand our legal business in more detail. For example, LawCareers.Net, Chambers Student, Legal Cheek and AllAboutLaw. You should also check our social media channels and colleague stories.

Share experiences

To market yourself you need to show that you are fit for the role. You need to be able to show yourself in the best light. Those who sell will tell us all of their experience without any filter. It is good to share experience, however, when every word counts, it is crucial to be selective. Those who market will share selected points of relevant experience, which highlight their suitability for the role, therefore showing us how they are ready to become a DWF trainee.

Remember, there are two parts to the question, which asks you to demonstrate transferrable skills, so make sure that you answer both parts! 
DWF values both legal and non-legal work experience. What is important in this experience is that you can demonstrate how the skills you have obtained link to the role of a trainee solicitor and how they will help you in role. We understand that legal work experience is difficult to obtain and that part time retail roles can provide valuable skills for your time during your training contract.

When sharing examples, make sure that you are specific and attend to details. Answer the question directly and name any relevant experience, training or software knowledge that you have which will set you apart from other candidates. Make sure to be honest and confident of the experience that you include so that you are able to expand upon this in an interview setting. This will help us to gain a better understanding of the type of experience that you have had and how this will translate to the workplace. 

Finally, take your time to check your work. It can even be useful to leave it for a couple of days and come back with a fresh pair of eyes to make sure that you are completely happy and there are no orthographical errors.

We hope that these tips are helpful and wish you the best of luck!

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