Five ways to impress at Open Days

For all aspiring solicitors, it's that time of year where your indulgence over the Christmas break feels like forever ago, January exams are a distant memory…and thoughts instead start to turn to applications for open days, vacation schemes and maybe even training contracts.

Here at Michelmores we are hosting our Graduate Open Day this week.  This article will focus on five ways that you can impress at any Open Day event and make the most of the opportunities it provides.

1. Preparation is key

Like any conscientious student, do your homework! The easiest place to start is the firms website. You will probably receive an itinerary for the day, and this may even indicate the names of the individuals running presentations or tours. It's worth doing some background reading into them and their area of expertise so that you know who you are talking to on the day. You may also wish to check out the answers to your more obvious questions (such as dates for deadlines and office locations etc.) before attending, to enable to you to direct your discussions during the event to more meaningful conversations.

2. Dress the part

You will be entering an office environment, so this point is a no-brainer. Not only will business attire make you look the part - you'll also feel like it! It's also important to dress comfortably. There are usually presentations to sit through and tours of the office, and opting for clothing which is too tight or restrictive might end up being a faux pas…!

3. Take notes

Most firms will provide you with a lot of material on the day, from presentation hand-outs to graduate brochures. As you will be on the receiving end of a lot of information, it is worth having a notepad and pen to hand. This will enable you to jot down pertinent information or any questions you think of as you go along. Don't forget to note down the names of people you wish to follow up with later.

4. Be brave and 'network'

Networking lunches or drinks usually form part of the event. These give you a chance to ask all those questions you have been storing up.  It can seem really scary at first, but do combat those nerves and try to work your way around different discussions. There are no hard and fast rules about what topics should be discussed - at the end of the day, the best advice is to simply relax, smile and be yourself! Also, don't deny yourself those tempting canapés…

5. Follow up

It is worth following up any useful conversations with representatives of the firm after the event, and there are a number of ways to do this. You could simply ask for their business card during your discussion, and later drop them a line thanking them for their time. LinkedIn is also a useful platform to keep in touch with the professionals you meet. It is well worth investing time in this, as ultimately these contacts will become hugely helpful when completing those 'who you know' sections on Vacation Scheme or Training Contract applications.

To those of you attending the Michelmores Graduate Open Day this week, we hope that you will have a great time: we are really looking forward to meeting you!

If you have any other questions on being a trainee please comment below or tweet us @MMTrainees