Trainee Blog: Standing out at the start of your Training Contract
After securing my Training Contract with Michelmores just over a year ago, my cheeks ached from smiling. Many years of hard work spent at school, in the work place and during extra-curricular activities had finally paid off and I had secured my dream job. However, it was a funny feeling not quite knowing what to do next.
A year seemed like a long time to wait for my first official day at the firm, but from signing on the dotted line I was determined to prove to Michelmores that they had made the right choice in providing me this opportunity. I started by absorbing all available knowledge and developing essential skills during my LPC. Additionally, I kept in touch with the firm through its brilliant HR team and I was able to participate in firm events, including trainee drinks, where I got acquainted with colleagues I had met during my assessment day and with other colleagues I would soon have the chance to work with.
Before I knew it, I was waking up to my first day full of nerves and adrenaline. Although close family and friends reassured me that I was given a Training Contract because Michelmores believed that I had the desired attributes, I was determined to be myself and demonstrate the same qualities as during my assessment day. After my first month in the London corporate team, I received an On the Spot Award, recognising three intense weeks verifying a prospectus for a standard listing on the Main Market whilst effectively liaising with the African based client. The following are qualities I believed helped me to make a good first impression within my team:
Being proactive and asking questions
“There is no such thing as a silly question” was one of the first things my supervisor said to me. I have stuck to this piece of advice, but have also ensured to show willingness by researching the subject matter at hand before asking for help so as not to waste a colleague’s valuable time.
Additionally, when completing a research task, I have made sure to raise any thoughts or queries with my supervisor to ensure that nothing is overlooked. Furthermore, I have proactively tried to stay one step ahead, for instance by preparing draft emails to the client on my supervisor’s behalf, explaining the findings of my research.
Staying organised and managing my time
“Keep a to-do list” was another supervisor top-tip. When I started, my time was consumed with the verification task which was a high priority on my list. However, when things quietened down I used my list to ensure I did not overlook administrative tasks and training exercises which needed completing.
I have always followed Benjamin Franklin’s philosophy of not putting off until tomorrow what can be done on the present day. This has enabled me to save time and client money, rather than losing time the next day reminding myself of the facts and searching for the relevant files.
I am lucky to be within a team undertaking diverse international work and working alongside colleagues who are all keen to get me involved. My short time at the firm has shown me how important team work is. I have engaged in as many tasks as possible, but have also learnt not to be afraid to say that I am busy and do not have capacity to help until a later date. To ensure that I am never without anything to do, I regularly report to my supervisor on the work I am doing and ask colleagues whether I can be of assistance. As my supervisor says, "it is vital to check when allocated work needs to be completed and to ask for feedback". No feedback is bad, as all comments and criticisms provided are helping me to develop my skill set.
Michelmores places a lot of trust in its trainees and I am quickly learning how to communicate effectively with clients. For example, within two weeks I was asked to lead discussions with clients about which documents were still required from them to complete the prospectus verification, as well as regularly updating them of the progress made.
Starting a Training Contract can be tiring (especially if you start off the back of being a student with a different body clock), but it is encouraged to go to as many social events as possible whether they are with clients, colleagues, or partner organisations. These are great opportunities to develop your skills in other areas. I have also had the opportunity to participate in social events with partner organisations.
One networking event was even followed by a fun night making an aero chocolate tray bake for the office bake sale the next day. All proceeds made from eating scrumptious cakes went to the London charity of the year, Bloodwise. As a member of the London Charity Committee, I was also involved in organising the Halloween Quiz, complete with pumpkin carving!
Therefore, although starting a Training Contract can be daunting, I am thriving off the experience by being myself, getting involved and working hard, all with the amazing support from Michelmores and its employees. I am looking forward to representing the firm at an upcoming law fair to speak to prospective candidates looking for a fulfilling training contract with an exceptional firm.