Preparing the best application

01 Jun 2023
Taking the time to prepare your application for clerkships, internships and other work gives you the best chance to stand out to recruiters.
Danielle Sandys
Graduate Resourcing Consultant
I started my Clayton Utz journey as a legal secretary in 2013. After finishing my studies, in 2018 I transferred into the People & Development team. From student to clerk to graduate, I really love watching and being part of the start of people's careers. In my spare time I love to read, be outdoors and catch up with friends. Wishing you the best of luck with your application!

Your application is your first chance to showcase what you could bring to the role, so make it count! Here are some of my top tips to assist in your preparation:

Take note of important dates

  • Make sure you are aware of the application open and close dates. If you are looking at multiple firms, the dates could be different, so make sure to log them all in your phone or university calendar.
  • Try not to complete your application last minute! Planning in advance may help to alleviate stress and ensure you put your best foot forward.

Do your research

  • It is important when applying for any role that you do you research. Things to research include:
  • a firm's values and what they stand for;
  • key stakeholders;
  • location(s) of business;
  • areas of law or business services;
  • client base and industry experience;
  • news and recent events about the firm; and
  • the firm's initiatives, such as diversity and inclusion.
  • Remember, your research will not only assist you in completing your application, but can help you in an interview or interacting with representatives at networking events!

Ensure your application is well rounded

  • When completing your application, remember to include:
  • work experience (both legal and non-legal);
  • education and academic results;
  • extracurricular activities;
  • volunteering experience;
  • university involvement including societies and competitions;
  • team work and leadership skills; and
  • international exposure such as an exchange/study abroad program.
  • Attention to detail is critical so make sure you allow enough time to review your application in full prior to submitting it.

Be specific when writing answers to questions

  • Consider how you can highlight your strengths and how they align to the key requirements of the role when answering questions. Avoid reiterating your resume. Add further detail around why you are a strong applicant for the role. Ideally, if applicable, your questions should address:
  • why you have chosen to apply for the firm;
  • why you are interested in the role;
  • your transferrable skills and experience; and
  • achievements that demonstrate your suitability for the role.
  • You will be asked to answer questions instead of submitting a cover letter as part of your Clayton Utz application. When answering these questions it is important to read them carefully. After understanding the question, use your research to provide a considered and concise answer. Example questions could be:
  • Why do you want to work at Clayton Utz?
  • What skills and experience can you bring to Clayton Utz?
  • Why are you the best candidate for the job?
  • What are your strengths and achievements?
  • Give an example of your team work and problem solving abilities.
  • The above advice can equally be applied to a cover letter, if relevant!
  • It is important to showcase you when providing answers to questions. Ensure that your motivation and enthusiasm can be expressed through your answers.
  • Finally, remember that attention to detail is extremely important. Where you have an opportunity to provide answers to questions, consider writing your answers in a MS Word document first to check for any potential spelling errors before copying and pasting into the application!

Preparing for application assessments

  • Many applications for clerkships and internships require you to complete online testing. To help, ensure you set aside an appropriate amount of time to complete these – ideally in one sitting.
  • Before you start, check your internet and browser has a secure and stable connection.
  • If you are completing a video interview, ensure you wear professional clothing – you don’t want to be caught in your pyjamas!
  • Set yourself up in a distraction-free environment – often you may find you will need to concentrate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Listen to or read the instructions provided to you carefully. Take the time to understand what is being asked of you before you dive in.
  • When completing the assessment(s), answer to the best of your ability and try not to overthink it. Answering in a way that you think the firm wants you to may end up skewing your results in an unfavourable way, so don't let this distract you.

Clayton Utz Application

Now that you are ready to put your best foot forward, what are we looking for?

  • We're looking for people who are personable, practical, commercially-savvy, as well as flexible. Our teams undertake complex and innovative work, so it's important that our people are motivated individuals who aren’t afraid of a challenge.
  • We are also interested in learning more about your outside interests. You need to be able to balance your professional and personal lives, and have fun!
  • Most importantly, we are looking for people we'd enjoy working alongside, and who would enjoy working alongside us.
  • We want people who embody the firm's behavioural values of trust, respect and co-operation and our foundation value of highest ethical standards in all that they do.
  • When applying for our clerkship programs, you will also be asked to complete our psychometric testing through pymetrics. Ensure you have enough time and a quiet environment to complete.
  • After you have completed your application you will receive an email with an invitation to complete a short "Rare Recruitment" survey. Please note this survey will ask for information from your time in high school, including grades, so have this ready.

Get in touch

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.