Are you competent….to deal with competency questions on application forms?

This is a frantic time for completing and sending applications to bigger law firms, for finalists/diploma students wanting traineeships with such firms. As well as all the factual stuff about your education and work experience to date, you're likely to be faced with questions about teamwork, problem solving, communication …..etc etc. If these sorts of questions tend to bring on a cold sweat and feelings of panic – keep calm and carry on reading – help is at hand.

The trick to answering such questions is to avoid being purely descriptive of a situation, and to use your analytic skills – well honed by your law degree, to analyse what you did and what you achieved in your team, when solving a problem, communicating effectively ….etc etc. Make use of the STAR technique – be a STAR in your applications – and interviews – it works there too!

So how do you become a STAR? Follow the instructions below to answer all your competency questions:

S – Situation – give a brief description of the situation YOU faced

T – Task – outline what YOU had to do (NB – this application is all about you – avoid use of WE)

A – Action – what did YOU do? What was YOUR role in the team?; what steps did you take to resolve the problem…..

R – Result – what happened as a result of YOUR actions?

Want to STAR in more examples? 

 – download/read 'Effective Legal Applications' – more on being a STAR on P.5 – plus packed with useful advice and examples on all aspects of legal CVs and application forms. And for further advice, read the CVs Applications and Interviews section of

And finally – MySelf! (no, not me personally, though I'm happy to give feedback on your applications if you come and see me!) – MySelf is a great new offering from – enabling you to systematically analyse what you've achieved from your experience to date,  and identify experience you should be talking about in your applications.

To try out MySelf for YourSelf, just go to www.LawCareers.Net, click on ‘MyLC.N’ on the top right part of the screen and follow the instructions to open a MyLC.N account. Once on the entry page, select MySelf. Actually using MySelf should be totally intuitive – and it almost makes applications fun!

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