The start of your training contract is an exciting time. You are keen to get stuck in and show your supervisor what you can do, but it’s natural to feel somewhat daunted too. With that in mind, we thought we’d give you a helping hand by sharing our top tips for impressing your supervisor.
1. Be organised
This is key to managing your workload successfully. You will be working on multiple matters for different people at one time, so it’s essential to find a method of keeping track which works for you.
Try using calendar appointments, reminders or a to-do list which is updated daily. Whichever method you use, make sure you stay on top of deadlines and don’t let anything slip under your radar.
2. Think about next steps
If you know what your supervisor usually asks you to do next, offer to do it before being asked. It shows initiative and enthusiasm, whilst saving your supervisor’s time.
3. Practice proofreading and checking your own work
Step away from your work for a short time then re-read it once more before passing it to your supervisor. Check basic details like names and dates too. You will be surprised at how many errors you notice on a second read-through!
Whilst you are not expected to produce a perfect draft first time, your supervisor will not want to spend time correcting typos. Checking your work thoroughly demonstrates that you pay attention to detail and can be relied upon to produce good quality work.
4. Manage expectations
Make sure you always know when your supervisor is expecting work to be done by. If you are working at full capacity and you are asked to take on more work, explain your position and agree priorities. If you are struggling to meet a deadline, speak up – it is better to make your supervisor aware in advance so they can re-assign the task or update the person expecting it.
Similarly, keep in touch with clients regularly so that they know the timescales you are working to. They shouldn’t have to chase you for an update, so try to be one step ahead at all times.
5. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as why a transaction is structured in a certain way, what the background is, or what the parties are trying to achieve. It’s better to ask at the outset than to start your work and realise you don’t understand the task or you need additional information.
That said, if you can find out the answer yourself (such as looking up a legal point), do so – you can then ask your supervisor any follow-up questions with the benefit of some background knowledge.
Don’t always hide behind emails. Instead pick up the phone or go and find the person you need to speak to – it’s often quicker and it’s always good to be able to put a face to a name.
6. Team work
If you are finding yourself at a loose end and have capacity to take on more work, let your colleagues know. This demonstrates willingness and that you are part of the team.
Most importantly of all, remember to enjoy your training contract! Enthusiasm and a can-do attitude will always be appreciated and will get you far.