Throughout the clerkship process, I (Jay) have found that I was always encouraged to identify and reflect on what my strengths are, as well as the personal experiences which have helped me to develop these strengths. The key to developing a strong application is to link your strength very clearly to a life experience. In a climate where law students are constantly seeking self-improvement and looking to the next best thing, it can feel odd taking the time to sit back and actually acknowledge what we’re good at.
Your strengths don’t need to come from legal experiences, in fact it's usually more interesting if it didn't. Consider different contexts where you have demonstrated qualities such as:
For example, a strength that Renee always shares in her clerkship interviews is ‘resilience’ as she draws upon her experience migrating to Australia by herself for Year 12, where she completed VCE in 1 year instead of the 2 years generally required for students. It might be a good idea to list out all the formative experiences in your life and think deeply about how they have changed you or how you reacted in those situations to produce a good outcome.
If you’re still short on ideas, as I certainly was, it could be helpful to do personality quizzes or tests such as the Myer Briggs. I used my Myer Briggs personality type to get ideas on what my individual strengths may be, and I then reflected upon whether I had demonstrated any of these strengths through my personal experiences.
Based on these strengths, you can then craft a strong narrative throughout your application process:
This strategy enables you to seamlessly integrate your resume, cover letter, and other application documents into a cohesive story, creating a narrative that is credible and consistent. Because it reads more like a narrative, it will enable the HR rep to actually enjoy the experience of perusing your application documents. The end-product is a more compelling and interesting clerkship application, which is much more powerful than disjointed documents that are singularly impressive but don’t necessarily support, or point to, each another.