Writing your CV
Whilst your CV will never fully encapsulate you and your experience it will be the first impression a potential employer will get of you and so it’s essential that your CV can differentiate you from other applicants and convinced the employer to move your application to the next stage. These tips should give you some helpful information on what makes a good CV.
- Your name and contact details including telephone numbers and email address
- Profile paragraph setting out a summary of your skills and experience and your goals
- Education and training
- Work history in reverse chronological order (starting from your most recent role and working back). When describing employment experience give careful thought not only to the work you carried out but also to the skills involved. For example “managed a litigation case load” won’t tell your prospective employer very much about your skills. Instead include details of the types of work and the skills required.
- Your employable skills and achievements, including those gained through non-paid work
- The name and contact details of two or three referees
- Irrelevant personal information such as your age, race, sex, marital status, partner’s job, political affiliation, names and ages of your children
- A photo. How you look is not relevant to your application.
CV length and Style:
- Keep it concise- 2 -4 pages are generally the best length depending upon your work experience. A list of your most relevant legal transactions or matters, often referred to as either a Deal Sheet or Transaction Sheet, is helpful.
- Junior lawyers can place these transactions within the body of the resume following the name of the employer where the work was performed.
- More experienced or senior lawyers may choose to high a few transactions in the body of their resume and attach a more comprehensive list of transactions to the CV as an addendum.
- Make it easy to read and keep it simple- don’t overload the page, instead, split the content up into understandable categories with easy to read titles. It helps people find the info they are after and help you stand out from other people with crowded & dense documents. Use bullet points where possible.
- Make sure that there are no gaps in your CV. Whether you’ve been travelling or freelancing it’s vital that you say so.
- Customise for each application - sometimes you’ll find yourself sending out lots of job applications at once, even so it’s always worth taking a few minutes to customise the CV to the job you are applying for.
- Look at the skills in the job description and make sure you’ve featured every skill in your CV, sometimes it is even worth changing the wording to the same as in the job description. This technique shows you’ve paid attention to their advert and indicates to them that you are exactly what they are looking for.
- Spell and grammar check your CV and then get someone to check it for you.