CVs, being the first point of contact between the job seeker and a potential employer or firm, are something you’ve got to get absolutely right.
To this end, ALB asked a number of legal recruitment experts for their top tips for a legal CV that will get you through to the interview stage.
1. Include a well edited cover letter – Cover letters are not essays about your professional life, so keep it short and sweet. A polished cover letter should explain why you’re interested in the role and the particular firm. It should include a concise summary of how your experience fits with the job criteria.
2. Make sure contact details are accurate – Correct contact details should be located at the top of the CV and include name, address, phone or a mobile number, email and residency status. Give personal rather than office phone numbers and emails.
3. Use subtitles to break up the CV –Subtitles not only make your CV look clean, but also make it easier to read.
4. Provide a statement of your career objectives – A succinct statement of professional goals in the role applied for as well as long-term career goals will provide potential employers with greater insight into your character as well as how well you fit into the culture of the firm.
5. List your education/qualifications – Admission date and jurisdiction of the qualification should be listed first. Tertiary and other qualifications should be listed thereafter in chronological order of completion date.
6. List your skills – Include a bullet-point list of skills and attributes in a separate section.
7. Summarise your work experience –Detail areas of specialisation and provide example of matters worked on, including the dollar value and documents drafted. Write in the past tense. Always include the name of the firm, your role and the start and end date of employment.
8. List your professional affiliations – Outline in bullet points any professional, legal or commercial affiliations and dates of membership. This section is another way for you to market your professional skills, interests and networks.
9. Give extracurricular activities/ interests – List any non-workplace leadership roles you have undertaken to demonstrate your initiative, character and ability to work with different people from various cultural and social backgrounds. Include any non-professional achievements that might be good talking points in an interview.
10. Don’t include referees – It’s generally better to provide referees at the job offer stage, to avoid your current employer finding out you are looking for another job.
11. Send as a Word document – Keep your CV in Word format as it is easier for the recruiter or HR person to deal with and store your information. Never send it as a PDF or design file unless specifically requested.
12. Professional photo – Attaching a photo is optional, but if you decide to do so make sure the shot is professional. Do not include holiday or party snaps.
13. Use a maximum of three to four pages – Always keep CVs short and succinct. Anything more than four pages is too long. Only list the most relevant elements of your experience and keep it within the last five to 10 years.
To see what sort of CVs impresses law firms, click to watch video here.
To read the biggest CVs blunders by job seekers, click here.
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