Your CV is your own personal sales document that will help to sell your skills and secure your perfect job. Your aim is to entice the recruiter to want to know more about you.
It’s worth spending some time on it and, while we will guide you through the process, it’s worth considering the following hints.
Format: It’s helpful to provide your CV in Microsoft Word format and use a popular font such as Arial, Verdana or Helvetica. Make sure you spell check the document and read it and re-read it.
Name, address and contact details: It sounds obvious but ensure all your contact details are included and are up to date.
Education: This is crucial and is an area in which partners and HR professionals pay attention to. Include A-Levels or Highers, degrees and LPC grades. If you omit any of this information it can look like you have something to hide. Also include the schools and universities you attended, as well as the relevant years.
Awards: If you won awards at school or university include them on your CV. Don’t miss an opportunity to sell yourself and your skills.
Languages and IT skills: If you have language skills, now is the time to mention it, particularly as many law firms now work internationally. Regarding IT skills outline your level of proficiency with relevant software packages such as Microsoft Word and Excel.
Social media: With the increasing popularity of social media many more law firms are subscribing to sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. If you have a professional presence on social media sites and have drafted law-related blogs it’s a good idea to mention these on your CV. If you have a LinkedIn profile include the link on your CV.
Business development and marketing initiatives: Business development skills are important because they demonstrate that you can bring business into the firm while marketing skills show an awareness of the importance of promoting and publicising the company.
Tailor your CV: If there is a job spec then tailor your CV to make sure you highlight that you have the relevant and required skills and experience.
Work experience: Chronologically profile your work history, including the organisation you worked for and its location, plus your job title and, if applicable, your practice areas. Describe your key tasks and responsibilities. Mention any non-legal work experience only if it demonstrates that you learned skills such as team working.
Activities and interests: Rather than listing irrelevant hobbies such as reading or listening to music highlight your involvement in sporting teams and other organisations. Mention any positions of responsibility you’ve held or awards you’ve gained. Experiences such as starting a new club or society at university can help you to stand out.
Referees: You don’t necessarily need to give references at this stage. Stating ‘references available on request’ will usually suffice.