As legal recruiters we see a lot of CVs, and as your first introduction to a potential employer they are a crucial tool to securing an interview.
Our general tips to ensure your CV makes a positive first impression are:
Use bullet points and headings so your CV is succinct, flows well and is easy to read
Keep your CV to 2-4 pages, with more detailed information associated to your most recent (and relevant) roles and less information for jobs dating back 10+ years. As a junior or graduate lawyer keep non-legal university jobs to 2 max
Personal qualities and traits are important in your CV but keep them brief so as not to overshadow technical legal skills and experience you've gained. Soft skills and personality are assessed at interview stage & through referencing
Check your CV for typos, spelling and grammatical mistakes. This is especially important in the legal sector and can be the difference between getting an interview or not
Including a professional (small) photo is purely optional
The aesthetic of the CV should look professional, clean and simple. Avoid overusing colour, different font styles and italics
Suggested CV order and structure:
Personal statement: 1-3 lines about you, core areas of expertise and interestsEducation: List educational achievements from most recent including dates and institution
Start from most recent role
Include month / year - month / year in each role, Employer nam and Job title. Show a promotion on two lines, with the most current title first
Using sufficient detail outline the work areas you've gained experience in
Include special achievements & any awards received
Use sub-headings if needed to differentiate between different legal practice areas you've gained experience within a role
Other Experience: include volunteer work, professional memberships, mentorship responsibilities, and extra-curricular responsibilities (e.g. being a part of a firm’s social committee).
Interests: personal hobbies and interests
Referees: optional to include or you can state “referees to be provided upon request”.
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