In the legal industry, competition for jobs is fierce. In order to land your ideal role, your solicitor CV needs to stand out with strong and relevant skills.
As well as sharing your experience, achievements and job history, your CV should highlight your stand-out skills. This will give you the best chances possible of attracting the attention of recruiters and securing that top job. So, what five essential skills do you need to make sure are pride of place in your CV?
As you already know, being a solicitor is an incredibly intellectually demanding profession. Your CV is a chance to demonstrate your legal knowledge through your academic results and your solicitor training. However, if your academic achievements do not give you an edge, consider the legal expertise you have gained throughout your career and experience.
You can demonstrate legal knowledge in your CV through any continuing professional development you have undertaken. You can also mention projects that have expanded your knowledge as well as organisations that you are actively involved in which further your expertise.
Throughout your training and career as a solicitor, you’ll know the importance of effective written and oral communication. Your communication skills are essential not only to listen to clients and build relationships but to argue cases and be able to explain complex information in a way that clients can understand.
Furthermore, your written communication is a necessity when crafting legal documentation and drafting letters. Being clear and concise with your information is essential, and your CV should show this skill in itself.
As well as demonstrating your communication skills through a clear and easy to read CV, you can also showcase your communication skills through project examples. Your CV should recall times where your effective communication has made a significant impact on the success of a case.
Depending on the area of law that you are practising, being aware of developments within that sector is crucial to succeeding in your career. In private practice, clients pay for insightful advice and knowledge on a specific area – so your understanding of the area should be up to date. It is essential that solicitors are aware of key developments that may affect such advice.
Negotiation is a complex skill and includes a variety of principles from confidence, good communication, research and pre-emptive knowledge of what will be a successful outcome. The best way to demonstrate your negotiation skills is to describe examples of past successful negotiations.
While space is limited on your CV think about a concise way to demonstrate good rapport and your strategy through the bargaining phases.
As a solicitor, you’ll be expected to know a vast amount of information and often across a variety of weird and wonderful topics. While you won’t be able to recall every piece of information out there, your ability to research and analyse information is an incredibly valuable skill for any solicitor.
Research skills not only come from absorbing vast amounts of information but from being able to analyse what you’ve read and apply it to your specific case. From background casework to advising clients, research will come into play daily.
To evidence your excellent research skills in your CV, think about examples where your extensive research has led you to a successful outcome or solution to a client problem. Alternatively, you may have helped another solicitor with their case through your researching skills.
As a solicitor, you need to stand out from the crowd with your self-confidence, knowledge and presentation skills. As a result, your CV needs to reflect this. A good way to start showing your excellent written presentation skills is through a clear, logical CV structure that looks clean and appealing.
You should also consider successful presentations you have completed in your training and career history. The best way to demonstrate your presentation skills is to add facts and figures to your examples such as the largest audience for one of your presentation, or perhaps explain your ability to present to very senior people.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.
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