Regardless of whether you’re moving into criminal law, corporate law or immigration law, it can be difficult to land the job you want. The first step is writing an excellent CV that stands out from the competition.
Writing a CV is challenging and time consuming. When it comes to putting pen to paper, many of us struggle to write a clear and concise, and more importantly, tailored CV.
As a CV is the first insight an employer gets, you should spend a good amount of time tailoring your CV to the employer and the role. Ask yourself:
- What experience do you have
- What skills do you have
- What makes you different to other candidates
Below, we’ve put together tips to help you get started.
Focus on your personal statement
Your personal statement could be the deciding factor between an interview and a rejection letter. It should be a succinct outline of the qualities, skills, experience and achievements worth highlighting – and all points should be relevant to the solicitor role you’ve applied for.
You should adapt your CV per application. Don’t overdo it. Cover who you are, what you can offer, and what your career goals are. Overall, your personal statement should be two things: precise and relevant.
Don’t forget to refer back to the job description by listing skills the employer mentions.
Tip: aim for around 150 words (four or five lines).
Emphasise results over responsibilities
Prioritise any legal work experience, and more importantly, any solid results you can highlight. Instead of listing what you were responsible for doing, showcase achievements from past roles, and if possible the results accomplished.
Need an example? Discuss the outcome of your department’s growth. E.g. “Since joining the firm in 2013, the department has grown substantially, now handling more than £30 million each calendar year.” Providing figures gives the employer a good idea of how much of an impact you’ve made where you currently or have previously worked.
A tailored CV shows the employer you have taken the time to research the firm in question. Nothing is more flattering to a company than a candidate who has applied because they want to work at that particular firm. A CV and a cover letter that matches with the firm’s mission, objectives and ethos is far more valuable than a copy and paste job from another application. If you are confident that you can deliver everything they have asked for, provide examples of what you’ve done to prove that you are the right person for the job.
Example: “I manage a team of 15 paralegals in dealing with sales, purchases, remortgages and plot sales. Trained new members joining the department”. These are clear examples of management experience.
Use power words
Use words like effective, adaptable, innovative, implemented and achieved to emphasise your achievements.
Did you know that a lot of companies will filter out CVs that don’t use certain keywords? That’s why it’s essential to refer back to the job description – doing this will ensure that your application lands in front of the right person for consideration. Otherwise, you could be applying for a job where the CV doesn’t even get seen by the recruiter…
Show industry insight
Commercial awareness is an essential skill for anyone working in the law. Showing that you have awareness of the industry and the world around us is one of the best ways to stand out to a recruiter. Sometimes it’s not enough to know how to do the job. You have to educate yourself about current affairs, and bring this to the table at your interview. A commercially aware individual is far more attractive than someone who doesn’t know what’s going on in the world or the industry around them.
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Need advice on what to add to your CV?
Why not download our Solicitor CV template below?
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