So, you’ve completed your law degree after years of hard work and are now a fully qualified solicitor.

The next step of your journey is going to be exciting, but first, you need to start the process of applying for jobs – which is probably unchartered territory at this stage.

Law is a particularly competitive job market and there will be numerous high-quality candidates applying for each job. Therefore, an effective, well-written and achievement-focused CV is essential to landing an interview.

Here are some of the key do’s and don’ts for an NQ solicitor CV:


Do: Go into detail

As a newly qualified solicitor, you’re unlikely to have much relevant work experience to refer to, but what you can do is go into detail regarding your training and the seats undertaken during your placement.

Drawing upon this experience is a great way to demonstrate your specialisms and show recruiters that you’ve already gained extensive experience. This, in turn, will prove your ability to perform the role to a high standard.

Trainees who show greater competency will often be trusted with more responsibilities on their placements, so don’t be afraid to go into in depth detail about the work you delivered.


Do: Quantify your achievements

Recruiters will be looking out for impressive achievements which set you apart from other candidates. Therefore, do make sure that these stand out – often, using bullet points is the best way to go about it.

To really prove your impact, you should also quantify each achievement. Use metrics to show your impact – this could be numbers, values, percentages or timeframes.

For example, working to deadlines is a key requirement for solicitors. Describing your experience in meeting tight deadlines, and quantifying it by including timeframes, is sure to impress recruiters.


Don’t: Underestimate structure and format

Sometimes you can be so keen to get all your achievements and experience into your NQ solicitor CV, that you neglect the importance of structure and format.

Remember that most recruiters will be receiving huge volumes of high-quality applications and will generally scan-read your CV in the first instance – why not make it easy for them to do so?

Format your CV in a way that makes the document scannable and helps key information, skills and achievements stand out. Refer to CV templates that show the most effective ways to format your CV and use bold text and bullets to draw attention to the most important areas.

Breaking your CV up into tidy sections, ensuring there’s white space between them, can also make it more readable.


Don’t: Recycle your CV

Want to immediately put a recruiter off your application? Well, just use a generic CV that is not tailored to the role.

If you’re applying for multiple similar jobs, you may believe that they won’t be able to tell. But the truth is, interview-winning CV’s are always tailored around the specific job specification and the firm being applied to.

To do this, figure out what experiences, skills and achievements are most relevant to the job in question and adapt your CV accordingly. Never recycle an existing CV for different roles.

By following these newly qualified solicitor CV do’s and don’ts, you’ll be able to significantly increase your chances of gaining a face-to-face interview and landing your first ever job as a solicitor.


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.


Want more advice on your CV? Download our helpful CV guide below: 

Can I work in law without going to law school?

There are so many avenues of law you can work in, and it’s very much the case that you do not have to go law school to become a ‘legal professional’ and work in law.In partnership with Lawyer Monthly, Simply Law Jobs hears from experts at Augusta Ventures,...

Interview questions for lawyers

As the job market continues to improve, many senior lawyers are considering moving jobs, after spending years at the same firm. This isn’t to say that a more experienced lawyer is better equipped for an interview though - in fact, it may have been years...

The 5 best ways to get started in law

The law is not something we have to go actively looking for – it governs our daily lives. Thus, those interested in the subject can use a variety of tactics to become more familiar with it.In partnership with Lawyer Monthly, Simply Law Jobs hears from John...

Acing the training contract covering letter

You’ve sent your CV and covering letter off to what feels like hundreds of firms, but still you haven't secured an interview. You are close to giving up. There is only so much rejection you can take. Your CV is great, you have a hard fought for 2:1,...

Share This