It goes without saying that a brilliant CV will be your ticket to an interview and a great legal executive job.
As a starting point, remember that hundreds of other people may be applying for the same position as you, and recruiters can realistically only spend a short time going through each CV – sometimes decisions are made in as little as 20 seconds. So work hard to get all your best points across while being as clear and concise as possible, and remember to prioritise your points so that the most important information isn’t left to the end.
Think of your CV as your own personal marketing tool. It’s the perfect opportunity to sell yourself and communicate your skills and experience. We think these tips for a legal executive specific CV will help:
1. Clear and simple layout
Your CV must be easy to read quickly, so make it uncluttered and eye-catching. With your layout, separate out the different sections and use clear section headings. Avoid long paragraphs and rambling sentences. It often helps to use bullet pointing to break up text into easily readable bite-sized chunks – you can provide a lot of information about your past experience as a legal executive this way.
2. Tailor your CV to each job you apply for
It is essential that your CV is targeted to the specific job role you are applying for. It will be useful to research each company in question and use the keywords that match what they are looking for – dynamic, innovative, attention to detail etc.
Keep in mind the brand of the company you’re targeting. This sums up the kind of organisation they are and the types of people they want to employ. Make sure you understand what employers are looking out for before you fill out your CV or application form. Using a one-size-fits-all, generic CV for your job applications won’t get you noticed.
3. State your objective
Tell recruiters about your objective for this application. It shows you understand what the company is looking for, while also confirming that you are the right match for their expectations.
4. Provide a brief ‘Professional Profile’
This is your chance to pitch yourself in a paragraph or two. A professional profile will emphasise your key attributes, and so should be written for the attention of the hiring manager. Keep it brief as you can expand on examples of your attributes later in the CV. Try using strong words such as ‘organised’, ‘diligent’ or ‘problem-solver’.
For example: “A diligent and motivated individual focused on client care and business objectives, with the ability to build a good rapport with clients and colleagues. With managerial experience and effective communication skills, I have the ability to train and support team members. I lead by example to ensure objectives are met, and am able to confidently deal with conflicting priorities while using my intuition. Aspire to be a part of a successful company that will challenge my skills.”
5. Make a feature of your achievements at work
Outline what your responsibilities were with an emphasis on achievements. Highlight relevant projects you have managed, specifying targets achieved. Also include any promotions, however minor. Demonstrate any relevant experience you have of the company’s particular sector/market.
6. Highlight your unique skills
Emphasising certain skills will turbo-charge your CV in your automotive job hunt. Beyond your specific mechanical qualifications, you will have other skills that could boost your attractiveness to recruiters. These are often overlooked, but can be a powerful way to set you apart from the competition. Would it be useful to mention communication skills, people management, computer and numeracy skills?
7. Work your ‘interests’
Interests can often look like an uninspiring list: skiing, reading, socialising with friends etc. But you can make this section of your CV work harder for you. Keep it short, use bullet points, avoid clichés, don’t look too solitary. Unusual hobbies stand out, especially those that reflect you as a great person. So rather than just including ‘photography, cycling and travel’ try:
Team sport (captain), reading and creative tasks e.g. pottery and crafts
Remember interests can showcase your employability skills of organising, planning, negotiating, and managing a team. So for instance, anything that shows evidence of innovation, leadership and teamwork is useful.
8. Delete irrelevant information
It’s important for your CV to be informative, but it must also be concise so that legal recruiters can digest it efficiently. In general, using two A4 pages is appropriate. Only include information which will actually help to get you an interview for this specific role. Recruiters don’t want to waste time reading details irrelevant to your ability to fulfill the job role.
9. Get someone to proofread your CV
Check vigilantly for spelling and grammatical errors. Don’t rely on spell check systems on your computer, as they can overlook errors you’ve written. By all means, run a spell check, but also ask a friend – ideally someone with knowledge about your role – to go over your draft CV and spot any mistakes. Others might also make useful suggestions about tone, length of sections or layout of your CV.
10. Send it in the right format
Instead of guessing which CV format the employer prefers, make sure you know how it will be received and read, and send it in as the right kind of file. With email and digital technology now so important in the job application process – many employers scan CVs electronically, looking for the right keywords. Follow the recruiter’s instructions on the job posting carefully, or email/call the company to check. If sending directly to an employer via their e-mail, it’s worth sending your CV as scannable text within the body of the e-mail itself. Then, attach a version with the full layout you’ve designed and attractive fonts that you have chosen.
Once you’ve perfected your CV, don’t forget to upload it to Simply Law Jobs so that employers can find you!
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