Writing a brilliant CV is essential to your job search. Why? Because you won;t get to interview stage without it – at least not in the legal industry. So if you’re searching for a top chartered legal executive career, it might be time to give your CV an upgrade.
Getting a job in the law is competitive, and there is no shortage of talented individuals just waiting for the opportunity to impress. Recruiters will only spend a few seconds – yes, seconds – searching through each CV, so it’s important that the right information is available to them clearly.
Think of your CV as your own personal marketing tool. Sell yourself to the firm, and communicate your ability, skillset and experience. We think these tips below will help your chances of getting an interview:
1. Clear and simple layout
When writing your CV, consider the most essential areas recruiters will scan first. Section your CV out carefully with clear (and correct, we can’t stress this enough) contact details, a strong personal statement, a skills section, work experience, education and hobbies section too.
This tells the recruiter exactly where to look for what information. Keep your points short and clear, in bullet points preferably unless it’s your personal statement. Make the information included simple for them to find. Use bold headers that clearly highlight new sections, and smaller but bolded text for dates, job roles etc.
2. Tailor your CV to each job you apply for
No two jobs are the same, so your CV shouldn’t be either. Each firm you apply to will be different, and you should target them directly if you really want your application to be seen. Make each one unique to the employer, so they can separate your CV of clear interest from the other generic ones.
3. State your objective
Tell recruiters about your objective for your application, and why you’ve applied to them specifically. 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 section is essential to your CV – why? Because it’s highly likely that this is the section most recruiters will pay attention to. If they like it, they read on. If they don’t, you won’t be getting an interview. 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 skills at work
Outline your top skills, maintaining the relevance of the job you’re applying for throughout. If they’re looking for someone who can work independently and with quality control in mind (the job description will come in particularly handy for crafting this section), include this.
- Excellent drafting skills
- Great team player with the ability to work independently and with absolute discretion
- Excellent research skills
- Varied knowledge of law, legal codes, litigation, court procedures and government regulations
- Reliable and resourceful
- Typing speed approx. 90 wpm
- Great interpersonal skills
- Experience of different case management systems, including Microsoft Visual FoxPro
- Proficient in computers
- In-depth knowledge of legal provisions
- Multilingual in Spanish, Turkish and English
6. Work your ‘interests’
Including an interests and hobbies section on a legal CV have long been questioned. But if you’re including the right kind of hobbies, ones that further outline your natural ability to do the job in question. For example, perhaps you’ve captained a sports team, or took on a new language during the evening? Unusual hobbies stand out, especially those that reflect you as dedicated, creative and unique.
7. Remove irrelevant information
Your CV should be informative, but concise. Legal recruiters must be able to digest it easily. Bullet point where necessary, and as a general rule, stick to 2 pages in length. 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.
8. Ask someone to proofread your CV
Spending time tailoring your CV means you likely won’t see the mistakes you’ve made – ask a friend to check it for you. Don’t rely on a computer or spellchecker. Ideally it will be 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.
Once you’ve perfected your CV, don’t forget to upload it to Simply Law Jobs so that employers can find you!
Progressing in a Legal Secretary role means you can benefit from higher pay in salary. The average salary for a Legal Secretary in 2019 was £21,629.27. This average dropped slightly from 2018, by -3.21%. Salaries would also vary by region and by the size of the...
Despite the recent relaxation of a few lockdown measures, many of us are still working from home. If this applies to you, and you are a paralegal, or a wannabe paralegal, what can you do to tackle the boredom that you may well be fighting off? What makes an...
Amanda Hamilton from National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) updates us on the paralegal world in light of COVID-19. As we continue to go through the most unprecedented time, in which families, individuals and businesses are trying to survive extreme...
The last couple of months spent in lockdown has affected many lives in the legal industry, with staff now working from home, working reduced hours, or unfortunately, being furloughed. Jobs are more scarce because many employers can't justify bringing on new staff in...
It’s natural for anyone to fall victim to stress or anxiety at any point in life, whether you are prone to these conditions or you’re going through a particularly difficult situation, like divorce, bereavement, or even lockdown at the hands of coronavirus. It’s tough...
Today we’re joined by our partner The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs to discuss how you can perform legal research as a secretary, and the approach taken by some lawyers for this common legal task. Where to research the law If you need to research a...