Writing a Legal CV (Part 2)16 Apr, 20235 Mins
If you’re writing your first legal CV, these are top questions and answers to help you stand out for all the right reasons.
- What do I put at the top?
Put your name up top and use a larger font than the main body of the CV. But don’t make it so large that you use up valuable space. Also, put your contact details up top (below your name). Employers don’t want to dig around trying to find that information, so putting it at the top is simple and effective.
- I’ve won awards, should I include them?
Sure! You may have awards, scholarships and achievements that don’t fit in the work history section but are significant to include. So, create a section called “Awards and Achievements”, put them here and include the date you achieved them. Make sure you objectively know they’re valuable to include, not just a nice thing to mention, (skip that ‘best jam maker’ award). This section would usually go under your career history section.
- How do I decide what to write in my career history?
Write in reverse chronological order, so the latest job first. Then, don’t just write what you did, write what you learnt and how that relates to the job you’re applying for. Even if the job is totally different, pick out the skills you learnt that apply to the job you want. Also, you don’t need the exact day you started and left. The month and year is enough.
- Should I write in the first person?
Yes, but vary your sentence structure, so you avoid every sentence starting with “I did” or “I was”. Your writing style is a way to impress someone at a law firm, so it’s also important you stick to the first person throughout.
- Do I include extra-curricular activities?
Yes. Remember, your CV is prime real-estate, so if you have impressive, standout extracurricular activities, include them. They’re likely to be brought up at an interview. If space is tight because of your work history, then you may need to sacrifice a few activities and narrow it to just a couple. But don’t miss them entirely.
One last point we’d make is to go through your CV and check it for inconsistencies and errors. Attention to detail matters for lawyers, so your CV should reflect your ability to focus on that.