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Writing your legal CV to make sure it delivers

It's the first thing a potential employer will see. So it's vital it makes the right impression. Here are a few tips on writing a good legal CV.

It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of your CV. What’s in it will form the basis of what you discuss at your interview. And that means it gives you a chance to allow the meeting to flow, as well as predict – and prepare for – the questions you’ll be asked.

Firstly, use short, succinct bullet points that get to the point. Interviewers don’t like spending time reading long-winded sentences.

Include plenty of technical detail, and illustrate the types of work you’ve done with examples. Make sure you’re comfortable discussing any points you put in your CV too, so you can easily talk around the subject – particularly the technical legal aspects.

It should also cover your full academic history, with any chronological gaps – such as years spent abroad, travelling and sabbaticals – explained. Pick out any career highlights and successes you’ve had, plus things you’ve enjoyed.

Don’t waste the opportunity to sell yourself through the personal interests you include either. This gives interviewers the chance to see how you’ll fit in to their team or business – and increasingly they’re looking for rounded individuals who’ll become work winners or client relationship partners in future.

If you’re a senior lawyer, with over six years’ PQE, use your CV to demonstrate your ability to develop clients. Prepare a business plan before the interview, and make sure you can confidently answer questions about it. If you can’t, it comes across as a lack of confidence in your ability and client relationships. It’s also important to highlight any experience you have of supervising a team.

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