Mark Levine
Mark Levine
Managing Director: In-house

Articles From the Team

Be warned: this is what your overly wordy CV tells me about you

I have just opened up a CV of a senior lawyer and immediately my heart has plummeted. All I can see are words – 1600 of them in 10 fulsome paragraphs with the odd spattering of bullet points. I have read in the past that ‘the average CV is read for between 60 and 180 seconds’. When I looked to check this online again I found this interesting article… which states your CV only has 6 seconds to make an impact!!!

So as an in-house legal recruiter what does an over cumbersome CV flag to me:

• I often get told that lawyers talk too much at interview and that they use 100 words when 10 would have sufficed! If your CV is not succinct, my assumption is that you are likely to be as verbose in real life as you are on paper – and that is a big turn off for me as well as my clients.

• You lack self-awareness – Harsh? Possibly, but everyone is busy and bombarded by information. Whenever I put information together I try and think of who I am sending it to, how busy they must be and what they want out of the information that they need from me... so that they can move on as quickly as possible to their next job. I will also format a document in such a way that if an area of information is not relevant to them they can find a different bit that is. A CV with an 11 line paragraph with over 155 words doesn’t quite allow for that.

• You lack commerciality. Why? Well, to me this is your most important sales tool and if you haven’t spent time researching what this should look like and you produce a CV that is too lengthy then I can only assume that your legal/ business advice will be as well. In another blog titled: 10 ways to tell that you aren’t actually ready for a move from private practice to lawyer commented: “You believe your clients want lengthy and detailed written advice rather something brief and practical.” This sums up the CV point perfectly – forget me having to read your CV – do you think an HR Director/ FD/ General Counsel has the time to spend finding the interesting bits to your experience?

Taking my own advice I will finish this blog now (even though I have more to say...) – I don’t want to turn you off with too many words!!

For more information contact Mark Levine at BCL Legal.

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