Articles From the Team

Writing your CV

In my role as a recruitment consultant I receive dozens of job applications every day and get to see the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to CVs.

In the recruitment timeline the CV is as important as the interview; this two to four page document needs to represent who you are, it needs to point out all your strengths as well as putting across your personality. It is an essential and very important document that needs care and attention.

So what are the dos and don’ts?

• Layout; ensure that you set your CV out in a logical and easy to read format. Be aware that many companies recruit via online portals and sometimes tables, columns, shading etc can become compromised. Keep the layout simple. Your CV should set out your personal details (including contact details), your academic results, your work experience (in reverse chronology) as well as your interests outside work.

• Abstract fonts and multi colours are a big no; if you are applying for a role within a law firm then think about your audience and always err on the side of professionalism.

• Errors; attention to detail is key and many firms will reject applications if there are spelling, punctuation or grammar mistakes. Make sure you proof read your CV before you submit it to a potential employer.

• Poor language; the use of jargon, clumsy expression or clichés can sabotage the chances of even the most capable of candidates. Instead of using the 'I' pronoun, such as I did this, I did that', use positive action words to lead bullet points e.g. 'Initiated this, created that”, which will seem much more dynamic. This will give a very energetic feel to your CV and help reinforce the message that you are an upbeat, 'can-do' type of candidate.

• Don’t be negative; avoid criticisms of past or present employers. Keep your CV upbeat and positive.

• Outside work interests; don’t make them up; you’ll be surprised how many interviewers ask candidates about their hobbies and interests. Keep them brief and to the point and avoid things such as socialising, eating out and shopping – these aren’t hobbies.

• Keep your CV succinct but ensure that all of the key elements of each role have been set out.I do not think that a CV needs to be kept to two pages but it should never be more than four pages long.

If you would like to speak with a consultant at BCL Legal please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

For more information contact BCL Legal or call 0845 241 0933.

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