Alex Carpenter
Alex Carpenter
Associate Director

Articles From the Team

Your legal CV - top tips on content, style and structure

Your CV is the gateway to securing the opportunity that you want. As such, it’s highly important that your CV demonstrates exactly what you can offer. You might be the perfect fit for an opportunity, but if you can’t showcase your skills and experience, that half open door to your dream legal role may close before you’ve even begun!

How to structure your legal CV

Structure is key. If the CV doesn’t flow correctly you’re already allowing the reader to switch off. Consider:

  • People often write profiles about themselves to begin with. If you want to include a short profile about yourself then do, but keep it effective and concise.
  • Your education should be next. If there’s any stand out accomplishments you want to include, then by all means do, but your qualifications and grades alone are sufficient in this section.
  • Your employment and legal experience should follow. Do not hide anything here, even if you accepted a role for a short period of time and moved on - honesty is always the best policy on your CV. Note in chronological order and ensure to include clear date ranges and job titles.
  • Remember to include your experience for each individual firm you have worked for. We quite often see information left out for a specific job if it’s very similar to the work in a previous role - however this just creates unanwered questions from the reader.
  • Any unrelated qualifications, other non-legal experience and interests should make up the final section of your CV and remember to mention that ‘references are available on request’. 

CV style and content

You should focus on achieving a concise but informative style for your CV. But also to note, there’s a fine line between informative and overwhelming, hence potentially dull. Consider:

  • Bullet points are an absolute must - sentences without any structure or breaks aren’t appealing to the reader. ‘I also have experience in’ and ‘My role also included’ at the beginning of each sentence is repetitive and it will deter the reader completely. Try making a list of the work you’ve been exposed to and your day to day experiences, but make sure there’s sufficient information to ensure the reader knows exactly what type of work you have experience in.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of focusing primarily on how you handle work, rather than the type of work you handle. It’s important to get across that you’re a competent worker, but people quite often forget to show off their experience and focus mainly on their traits instead. Firms want to see that you have experience and not just a well organised manner of handling things.
  • Give specific examples of your work, if you can. If there’s any high value or noteworthy work that you can include, include it! Remember - you’re trying to stand out from the crowd.

Keeping track of your CV: 

You should always make a note of where your CV has been sent. If you don’t keep track and you accidentally ask two recruitment agencies to send your CV for the same opportunity, it looks untidy and not well thought through on your part. It’s always best to keep a note of exactly where you’re up to with. At BCL we never share your CV with a firm without your explicit permission to do so.

If you’re looking for any advice regarding your CV, or you’re just looking for a chat about the market and current/upcoming opportunities, please feel free to call me for a confidential conversation.

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