4 ways to optimise your CV for jobs in law
1. Transferable skills
You are potentially a great law candidate, even if you’re fresh out of university with little experience in the legal sector. The trick is to display your transferable skills, as these are core abilities necessary for every role. Highlighting them in your CV could put you ahead of your competition.
Zoom in on these traits in your CV to prove that you have what it takes to succeed in a professional environment.
- Communication: Use your CV to show that you have excellent communication skills. Make sure your sentences are to the point and show that you are articulate, give concrete examples, and don’t waffle
- Problem-solving: Much of your career in law may involve finding and devising solutions, and so you must demonstrate these skills in your CV with specific examples from university, part-time jobs or your personal life
- Attention to detail: Spell check your CV thoroughly, and grammar check it for any silly errors before you submit it. Nothing says ‘not quite right’ like a poorly written, typo-ridden CV
- Research: Highlight your research skills by including projects or academic papers that you worked on throughout your studies. If there are several you can reference, work out which are most relevant to the employer and showcase your value
- Teamwork: The ability to work collaboratively is a highly sought-after skill in law. Reference this skill with evidence of use in your CV; perhaps mentioning any group projects or seminars. Be sure to quantify your contribution, not your teams’ efforts
2. Tailor your CV
Like any job application, you want your CV to fulfil the requirements listed in the job advert accurately, so treat each application as if it is the only one you have applied for.
Tailoring your CV can be time consuming and laborious, but you must show that you match the recruiting requirements to demonstrate why you are the ideal candidate.
Start by identifying the requirements you fulfil and be sure to reference them on your CV.
Also, pull out keywords and phrases from the advert and pepper them throughout your CV. For example, keywords in a property paralegal job spec may include property, legal, law, paralegal, adaptability, written and verbal communication, organisational skills, well-presented and articulate.
By referencing your abilities in the recruiter’s own language, you make it clear you’re a match.
3. Make your CV stand out from the crowd
Don’t simply include what you think recruiters want to hear. If you have experience or skills that set you apart from the rest of the competition and will add value, then shout about it:
- Speak a second language? This shows you're capable of learning a new skill
- Volunteer in your spare time? You think about more than yourself, are capable of handling substantial responsibility and are more than just the sum total of your work
- Unusual hobby? You have more going on in your life than just work, and that makes you an interesting person to spend time with
Highlight the impact your work, either in the legal sector or voluntary, has had on the outcome of any given situation. Recruiters want to see what benefits you could bring to the company, so make sure you let them know just what value you can add.
4. Adjust your language
Your CV should be professional, so remove colloquial language. A career in law is a serious undertaking, and due diligence should be demonstrated at all times.
You want your CV to speak to legal professionals, so it has to speak their language. Review the job spec and the employer’s website to check for tone, style and jargon.
By doing this not only will you strike the right note with potential employers, but you will also show yourself to be serious about a career in law and that you have taken the time to do your research and learn what legal professionals want to read about.
Views expressed in our blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Law Society.