Top Tips For a Winning Legal CV

Your CV is the first and most important tool to ensuring you secure an interview for your next in-house legal role.

It’s the key to your job seeking campaign and must present you in an attractive and professional manner.

Take time to put together a CV that showcases your experience and achievements and ensure you are able to talk through these with confidence in an interview.

We have talked to our clients, in-house legal hiring managers of multinational organisations, to gain their feedback on what they believe are the most important things when reading a CV:

Content

Section 1 – Personal details

The key here is not to take up too much room. All you need is name, along with your email address, current location, mobile phone number and ideally your LinkedIn URL. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date as this is essentially where you promote ‘Brand You’.

Section 2 – Education and Qualifications

Stipulate classification of degree, where you studied and where and when you were admitted as a solicitor.

Section 3 – Experience

For all the different companies you have worked for – ensure that there is a 2-3 lines of description of what the company does, its size, and who it competes with. Do not assume that the reader knows.

In addition:

Your past 2 roles or last 8 years of experience are best constructed as follows:

3 or 4 Bullets on your main responsibilities.

3 or 4 Bullets on your project type work – i.e the non day to day stuff.

4 or 5 Bullets on your key achievements – the experience that is unique to you – where you have had a positive impact on the performance of the business, your team etc.

Write your experience section in bullet points to make your CV easy on the eye (i.e lots of white space) and easy for the reader /interviewer to pick out the most relevant parts.

Section 4 – Additional Info or Skills and Training

List your relevant skills, any courses you have attended or any formal training that you have received.

Section 5 – Interests

You have nothing to lose by adding in your interests. If you share something in common, it acts as an ice breaker.

Some additional thoughts:

Bespoke your CV to every job application – there will be words & phrases in the role you’re applying for, that you can use in your CV to better explain your experience for this job.

In your cover letter or summary highlight the most relevant aspects of your experience to the role you are applying for – it ensures the reader doesn’t miss something important.

Presentation

Ensure your CV looks professional and is laid out neatly. You will be judged by the standard of this, so ensure it creates a fantastic first impression, with a font size no smaller than 10 or 11. Please do not include a photo.

Length

You should be able to say everything necessary on no more than 2-4 pages. A one-page CV popular in the French-speaking countries is unfortunately too short for a hiring manager based elsewhere – make sure you add more detail.

Numbers

Use number based facts if you can, ‘I have improved efficiency by 25%’ or ‘I have reduced costs by 30%’.