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CV Guidance & Tips…that old chestnut!

Dec 2017

Before you even begin putting pen to paper you can add more value to your candidacy if you stop and think about what you actually want to communicate in your CV. The simplest way to do this is to take some time to analyse your existing CV:

STRENGTHS

Think about the key strengths that set you apart from the competition and bring these to the fore. These can include academics, skills that add value to the position you’re applying for, experiences of working abroad or any unusual commercial experience.
Detail key skills: Be selective in the information you include and expand upon, making sure you keep less important detail short and to the point.
Get the right balance: Information on your current role should be the most detailed. For example, if you are three years’ qualified, focus on current experience, not what you did during your traineeship.

WEAKNESSES

Experience: If you feel you lack experience in certain areas, compensate by detailing the other skills you know this firm/organisation looks for.
Complacency: After the first draft, don’t think you’ve finished. Remove yourself from the CV for a couple of days if you can and go back to it with ‘fresh eyes’. There may be room for improvement.

OPPORTUNITIES

Use your CV to help secure the best opportunities for you. This is your chance to shine so think carefully about the position you’re applying for and make sure the most relevant details are clearly stated on your CV.
Use your CV to demonstrate what motivates you and why you are “The One”. This is exactly what recruiting firms/organisations want to know – so tell them.

THREATS

A poorly presented CV lacking in clarity and detail. Remember first impressions count and a sloppy CV could imply a sloppy lawyer.

Always avoid:

  • Leaving unexplained gaps in your career history – this could imply you have something to hide.
  • ‘Forgetting’ to put in your academics – regardless of the grades, firms need this information.
  • Including bland statements that do nothing to ‘demonstrate your worth’.
  • Only listing interests of a solitary nature – this could imply you are not a team player.
  • The wrong skills fit – if there is no obvious link between your skills and the role you are applying for you might be viewed as a time waster, which could be bad news should you want to reapply for other positions in the future

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