How to Write a Legal CV

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Firstly include your name – is it the name you use on a daily basis? Underneath this have two columns with your contact details on the left hand side and your personal details on the right hand side. Make sure if possible that your address is close to the firm you are applying for and do not forget to include an e-mail address and mobile telephone number. 

The next section should be a profile which should set out your job title, the number of years experience you have, where you are looking for work, how much money you want and when you can start.  Keep this to one or two sentences if at all possible unless you have something very specific to say.

The next section should be your education in reverse date order with the most recent first.  Do not forget to include one day training courses and include a sample of between 4 and 5 CPD courses.  State your degree classification if relevant and also your grades for A Level but do not include your grades for GCSE except to confirm the number of them that are at Grades A to C.

Your work experience is your most important section and this should be the longest part of the CV if possible.  Put it in reverse date order with the most recent first and do not forget to make sure that your most recent job title fits the job title of the post you are applying for if possible.  Make sure that you explain who your most recent employer was, together with the dates you were there and use bullet points to detail your experience.  Use facts and figures wherever possible and avoid any long detailed business speak.  Billing levels, examples of work and facts & figures all make a CV stand out from the crowd.

The next section should be your computer and language skills and you should include a sentence explaining any specialist software you can use that is relevant to the post you are applying for and any general software such as Microsoft Office products or Open Source/Mac.  Typing speed is worth including on a CV and for language make sure you state the level of fluency (and be honest). 

Activities and Interests is the final section with 3 or 4 bullet points outlining if possible sporting and outdoor activities together with any specialist personal interests. Try to avoid any general comments such as socialising or reading. 

Two references should be on the CV with one from your most recent employer if possible and the other from someone who knows you professionally.

Spend a minute reviewing your CV – it could change your career prospects dramatically…

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