Blog post | What to put on a CV if you want to work at a law firm
CVs, resumes, cover letters- whatever you need for that dream job in law, what are the essentials you need to include?
Here are my top tips:
For a CV, I use a general structure of:
1. Personal details
2. Qualifications / Education
3. Legal Experience
4. Skills (or you can put this together with no. 3)
5. Extra curricular activities
For a cover letter:
make sure you spell it all correctly - this includes the law firm and the HR contact!
make it personalised to the job you are applying and pick out the best parts of your CV and explain why you are suited to the job.
in your cover letter always provide examples to back up a statement. Eg 'I have an academically outstanding record.' Add your achievements afterward: eg 'I achieved a Distinction average in my Bachelor of Laws, and was awarded first place in Evidence Law'.
always check if there is selection criteria for the job you are applying for - make sure you address each criterion. If you don't think you tick one or two of the boxes, address these head on (or have your response ready at the interview): eg if the job asks for experience in corporate litigation- look for things you have done or skills you have which will be useful, such as that you took part in mooting competitions at university or worked as a judge's associate, or that you have keen attention to detail, backed up with real life examples.
include all relevant legal and non-legal experience - and query whether you need to include your high school babysitting job…
work experience, volunteering and university activities are a definite yes to include. Especially if you are applying for your first job, this may be your only experience so talk it up! Law Revue, article writing, leadership positions, shadowing your family friend who happens to be a lawyer- include this and what you learned.
if you are published somewhere- provide the link or reference. Examples of your written work will show off your skills.
have something extra about you that provides you with the X factor - eg your sporting prowess or an interesting hobby. It often provides an ice breaker at the interview. For me, it was my hip hop dancing and cheerleading experience that got the partners talking.
get someone to read over it for typos and structure (we can help with that if you like - or ask a friend or family member)