By DebbieH 01 Jul 2019 7 min read

Law graduate CV mistakes to avoid

Applying for your first law job after graduation can be daunting. With the law job market being such a competitive area, it’s highly important to spend considerable time on a well-written and perfectly presented law CV.

Ensure your CV is of the highest quality and won’t ruin your chances of landing that dream graduate role, by checking through these common law graduate CV mistakes:


Not tailoring to target roles

Generic CVs which are used for multiple job applications might save time – but they considerably reduce the possibility of success. A recruiter can easily tell that you’ve used a generic CV, as it’s unlikely to contain the specific requirements they’ve detailed and fails to include any references to their company.

Applicants who tailor their CV to the specific role will be seem far more committed to the specific company, as opposed to just wanting to get a job at any old law firm. Employers want to hire candidates who fit in well with their ways of working and can clearly carry out the advertised role.

Make sure you tweak your CV to include all the desired skills and attributes listed in the job description – this is, hands down, the most effective way to prove your suitability.


Packing in meaningless clichés

It’s all too easy to litter your CV with clichés – but often, they’re meaningless and prove absolutely nothing to the employer. When you consider that the ideal length of a CV is no more than two pages, using up space with meaningless clichés will leave you with less room to impress recruiters with the most valuable, impactful information.

Rather than stating you’re a “great team player”, pinpoint a time that you actually demonstrated teamwork skills and add in a fact or metric to prove your impact. For example, this could be a time that you lead a team in University and achieved a high 1:1 for your group assignment.

Failing to back up your claims

Following on from the previous point; you should aim to back up all your listed skill and expertise with facts and figures. The more evidence you can provide to back up your claims, the more impressive you’ll sound and the more you’ll convince recruiters that you are the right candidate for the role.

As a recent graduate, you might not have much industry work experience – but you can still use your university experience and part-time jobs to prove your value. For example:


  • “Used customer service skills to solve 98% of complaints within recommended 10-day time frame”
  • “Achieved the highest grade (95%) in my seminar group for my second-year assignment on XXX”


Having a sloppy format and structure

It’s important to remember that graduate role recruiters will often be reviewing hundreds of applications. For this reason, they may only have time to skim-read each CV to decide which ones will make the first shortlist.

With this in mind, you must ensure that your CV is presented in a way that is easy for a reader to pick out the most important information. Including a personal profile, core skills list and plenty of bullet points can help to emphasise your most valuable (and relevant) attributes. You should also work to a defined structure and leave plenty of space between sections for easy reading.

In such a competitive job market, avoiding these common law graduate CV mistakes can help you to gain an advantage over other applicants.


Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.

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