By DebbieH 29 Aug 2019 7 min read

The 4 key elements of a law CV

The law sector is one of the most competitive for employment, with many recruiters receiving hundreds of applicants for roles, particularly at the bigger law firms with the best reputations. 

The average amount of time a recruiter will spend looking at your CV is less than 20 seconds, meaning it needs to be packed with compelling content that makes them want to read more. Getting your CV past the ATS system is even harder, but we suggest using a CV review to help combat this and give yourself the best chance possible.

Here are the four key elements to include in your law CV to boost your chances of receiving an interview invitation:


Begin with a punchy professional profile

The top section of your CV needs to be powerful and include all of the in-demand law skills and experience that you possess.

Start with a bold statement that concisely summarises your law expertise and your main work delivered to date. Follow this up with a paragraph that describes your key specialisms including results/outcomes and details of the most relevant experience to the role. 

Include detail concerning the areas of law you have most experience in, for example, perhaps you’ve trained in corporate law or held a work placement in construction law. 


Add impact with a core skills section

In your core skills section, you need to create a list of your related law skills, such as Investigation and Evidence Collation, Contract Negotiation and Drafting, or any other skills that are relevant to the type of law role you are applying for.

Refer back to the job description to decipher which skills are listed as requirements. You’ll need to pepper your profile, core skills and experience sections with these skills and keywords in order to prove you’re a suitable match for the role.

It’s best to format into short bullet points so that your skills add real impact and stand out on the page. 


Detail your law expertise

Whilst most applicants will have had similar education to you, what employers will be particularly interested in is seeing the expertise you’ve developed in the area of law which they’re recruiting for.

Use specific examples of work you have delivered in the field that they are most interested in, providing facts and figures to back up your examples wherever possible.

Recruiters want to see the direct impact that you have had, so talk about work that you’ve personally delivered. Avoid passive voice, too, or you risk detaching yourself from being the key driver in achieving the results.


Wow with your academic prowess

One area that you can really expand on if you don’t have much on-the-job experience is your academic results.

As well as just including your grades, you can refer to specific projects and course modules, especially if they’re relevant to the area of law you’re applying for.

If you have been awarded any academic awards or outstanding results that show off your academic prowess, make sure you include it to get the edge over other candidates.

If you cover off these four elements, then you will significantly improve your chances of success in landing your dream law job.


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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