5 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Legal CV

What better time to motivate yourself in your current studies/career than New Years – the moment to set the resolutions that will catapult you into the realm of career success.

Pick 2-3 of the following recommendations, write them down and stick them somewhere noticeable – and make 2018 your best year yet.

1. Gain More Work Experience

The first way you can improve your CV and get ahead in catching recruiters’ eyes is to gain more legal work experience. The more legal work experience you gain, the more attractive you will look as a candidate, and the more you will explore the different jobs that a career in law can offer.

Start the year thinking about your work experience goals:

Some types of work experience you might consider for the New Year are:

  1. Open Days – get a flavor of the firm and its work culture;
  2. Vacation Schemes – experience a few weeks as a trainee;
  3. Mini Pupillages – spend up to a week sitting with a barrister;
  4. Marshall a judge – see what it is like to sit in court;
  5. Shadow a lawyer – if you have any contacts, see if you can shadow a professional in their firm or workplace.

2. Get Ahead on Your Law Course at University

If you a prospective law student, or if you are studying law at university, there are ways you can start the New Year proactively! Choosing your modules carefully will be an important part of your CV when you start applying to firms.

For those who are law students – get ahead with your reading! And this will give you chance to tackle the extra articles and essays that are recommended to you – these will be useful in any interviews that involve that area of law. Make sure you think about your elective modules too, get ahead and do some research on what to pick for the line of legal work you want to go into in the future.

If you want to work in a commercial firm or chambers, consider commercial law, company law or international law. If you are thinking of a career in criminal areas of law, consider criminology, family law or human rights law!

If you are still at school, and are thinking of doing law, or are starting law after this year, keep focused and keep organised. It might be useful to start developing an interest in legal news updates and documentaries.

3. Learn a Language

Languages are such a valuable skill as a lawyer, as the profession usually involves an international element and often multi-jurisdictional cases – so if your CV shows your interest and skills in a foreign language, it is always a win.

If you are at university or even working, you should consider signing up to an extra-curricular course. Not only will you show firms and recruiters that you have a passion for learning and that you can commit to activities outside of your main studies, but you will also show them you are commercially minded and are expanding your business skillset.

4. Be Commercially Aware

A professional career in law will almost always also require a business mindset. You might need to discuss and debate recent headlines in an interview, or incorporate your commercial understanding into an essay – and so keeping up-to-date with recent news articles and conversations is crucial!

In the New Year, make sure you allocate time to read and reflect on current affairs that you might envisage being a topic of interest for law firms and interviewers.  Set a news alert, a homepage, or download an app that will make keeping up-to-date easier for you – quick reading on your commute or lunch break is a great way to start.

5. Decorate Your CV with Extra-Curricular Activities

When improving your CV, it is important you show firms and recruiters that you have other interests and a life outside of law. It is even better if you can show people that you like to work in a team, that you can commit to a challenge, that you like to represent a team or organisation, and that you are a hard-working and enthusiastic person!

If your CV is looking less decorated than you had hoped, here are a few examples of how you might like to embellish it:

Being part of a pro bono society at university, or participating at a pro bono legal clinic outside of your studies or your job will have several advantages:

Published: 29/12/17       Author: Amy Cheng

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