If you are applying to any form of legal work experience, whether it’s for ad-hoc internships and mini-pupillages or vacation schemes and training contracts, one thing you’ll need is a good CV. This article offers guidance on how to build and refine a stellar law work experience CV to help you stand out to legal recruiters.
A good law work experience CV should begin with a list of qualifications you have either achieved or are currently working towards. These include grades earned from school examinations such as GCSEs, A-Levels, Highers, SATs, IB, Pre-U, etc. You should also include university modules taken and the marks received. Law is an incredibly demanding field and aspiring professionals are expected to have a strong academic background to demonstrate their ability to cope with the requirements of the job.
Be sure to also mention if you have taken on any additional certifications. These can include a wide variety from summer schools, online courses and music examinations to IT training and teaching qualifications. This expands your CV beyond school and university requirements, helping it stand out from the countless others employers receive.
Previous internships and jobs form a crucial element of your CV as they demonstrate an understanding of professional business environments and real-life experiences outside of school. When outlining your previous experience, be sure to provide specific examples of duties you completed; projects you worked on and the skills these tasks helped you hone.
If you have any previous legal experiences such as internships, work shadowing and open/insight days, they would make wonderful additions to your CV because they emphasise an early interest in law and prove basic knowledge of how firms and legal departments operate.
But don’t panic! Work experience recruiters do not expect you to have legal work experience because placements are notoriously difficult to secure and there are limited opportunities early on in your career. Relevant, non-legal work experience can therefore be equally valuable to employers as it allows you to develop transferrable skills that can stand you in good stead in your future legal career. Any exposure to the working world is appreciated and can include anything from participating on a society committee at school or university to waiting tables at your local restaurant, so make sure you include it in your work experience cv!
Legal employers place a huge emphasis on hobbies and interests beyond the classroom. These reflect a range of characteristics and can develop various skills like organisation and teamwork. Many law firms also look for hobbies such as team sports as a means of facilitating close-knit relationships between colleagues and a sense of community within the company.
If you paint, volunteer at an animal shelter, sing or play tennis, it is worth outlining them in your CV. Recruiters can then get a better understanding of you as a person rather than an unidentifiable candidate.
Finally, if possible, it would be worth requesting your course lecturers or university careers advisors to read your CV and offer some feedback. They can offer valuable professional advice to enhance your CV for legal employers.
Words: Siobhan Ali
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