Crafting the perfect CV

21 December 2023 Law Staff

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'Tis the season of giving, and what better gift to yourself than a well-crafted CV that speaks volumes about your legal prowess? Your CV is your professional calling card, and in this competitive field it can be the key to unlocking the doors of opportunity. Let's unwrap the secrets of creating the perfect CV for lawyers and explore how to make it work for you.

Experience Matters:
  • Details, Details, Details: Contrary to popular belief, the ideal lawyer CV is not a brief two-pager. In fact, the more comprehensive, the better — up to 5 pages. A longer CV allows you to delve deep into your experiences, showcasing the full spectrum of your skills and accomplishments. It’s important not only to outline procedural aspects of the work you have done but also to emphasise the context. Incorporating client profiles, contract specifics, case examples, the quantum, legislation referred to, and dispute particulars would be beneficial.

  • Structure: Prioritise the key details that a prospective employer seeks by placing them at the forefront of your CV. Commence with your date of admission, educational background — highlighting any conferment with Honours or if you have a notable GPA. Then proceed with your current employment, followed by prior roles in reverse chronological order. The nomination of your Referees can go towards the bottom and it's acceptable to indicate their availability upon request.

  • Headings: Break down each area of law you have covered by practice area. This gives a clear picture of any specialisation and expertise in different areas. For instance, as a construction lawyer, you might use one header for front-end experience and another for back-end. For corporate law, differentiation between regulated versus off-market work could be beneficial, while in disputes, separate headers for Corporations Act, Insolvency, etc., might be advantageous.

  • Tailoring: Customising your CV for each position is crucial, aligning it with the job description and the work-mix of the specific Partner to whom the new role is reporting. Highlighting relevant experiences and skills specific to each opportunity, especially when the firm is seeking similar experience, will elevate your application above the rest and make it stand out.

  • Proofread: It is paramount to ensure your CV is free of grammatical errors, typos, or inconsistencies. A polished and error-free CV reflects your attention to detail, a crucial attribute as a lawyer. Having someone else review it is recommended, as it’s easy to overlook errors when reviewing our own work.

  • Keep it Updated: Continuously update your CV as you acquire new experiences and handle new cases. Even if you're not actively seeking a new position, when the time does come, a regularly refreshed CV ensures nothing slips through the cracks.

As a lawyer, your CV is your legal brief - a persuasive document that argues your case for employment. Don't shy away from presenting the depth and breadth of your experience. This Christmas, gift yourself the perfect CV, a document that not only tells your professional story but convinces employers that you are the legal talent they've been searching for.

Cheers to a successful and prosperous legal career in 2024!

Authors - Bianca Davies, Kirra Gaskell

Editor - Craig Ashton-Sward