We all have the best intentions when it comes to keeping our CV up to date – whether building it for the first time, routinely ‘dusting it off’ once a year for a refresh, or only revisiting it when searching for your next opportunity. But it is easy to underestimate its importance – and its inherently essential role in your career and job-hunting success.
Even if you haven’t changed roles in a while, you will have developed skills, gained experience and worked on a caseload that will not yet be detailed on your CV. Not only this, but your career aspirations and focus may have changed over time, so it’s worth taking the time to ensure your CV reflects this accurately.
As leading legal recruitment experts, our team’s experience in the sector has led us to compile a number of essential pointers to consider – and common pitfalls to avoid – when the time comes to update your CV.
You can also find more useful information on our Candidate Resources pages.
First Class Content
You may have the skills and experience to excel at the role you’re applying for, but your CV may be all that stands between you and your chance to “shine” in person. Making sure your application is sending the right message and giving the right impression is hugely important to ensuring you proceed to the next stage of recruitment. It’s not just what you say, but also how you say it.
- Highlight your strengths - your CV is not the place to be shy about your positive qualities, but keep it truthful. Any description of any of your roles, experience, qualifications and skills must be demonstrable and measurable – make sure your claims can be substantiated.
- Stay error-free – your CV should be free of spelling, grammatical and formatting errors. A lack of time and effort taken on checking and editing your CV may suggest you are willing to cut corners in other areas of your professional life.
While the information provided on your CV is generally more important that how it looks, when working through multiple documents, potential recruiters may find any reason to disregard an application – so it’s important to avoid an immediately bad first impression!
It is worth spending a little time considering the basic aesthetics of your CV to ensure it is user-friendly and pleasant to read. As well as improving the recruiter’s experience of your application, it also demonstrates a level of attention to detail that speaks for itself.
A few simple ways to ‘tidy up’ the way your CV looks includes:
- Using one simple, clear and legible font throughout
- Consistent spacing and use of bolding, italics, bullet points and alignment
- User-friendly structure and order – most recent and relevant information first, easily accessible to the recruiter
- Considering length – it’s more than acceptable for your CV to be longer than one page, but do edit, to ensure to include only relevant, concise information is included.
Memorable – for the right reasons!
For most roles you’ll be applying for, you may be one in a number of applicants – it can help your case to stand out from the crowd. What is it about you, in particular, that makes you right the job you’re applying for?
- Tailor your application to the role. Ensure that the most prominent and accessible information available on your CV shows why this specific role is right for you. Even a subtle adjustment to emphasis between versions of your CV can make the difference.
- Keep your focus - whilst showing diversity and adaptability counts as a positive, especially in some roles, focusing on your core areas of expertise – and why they prove that you are the most viable candidate – will show you are more than a ‘jack of all trades’.
- Include a profile section but get it right. This area is an opportunity to highlight your career goals, core skills, personal and professional achievements and what sets you personally apart from the competition.
We are here to help you – speak to our team of law recruitment experts for advice on the current market, help with securing your next role, or for help improving your application.
For a confidential conversation please contact the team at Origin Legal by telephone on +44 (0)1206 233500 or email us at [email protected].