Your CV is often your first interaction with an employer. It can immediately dictate whether you make the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ pile. Therefore, it is essential that you get it right. The CV should be a factsheet on your background, through which your personality shines.

Three CV golden rules...

Have a look at our sample CV for our recommendations and make sure you take our golden rules into account:

1: Follow the formatting guidelines! The vast majority of companies request a maximum two page CV. Don't go over two pages, however tempting. If a company CEO manages to condense years of complicated experience into a two page CV, you can do it too. 

2: Tailor it every time! It may seem unnecessarily time-consuming, but being immediately rejected because the employer couldn't instantly see what particular skills, attributes and experience they're looking for is FAR more time-consuming, because now you're back to square one. Read the job description and make sure you clearly demonstrate that you have the experience they want! Identify the company values and make sure you showcase these personality traits!

3: Show us your personality This point is so important and people often forget it. Remember, in a competitive job market, you might look quite similar to someone else 'on paper' going on experience alone, especially if you keep it generic and vague. Show the employer why they should hire you over other the other applicants. Your character and extra experiences are what sets you apart. Employers want someone they can imagine working in their organisation, gelling with the team and is three-dimensional, bringing something extra to the role or organisation other than just legal knowledge (while this is obviously crucial).

CV guidance for students

We know that perhaps the most difficult time for perfecting your CV is when you're applying for a traineeship as a law student. We have developed a specific section of our website for student associates, which requires you to login via the Member's Portal.

Find out more about how to become a student associate to get your login details. The process takes a couple of minutes and is totally free.

In the Member's area, you will find more guidance about writing a great CV, as well as information about common pitfalls and a 'what not to do' CV. There is also related information about what to include in a speculative application including writing a great covering letter, which is often why you might be writing a CV as a student.

If you are looking for an in-depth CV review, we recommend speaking to your careers advisors at your university. At each university, there are advisors specifically assigned to law students. They will offer various services to you including CV checking, psychometric test practice, covering letter reviews and interview practice.

Guidance about applications

What to expect from application forms and speculative applications, including how to write a great covering letter.