Creating a great law CV
First impressions are important, and this is particularly true when it comes to CVs for law related jobs. The content of your application is only half the game – as a law graduate, it is also expected that you can write clearly and persuasively. Moreover, recruiters are often time-poor so you need to structure the information in your CV so it is easy to read. To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve assembled some tips on how to create a great CV
DON'T USE A TEMPLATE
While templates can be useful for getting an idea of what a CV looks like and the information they cover, no template is going to be just right for you. Your CV needs to put forward your information in the best way possible, and this may require a different layout, focus or information than a template.
It will also vary depending on how much information you have to add. Early in law school you are likely to have less law experience or activities to include so it's ok to add details on any part-time work or high school activities/awards. Later in law school you can leave this information out as what you have done during University matters more.
PUT PERSONAL DETAILS FIRST
Your personal details form the first part of your CV and should include your name, pronoun if relevant, email and phone number. You don't need to include your address or date of birth unless asked for.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION
This is a key part of your CV whatever year of law school you are in and should be clearly laid out so it is easy to read. Include the degree/s you are studying, any specialisation/major for a second degree, your university, college, the year you started and the year you anticipate finishing your degree/s.
You should also include your ATAR (for first and second year students) and your GPA or WAM (whichever is higher) for later year students. If you are studying 2 degrees, include separate ATAR or WAM for each degree.
INCLUDE ANY WORK EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS
Often students are nervous about listing part time jobs if they are unrelated to law as they think they are not relevant. Definitely include this information as it shows you have work experience.
Include the months or years worked and the key skills involved. Focus on the skills that are most relevant to the particular law job, internship or position you are applying for (ie skills such as time management, email/phone communication, any areas of responsibility, and the type of work done if the work is of a professional or semi-professional nature).
If you do have relevant law experience (including any research work, internships or short work experience), include this information and possibly leave out your part-time work. Be sure to specify the main skills involved, and include a referee related to this work if possible.
ADD EXTRACURRICULAR OR AND VOLUNTEER WORK
Not everyone has experience on a committee or doing volunteer work but it is great if you do. Include the duration of the work, the role and the organisation. This is also where you can put details of any mooting competitions or other law school activities you have been involved in, and membership of any clubs and societies whether on or off campus.
DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE YOUR INTERESTS
Including your interests, sports, languages or other general activities in your CV is important as these topics are often the basis for informal discussion during interviews. They also allow you to show your personality and what it important to you outside your studies.
INCLUDE AT LEAST 3 REFEREES
Including referees in your CV is important as it shows that there are people willing to support you. In the ideal world it is best to have at least one academic, one work and one personal referee. If you don't think an academic knows you well enough to be your referee, make an appointment to see them and discuss your studies or what you are applying for. You can then follow up by asking them in person or via email to be your referee. Academics know this is an important part of their work and are usually happy to help.
PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO FORMATTING
The way you present the information in your CV is important to making sure it is easy to read. Use headings, columns and dot points. For example, it often works to have a column on the left side of the page with years/dates and then a second column with details (or your degree, experience, activities etc). List any information in reverse chronological order with most recent work/activities first.
Bright colours or images are to be avoided (black and/or blue font is best). Also use a simple font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Keep you CV to 2 pages if you are a later year student or 1 page if you are a first or second year student.
PROOFREAD YOUR CV - AT LEAST 3 TIMES
Triple proofread your CV. It is so easy to miss mistakes no matter how careful you are, so it is also good to use spell checking software or audio replay, or get someone else to read your CV through.
If you have specific questions on this topic, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org