This article has been written by Priyanka Cholera, from MKES College of Law, Mumbai University.
The Guest Speaker
Priyasha Carrie has several years of experience working for firms in India and across the Globe. She is Partner at Connected law, UAE based Law Firm, Product development lead ResuGO (World’s First Intelligent Resume Builder for law students and Lawyers), Founder and CEO of QLTS Geek, an app designed to help Lawyers qualify as solicitors in the United Kingdom.
Ramanuj Mukherjee is an alumnus of the National University of Judicial Sciences, Kolkata. He is currently the CEO of LawSikho and the Co-Founder of iPleaders. His previous work experience includes being a part of the Private Equity and M&A Team at Trilegal, Mumbai.
What makes a good resume?
If we look at Harvard, Yale and Stanford college. one common observation would be they are simple. This quality itself breaks a lot of myths we have about a good resume.
Your resume should be your sales tool. It should land you the interview at your employer.
Your reader won’t spend more than 30 seconds or less reviewing your resume and decide whether they should proceed or not.
It is important to have different CV’s, depending on where you’re applying. Tailor your CV according to the description of the workplace. For example, if you’re applying to a corporate firm, your CV should highlight your knowledge of mergers and acquisitions, venture, shareholders agreements, etc. You cannot use the corporate CV for applying to a non-profit or a judge.
Your CV should provide a very good description of your experience and the projects you worked on. Remember if you’re shortlisted for the interview, then you will be asked questions on the experience or articles you have mentioned in your CV. Make sure you add topics you’re well versed with or if there is a topic you’ve in-depth knowledge about, and add it in your CVa and also anticipate that you will be asked questions about it.
One of the most important things is your application should beat the ATS, that is, Applicant Tracking System. It is software that filters your CV based on keywords and it is being used by employers who receive an enormous amount of Applications. The flaw of ATS is often that it rejects the good potential candidates solely based on CV. Having photos or logos in the CV disables the ATS to pass your CV ahead because it is difficult to read it as we all have learned in school computers have zero IQ. Hence, the software cannot read a CV with pictures.
How to defeat a bot (ATS)?
Avoid fancy formats, charts, graphics or tables as discussed earlier.
Use the right keywords, (as the software’s algorithm is based on Keywords). For example, a prominent law firm which expects to receive many applications will instruct the HR to hire best eligible candidates who have words like M&A, Ventures, etc.
Avoid putting your contact details in the header or footer because the software can have trouble reading header and footer.
Use the right File format, like Doc., Docx. or PDF.
Use simple Bullet Points and avoid using fancy ones.
Keep the font normal and basic, like Times New Roman, Ariel or Garamond. The font size should be 11 or more.
Avoid using logos regardless of the fact it looks fancy. .
Avoid using shades in the CV because it looks like a picture and the ATS refuses it.
What employers are looking for?
Employers are looking for basic qualities like common sense and intellectual ability, that is, the ability to analyze and process information. It might seem obvious but a lot of times when we work we tend to lose our common sense. Hence, the interns need to understand that they have to use their common sense and for that, they have to ask questions. If you haven’t understood the instructions, don’t hesitate to ask questions and be curious about your work. These qualities are highly admired by employers.
Additional sets of qualities are good research skills, writing skills and communication skills. All these need to be developed throughout your life and you might need help with it. Hence, it is best to sign up for them while you’re in Law School. Our expert Priyasha personally recommends LawSikho courses.
Always make sure you’re learning even if you’re a professional. There is always room for improvement.
Make your Employer’s Job easier by saving their time. For example, if you’re asked to research on legislation by your employer then go a step ahead and find an article or blog that summarises their query or voluntarily help them with extra research work; these gestures will demonstrate your qualities of enthusiasm and proactivity.
One of the myths that are important to unlearn is ‘you have to be from NLU or top-tier law college to impress an employer’.
Once you get your internship and you demonstrate the qualities discussed above, you can impress your employer.
Grabbing a job/internship- useful resources
LinkedIn is the networking Key for many law students and professionals, keeping certain protocols and professional ethics in mind. Priyasha shares her personal experience when she moved to the UAE and had to look for job opportunities there. She used LinkedIn to connect with partners of law firms and send them a message regarding her experience and stating that she is looking for opportunities. However, that approach didn’t work. This experience taught her that it is important to ‘break the ice’ before you ask something from them. In her experience too, people text her the same message she sent as a fresher in UAE and because all messages are more or less the same, they end up being ignored. Hence, she suggests a method (which worked for her) that the good start would be by sharing articles or posts on LinkedIn. Engage in comments and by this approach, you will be noticed by others.
Once they are familiar with you, you can text them regarding your concern and you can set up a professional coffee meeting. Once she posted an article that a partner of a Firm liked and called her for an interview at the firm.
Hence being active on linked in is very important for law students.
Once Priyasha herself hired a student from LinkedIn, who was quite actively posting about ‘QLTS’.
There are various employers’ portals where you can look out for opportunities, including LawSikho. Priyasha herself has taken a couple of students from LawSikho on board as interns.
There are many legal recruiters on LinkedIn who keep students and professionals updated like Divya Mehta, Akanksha Antil, Vedanta Yadav, etc.
Steps to Make your Resume on ResuGo are:
- Click on create a new resume.
- Select your criteria, for example, law student or professional, etc.
- Fill details about your education.
- Select areas of interest.
- Insert your Internship details (if any.)
- Add your latest internship details (field, type of work).
- Log in to the website.
- Your CV will be updated real-time with additional details.
- It is important to tailor your CV work experience section according to your needs. For example, if you’re applying for corporate, any experience that isn’t relevant to it can be cut out.
- Add specific sections in your resume if you worked in Companies Act and any particular section you’re well versed with.
The portal will guide you for additional relevant information.
Questions from the Audience
How do I describe my extra Courses on my CV?
Firms really appreciate it if the student has gone beyond his/her law school routine and pursued extra courses. It shows enthusiasm and curiosity.
Can we add webinars?
If you have attended webinars by eminent speakers on relevant topics, then you can add it to your CV. It will put across a good impression.
Does prior experience in the corporate count even if it is not related to law?
Yes, it does. It adds to your professionalism quality. It is important to customize your Job description according to the job you’re applying to, will help in improving the chances of employment.
What would be an ideal cover letter?
Common mistake students and professionals commit is that they maintain a standard cover letter for all jobs they are applying to. It is important to tailor it according to the firm you are applying to. Add your personal information, research about the firm and their practice areas, to make a good cover letter.
Should we add our photos to the CV?
If you’re applying for an international law firm then absolutely no. it is looked down upon. If you are applying to small law firms and they have asked for it then you should add your Photograph.
How to answer the question- ‘why do you want to work in this firm?’
Research about the firm. Read about their work and compare it to other firms in the market (positive tone). Try to understand their promotional policy (for example, how is their pace of promotion to the status of a partner) and keep all the mentioned points in mind and answer the question.
How to write aims and objectives in the resume?
Aims and objectives will be included in the cover letter and they don’t need special mention in Resume.
Can you add non-legal aspects?
Yes, sometimes partners of a firm like to see a well-rounded personality. It could be an ice-breaker in the international market. It is very important for firms that the potential employee adds his/her interest in the CV.
Should we add our grades to the CV?
If they are exceptionally good or if you want to show progress over the years. Otherwise, it is best to not add because it will complicate your CV.
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