This article is written by Mohd Arham, a law student from Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia University. In this article, the author gives out every detail required to draft a professional CV for a Legal Job.
What is a CV?
It is a short, of one’s career, experiences and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a particular position. Also for law students and graduates, it is also the same though there are many formatting and professional ethics/ obligations attached to the CV aiming for a particular legal job.
As your curriculum vitae is your endorsement, advertisement in front of your employer whether a Corporate Law firm or Chamber of Advocate, which reflects writing a professional CV is a very important life skill not just an activity for your job search. when you send the CV to your prospective employers/reviewers they definitely look that what this candidate will bring into the organisation if we hired him for a job particularly a legal job as the Candidates are coming into large numbers for one or two vacant positions and accordingly your chances of an interview depend on your CV, by the end of your graduation or Post-qualification experience you probably have lot of achievements and professional experiences/internships to write on your CV, so for simplifying it, start by creating a lengthy CV with all achievements, extracurricular activities and internships experiences then transform it into a shorter CV after converting it into a final drafted CV, take help by your friends, seniors, mentors regarding your CV in the form of an assessment and take their advice and apply the same if you think it will result into the betterment of your CV also proofread your CV more than enough number of times as this will create a better impression in the mind of the employer at the time of interview showing your honesty and credibility towards your professional career otherwise it may result in one of the blunders at the time of interview and may lead to your disqualification from the job for which you aim for.
Common Problems in CV Writing
A vague introduction
The common problem which is prevalent by some of the job seekers in their CV which is extremely vague especially in the Introduction part of the CV by including multiple email id, parents name, social media handles like Twitter, Instagram, without proper font, fancy font style, also other unnecessary information about him which is vague in nature as it’s not relevant in any sense to the prospective employers/reviewers, so one who’s going to draft a CV for the job please be very concise& relevant in the introduction section of the CV.
Trying to use one CV for multiple positions/organizations/Corporate Firms
It is also a very common fault committed by the job seekers that they use to send the same CV for multiple positions in various disciplines of various organisations/Corporate Firms without editing it a bit according to the requirements of the job & niche of the law firm for example if you’re applying for a position of associate in the TMT (Technology media and telecommunications) law practice of the firm and you have mentioned about your skills and interest in Criminal law& Civil law so that’s not going to work with the case which I have mentioned here you need to update & edit your CV pertaining to the positions and organisation/Law firms, so please be very specific& relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Being too general
If you’re applying for a specific position in a niche company or organisation then your CV needs to be very specific regarding the same otherwise prima facie your CV if general in nature most probably doesn’t attract any response from the employer/ reviewer, mention the specific role/skills in your CV in the objective section of your CV to attract the attention of prospective employers.
Putting your key information on the Last page
Always put your key vital information on the first page of your CV as then you’re able to catch the attention of the employer’s reviewers as they don’t have much time due to a large number of applications so in less time they need to go through to all the CV so in The case, they find the initial impression of your CV ordinary &irrelevant and accordingly it may result in rejection so it’s advisable for professional CV particularly for legal jobs to put all the key & vital information on the front of your CV so that you catch a response from them.
Mentioning about tasks without results
Listing the tasks of your internship or your previous job is ordinary for gaining attention from the side of the employer it is advisable that you should also mention about accomplishments and results regarding the same task if any this will help a large number of job seekers for acquiring their dream or desired job.
Too much information
This is your professional CV aiming for a particular job, not your social media profile don’t make CV of more than 3 pages under any circumstances, 2 will be more convenient as employers/reviewers don’t have much time to read your CV for half an hour, never so please restrict the number of pages while drafting a CV and avoid spelling mistakes and abbreviations in your CV it looks very unprofessional.
Many of us commit several grammar mistakes during drafting a professional CV which creates a very bad impression in the mind of employer that results into a rejection of your application for the Job post as they can’t think that this can meet the requirements and work efficiently for the organisation or law firm as it is one of the basic requirements, especially in the corporate sector as the presumption is based that this candidate doesn’t possess the communication and writing skills required for the Job.
Even though if you have an amazing CV that shows off your talent, skills and decent attitude, those mistakes might have caused you the rejection.
Revealing confidential information
Such as client’s name and other information related to the organisation or Law firm you are attached with as it show’s to the employer the accountability and credibility if he hires you onboard, this creates a bad impression that if he hires you then in future you may reveal the confidential information of the organization and firm surely it will decrease your chances of getting the job.
Lying or fabricating information in your CV
This is one of the most common faults that are reflective in the candidate CV that should results into cancellation of the candidature for a Job as your honesty and basic values have lost value in the eyes of an employer, the root cause is that the Candidates exaggerate a lot in their CV especially in the work or internship experiences Just like for example the candidate applying for a legal associate position in a law firm mentioned about his task equivalent to a senior associate that will create an exaggerating, fabricating image and bad attitude of the candidate which will result into rejection of your candidature.
Ways to ensure that your CV is read?
- Your CV should be short and Concise–
Universally, it is a very common and accepted practice to have a 2 page CV. Many employers want to see only a 2 page CV which will suffice required achievements and post qualification experience if you have, as a decent CV should communicate precisely and to the requirements of the job.
- Your CV should be well formatted–
it may seem odd but for the perspective of ease of reading it’s advisable to use the times new Roman or Calibri font with a font size between 10&12 and you can highlight/Bold something very important which you want to be read definitely by the employer that your chances of getting a job increases with proper formatting and judicious spacing.
- Make your CV a very powerful advertisement-
By showing relevant soft and hard skills required for a job post–as you would already know that an employer only has few minutes to look at your CV for further short listing and interview, make sure your CV show’s your relevant soft and hard skills that are required for the Job With your experience and aspirations.
- Align your ultimate purpose in your CV –
CV is a reflection exercise and helps you in the situation which you’re going to perform. While drafting your resume focus on the key skills and highest level of responsibility in the position that can be used in your future job you’re applying for emphasis on the projects where you have contributed your part and added value to the project and larger goals of organisation or Law firms.
Keys to Meet your Goal
- Tell the employer’s why you want to work at their organisations – Your keenness should specifically reflect in your CV, which in turn would make the employer want to more than Just have a look at it, add your own perspective about the same pertaining to the requirements of the job and niche of the Company you want to work for, adapt change in strategy According to the requirements of the company and job description especially for a legal job you have to be very specific that why you want to work with the organisation.
- Explain why you are fit for the Job – draft your CV in such a specific manner that only those roles & skills are visible that best suited to the organisation or a Firm, align your CV with the organisation mission and vision by including specific soft skills and interests.
- Add value to the organization your CV should reflect the concerned value you’re going to add for the organisation or the law firm in a very professional manner which show’s your competency and self-worth to the employer.
- Be clear about your intentions – The employer should understand exactly what you bring to the company, which clearly sets the tone for them wanting to interview you for a particular position.
Format of a professional CV (ideally for a legal job)
The introduction part is very important as it covers your name, university name with location, then contact details including your email address and you may include your LinkedIn profile, if you want as many prospective employers and reviewers want to have a look as they considered LinkedIn profile as a digital CV.
Applicants may insert their university/College logo on the right corner it totally depends on the candidate.
- Academic qualifications
This is a very important and vital part of your CV which show’s your knowledge related to the subjects you have studied all the way from your 10th standard to or Post graduation as you’re applying for a professional Job post.
mention your course with overall CGPA or SGPA then mention your 12th standard percentage after this your 10th standard percentage or CGPA along with the name of the school and the city, also, you can mention any additional achievement like rank, the highest grade.
- Skills learned from the online Course
Like if you have pursued an online course from Lawsikho then mention about the skills you have developed from the course and documents drafted during the course it will increase your chances of getting an interview call as you have already possessed the skills and documents drafted which are relevant to the requirements of the job in any organisation or any corporate law firm.
- Internships (in reverse chronological order)
One of the most eye-catching columns in a CV where employers& reviewers don’t forget to have a look until you don’t commit a basic blunder, the internships column is very important as it reflects the work requirements capacity and skills, also it should be in reverse chronological order as if it was in normal order then most probably you don’t remember much about the work/tasks comprises of during the internship which during interview sound’s vague to the employer and may result into rejection of your candidature. during drafting of a CV in this section you must mention about the work done during an internship with the correct time period.
- Paper publications (in reverse chronological order)
It’s a very important aspect which shows your legal research acumen and skills in front of the employer so draft it carefully by providing all details of the paper published along with a complete citation and the international standard serial number (ISSN), also you can list the paper presented along with the name of seminar and date on which the paper was presented & list out any other blog if published online, in reverse chronological order for updated latest knowledge about your work.
- Moot court experience
Moot court competition shows your advocacy skills both in a written and oral form which is a desired and relevant experience for a legal job, you should also mention moot court experiences in reverse chronological order that will going to help you if you’re selected for an interview round as the most recent moot court competition is the one whom you know about a lot as a law graduate it’s possible that you forgot about your 1st intra university moot.
You should write it as (Designation, name of the moot court competition, held at (name of the university, City) (mention the date of the competition) this should give a brief idea into the employer’s mind.
- Position of responsibilities held
Mention the important positions of responsibilities held by you in university or college, if you don’t have many, then you can list out the positions held during the school day’s this shows your leadership and networking skills to the employers.
- Extracurricular activities
Mention about the extracurricular activities you have been involved in your Also I would like to add on that adding Hobbies and activities column in CV totally depends on the candidate and employers as some find it as a source of connecting with the candidates and some find it irrelevant so it depends on you and the job post, you’re going to apply for.
On concluding remarks, I would like to mention that In the legal profession integrity and credibility towards the society is a basic quality as this was expected by a legal professional and a legal job seeker so don’t lie to your CV neither fabricate the facts mentioned in your CV around the facts while drafting a CV just mention the facts and narrate it in the cover letter this will help the employer as he doesn’t have much time for reviewing your CV.
You should also ensure that your CV is very clear, easy to understand and concise especially when one is aiming for a Job in a corporate Law firm or any organization, keep your CV very relevant and precise for a Job purpose and change it according to the requirements of the job post and niche of the Company or organisation.
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