Your CV is undoubtedly the most important working document of your professional life. It should adapt and develop as your career advances and changes, yet the Curriculum Vitae is often one of the most neglected documents in an individual’s professional life.
It has been said that an employer takes, on average, between 5-7 seconds looking at a CV when trawling through the hundreds that they might receive for one position. If your CV doesn’t immediately catch the employer’s eye and provide them with all the key information they are looking for, it’s probably going to end up in the bin.
We’ve all heard horror stories about employers taking the top half of the pile and immediately throwing them away – that’s how competitive the legal industry is these days. For a statistical representation, in the 2014/15 academic year, the number of UK law students reached 87,595. Now consider how many mini-pupillages each set of chambers offers and how many vacation schemes are available at law firms. The odds are against you, but it’s not impossible.
A CV should be no longer than two pages – it should all fit onto one double sided piece of paper. It should express key qualities that suit the role that you are applying for, and not waste the employer’s time with irrelevance.
With that being said, there is usually a way to spin everything into a creative and positive light. If you stacked shelves at your local supermarket, you’d better believe that you structured and organised the product presentation of the business whilst ensuring that the enterprise was under constant development in order to promote maximum sales figures and company growth – how’s that for commercial awareness?
Always keep in mind some key statistics regarding CVs with this helpful infographic from BeHiring:
It’s scary stuff, but someone has to get the job! Key tips to success are:
- Ensure you understand the job description and what the employer is looking for
- Tailor your CV to the specific role
- Keep your CV up to date
- Look at it from the employer’s perspective
- Make sure your cover letter compliments your CV
- Review and improve your LinkedIn profile
- Consider reviewing your social media profiles
- Ensure there are no spelling or grammar errors
So the fact is, a CV is a big time investment and it can often take days, if not weeks, to perfect to the standard which will set you apart from the competition – but it is a necessary investment.
If you don’t have that much time to sink into sculpting your professional profile (and let’s face it, what busy student does?) you could always get a professional to take care of it all for you. Prices out there can be very steep, ranging from between £100 to £300, however, here at Legal Loop we have worked very hard to secure professional CV and other careers services at a price significantly lower than the market average. All of our services are aimed purely at the legal industry, and are reviewed by a qualified legal professional. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain – take a look at our services today, and take the headache out of your professional life.