Ten ways to get your legal CV noticed by top law recruiters. Legal CVs: legal CV structure | legal work experience | non-legal work experience | the STAR approach | target your applications | the interests section | make your CV stand out | get the tone right | focus on the positives | demonstrate attention to detail CV tip 1: choose headings carefully – and be consistent Separating your experience into different categories – such as legal, commercial and voluntary – makes your CV easier to read.
The head of graduate recruitment at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, warns against describing any work experience as ‘relevant work experience’ – that suggests to the reader that you think the rest of your experience is irrelevant. ‘A CV should entice the recruiter to want to know more about the applicant,’ advises Anup Vithlani, graduate recruiter at Trowers & Hamlins. ‘Avoid a prose-heavy structure in order to make your CV more pleasing on the eye – and be consistent with grammar and punctuation.’ Which headings could you use? How to write winning covering letters for law firms. How to succeed at interviews and assessment days.
If you impress on your application form, small and mid-size firms will likely invite you in for a face-to-face interview straight off the bat (see below).
Larger firms usually introduce an extra stage first. Firms have often used telephone interviews as this initial stage. These are usually pretty short – ten to 15 minutes – but still require good preparation. Expect a conversation with HR/recruitment with a few short questions on commercial awareness, competencies and why you're interested in the firm.
Telephone interviews may also be carried out over Skype – if you are appearing on camera do make sure you're in a private room and dress smartly in a suit or smart blouse/shirt. Recently, many firms have replaced telephone interviews with video interviews. Recently, many firms – including DWF, Nabarro and White & Case – have replaced telephone interviews with video interviews. Well done on bagging an interview. Before the interview: Read and think about your application form. Law interviews. Types of interviews | the questions you'll be asked | example questions from trainees | competency-based questions | commercial awareness questions | questions to ask your interviewers Firms use interviews as an effective tool to: assess candidates against the firm's desired competencies; to understand your motivation; and to test your fit with the firm.
In turn, interviews are an opportunity for you to assess the firm – hence the old, but true, cliché that it's a two-way process. Some law firms employ a two-stage interview process when recruiting graduates, consisting of a one-to-one interview followed by a second-round panel interview – often as part of a structured assessment day; others will just have the one stage. Either way you need to prepare. Types of law interviews One-to-one interviews are generally fairly structured, with the interviewer having a clear agenda that will be applied to all candidates. Questions previously asked in training contract and vacation scheme interviews.
Commercial awareness tips for aspiring trainee solicitors. Commercial awareness is important to graduate recruiters at all law firms, but what it means in practice depends on where you want to get a job.
For example, if you've set your sights on a leading national or international firm, you could develop relevant commercial awareness by reading the Financial Times and being aware of developments in the world of business, such as mergers and acquisitions among market-leading companies. If you want to work locally, familiarity with the ins and outs of local businesses will demonstrate your commerical nous, and if your career goal is a training contract with a firm that specialises in a particular area, such as shipping, you'll want to be aware of the most important players in the field and the sort of transactions that take place. We asked trainees and solicitors at a selection of law firms how they ticked the inevitable ‘commercial awareness’ box and why that awareness counts.
Clients want a commercial not academic answer to their legal problems. Top networking tips for aspiring lawyers.