10 Top Tips:
1. Make sure your CV is up to date. We have so many CVs that people tell us are 6-12 months out of date – firms immediately ask what was in the gap and are suspicious.
2. If you have been out of law for a period of time, make sure you fill in the gap somehow. If you have been stacking shelves in Tescos, you need to get this bit rewritten and perhaps describe the time as a “career sabbatical” undertaking a few things – for example DIY, travelling (everyone does this every day of their lives to a certain extent), part time work..
3. Make sure you have your degree class on the CV. Firms can be very particular and are always suspicious when they are left off.
4. Don’t forget to include the Professional Skills Course – as a recruiter I can be very lazy and not bother reading a whole CV if I don’t see this on a recently qualified solicitor’s CV as I immediately think you are not qualified.
5. Concentrate on the buzz words – business generation, business development, marketing, networking.
6. When concentrating on these buzz words, dont just write them – actually give evidence – what exactly have you done with these – what figures are there to back this information up? Even non-legal work is very useful in these areas.
7. Include a profile at the top of the CV to spell out who you are. Make sure you describe yourself as the type of lawyer the firm are looking for – eg if you are applying for a wills & probate solicitor post, describe yourself as either A Wills & Probate Solicitor or ‘a solicitor with wills & probate experience’ – it is important to connect with the reader and put the keywords into their mind.
8. Be available. Answer your phone.
9. Attend all interviews with an open eye and ear – think about the whole process from the employer’s perspective.
10. After any interview – give prompt feedback and be as positive as possible.