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What makes a good CV?

Posted by
25 Nov 2015
What makes a good CV?

The answer to this question is always a difficult one, the CV content and lay out will vary dependent on which market you are in, how much experience you have, what skills you are trying to highlight and your personality. So how can you be certain that your CV is the best representation of your career and ambitions?

We understand that juggling the demands of a full time position and your search for a new role can be difficult and we are there to support you through this process and make it as simple as possible. However, it is of vital importance that you dedicate time to your CV and the content within it. Recruiters will advise on the structure, lay out and content but you know your skills and expertise better than anyone and it is important you provide a clear, succinct overview for us to work from. Some points to think about when drafting your CV are below:

  • Less is more -  with the demands on our clients time ever increasing they don't necessarily have the time to read lots of prose. Bullet points can be an effective tool to highlight your key skills, experience and role overview
  • Separate legal disciplines - if your role is varied and includes contentious and non-contentious matters, why not have a sub-heading within your role description to demonstrate your responsibilities on both sides. This allows the client to gain an immediate view of your work and how you split your time
  • Spend time on the areas that interest you - if you are particularly passionate about an area of law or it is where your key skills lie then provide more detail about it. The space you give to a particular area of law can be a good indicator as to how much time you spend in that area
  • Consolidate the experience in your early career - as your experience grows, so does your CV. Ensure you are reviewing the amount of detail provided on your early roles and start to consolidate it as time goes on. You want to provide detail about your last 5 years and reduce the content of earlier roles. This provides space to discuss the most important roles without making your CV too long
  • Provide detail on each locum role - it is tempting to summarise your recent experience as a locum. For example, 'Since 2013, Various Locum Assignments, retail organisations'. Wherever possible you want to provide a list of dates, if the detail is too summarised it may work against you as they don't know where you have been and how relevant your experience is.

It is also of key importance that you think beyond your CV - social media is here to stay and a strong online presence can really help to boost your career prospects.

  • Ensure you have a LinkedIn profile - the majority of employers will review your CV and then find you on LinkedIn. It is great to see the person behind the CV, recommendations you have, how you present your profile and what connections you may have in common. Those without a profile may run the risk of being less interesting than those with lots of interests, shared connections and recommendations
  • Make sure your wider social networking profiles represent you in a positive manner - there is a lot of statistics to indicate employers check Facebook, twitter and other social media profiles of potential recruits. Review your privacy settings, content and interests to make sure they represent you in the best way.

In this competitive market spending time on your CV and your online LinkedIn profile is well worth it!
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