Preparing the perfect CV

This may seem a simple exercise, yet we often have to redraft CVs for people to give them the best chance of surviving the “five second bin test”. Here are some practical steps you can take to ensure firstly, that your CV is read and secondly, that it paints you in the best light possible.

  1. Academics – Include them. Their absence will only set the alarm bells ringing.
  2. Ignore the two page rule – You will have been told this as a graduate when you had no experience to set out. Most firms want to be able to understand what you have done, so don’t worry if your CV is 3, 4 or even 5 pages long.
  3. Headings and bullet points – Break up your experience into manageable, bite size pieces. It is possible that someone with no experience in your field may be the first person assessing the suitability of your CV, so make it clear and easy for them to follow.
  4. Breadth and depth – Explain the deals or cases you have worked on and what your involvement has been. A partner will want to know what skills you have picked up and not just how high profile the matter was.
  5. Interests – Most partners don’t have time for these, so confine yours to one sentence.
  6. Languages – Unless you are fluent at a second language, don’t bother mentioning it.
  7. Don’t make it up – Make sure you can speak fluently about everything in your CV. We often we receive feedback from clients to the effect that the lawyer “couldn’t remember what they had done”.