CV Review for LPC Student Looking to Stand Out from the Crowd
in Careers Advice, CV Writing

CV Review for LPC Student Looking to Stand Out from the Crowd

CV-for-LPC-Student-looking-to-make-her-CV-Appealing-for-Legal-Market

First impression:

Nicely laid out with a good use of bold, headings and capital letters to highlight and divide the different section. Your use of bullet points is effective and the font is clear, a good size and easy to read. However, I don’t like the fainter colour you have used for the headings as it makes them disappear into the background. I would keep to bold for your headings and titles.

Also be consistent – I noticed for instance in your work experience section that the first role you had bullet pointed with a double space between each, the second role had one bullet point but you hadn’t really bullet pointed and the last role wasn’t bullet pointed at all. If you are going to use bullet points (which I recommend) be consistent and use for all roles.

Personal details:

I like the way you have highlighted in bold that you are a LPC/LLM student as this makes it very clear to potential employers what you are.

We are seeing more and more CVs with a link to candidates LinkedIn profile so if have one worth adding on. Just adds an extra smidge of professionalism and makes you look social media savvy (even if you aren’t like me!).

Personal profile:

This should be 2 or 3 sentences to state who you are, what you are experienced in and what your next step is in your career or next role you are looking for. Keep is factual and brief. Avoid any subjective comments such as “ ambitious, focused and committed” – anyone can state this but it doesn’t mean it is true! What is missing from your personal profile is any mention of what areas of law you have experience in, what areas you find most interesting and what your career intentions are. Are you looking for a paralegal role? Are you looking for a training contract role?

Don’t forget that you can and should tailor your CV according to the role you are applying for. Applying for a paralegal then you would be looking for a paralegal role. Applying for a training contract then you would be looking for a training contract with the view to qualifying as a “insert area of law” solicitor.

Education:

I would alter the lay out of the sections and put your education section under your personal profile.

The first thing that strikes me here is that you have not put in your results for anything. If you don’t put them in anyone reading your CV will assume you’ve missed them off as they were terrible. You need to put on number of GCSEs you have and grades (just a line, something along the lines of 10 GCSEs Grade A to B including Maths and English would suffice). You need to put what A Levels you did plus grades if decent.

Unless you got a third for your degree put the degree classification on.  When you finish it, a pass is perfectly acceptable for the LPC but if you do better than this even more of a bonus.

To add a little colour and interest to what can be a dry, rather boring section you could add in your LPC electives and add in your degree dissertation title if interesting. Makes for an easy interview question as well.

Finally you haven’t stated the institution where you are undertaking your LLM/LPC.

Work Experience:

The easiest way to make this relevant to law is to split it into 2 sections so you have a Legal Work Experience section first and then a Non-Legal Work Experience section. Always have the legal work experience section first and then list the roles in reverse chronological order with your most recent role first.

Legal Work Experience:

I can see that you have legal work experience but at the moment it is lost in amongst everything else and it was only that I spotted the word “solicitors” in the title of the company that made me realise you had any legal experience. Also unfortunately it is right at the end of the page with the title on one page and details on another.

You should be aiming that this is the longest section on your CV (at least eventually once you have gained a bit more legal experience).

What you need to do is to put this work experience into a legal work experience and is should come first so it is the next thing that a potential employer reads after your education section. Don’t call yourself a trainee as this is meaningless (a trainee what?). Better to call yourself a legal assistant. It is good that you have put the name of the firm and dates. Do this for every role.

You then need to add in a lot more detail than you currently have. Keep it factual and written in note form so don’t use the word I or write that you have gained many useful skills. I have no idea what areas of law you gained experience in for instance or what area of law the firm specialises in or the size of the firm in terms of number of solicitors. I also don’t know if you worked there full or part time.

Did you work on reception, were you assisting the fee earners with their caseload if so what exactly did you do, did you sit in on any consultations, did you have to use a case management system to enter clients details? Any paperwork you dealt with – conveyancing and immigration are often areas of law with loads of form filling left to the junior members of staff.

Non-Legal Work Experience:

So this section given that it is less relevant at the moment and will eventually become completely irrelevant should be a shorter section than your Legal Work Experience. You almost need to emphasize the legal experience and downplay everything else. I think the amount of details you have gone into with just a few lines for each role is probably correct.

With regards the REDACTED UK role – firstly I have no idea what REDACTED are so might be worth saying. Also the website maintenance and  development, social media work and business promotion are all good transferable skills so these would be the parts of the role I would focus on. You could even link back and state that you have web marketing, social media and business development experience in your personal profile, again to further emphasise these skills.

Skills:

Firstly I would combine this and your next section into one section called Additional Skills.

Here is the section where you can list your computer and language skills. Don’t use full sentences though. Should be a bullet pointed list. Also with regards your computer skills list the software that you have used eg Word, Excel etc. Did you use any packages with REDACTED – presuming yes given your role there.

As you progress in law, include any specific legal software packages, case management systems, legal databases you have used.

If you have an exceptional typing speed above say 50 wpm it is worth mentioning here.

State your degree of fluency for your languages ie whether any are mother tongue

Another thing you can state in this section is a Full, Clean Driving Licence if you have one.

You don’t need to put that you were an admin assistant or receptionist – these were roles you did not skills you have.

Finally, couple of sections that you should put on a CV:

Interests:

Candidates don’t seem to put a lot of effort into this section. I don’t know whether this is because they assume it is irrelevant or that they think no-one will read this section. Most CVs we see either miss this section off like yours or it contain a few words. However, it is actually quite important for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is a way of adding some colour to your CV and a way of making you stand out from the crowd especially if you have an unusual or particularly impressive interest.

Secondly, it is a way of showing you are a rounded individual and have a life outside work.

Thirdly, you just never know  but if the person reading it shares a similar interest or is so intrigued by what you have written that it might get you an interview.

So you need to add this section is with details of your interests and hobbies – not an essay but a couple of lines for each hobby to give a little clarity.

For example, if you are a runner don’t just say you run but add in what distance you prefer, whether it is track or cross country, any competitions/events you have entered etc

References:

If you have 2 references lined up put their names, organisation they worked for, job title and contact details on your CV. One should be ideally from one of your most recent assignments.

Or it is acceptable to write “Available on request”

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 17 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at www.legalcareercoaching.co.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk