Career in Law | Blog

This Is How You Can Make Your Legal CV Stand Out

Updated 4 March 2019

We all have seen hundreds if not thousands of law CV templates readily available online. So instead of just throwing another template at you, we thought will share with you seven ways you can make a winning law CV.

1. Does your CV have a punchy profile summary?

Piers Linney a former lawyer is perhaps best known for appearing on BBC Dragons Den once described the process recruiters review job applications as 'tinderised'. As harsh as it may sound, you really only have 8 seconds to impress the recruiter. By far the easiest way to catch recruiters attention from the outset is through a persuasive career summary at the top of your CV. The summary should ideally cover the following:

  1. Relevant skills
  2. What you can bring to the company
  3. An outline of your relevant experience

2. Is your CV tailored to the job?

As basic as this may sound, we see people get this wrong routinely purely because either your application is not tailored to the job. The easiest way to tackle this is twofold: 1) understand the skills and attributes required for the job and 2) and what experience is required. You should be able to get all this information from the job description and the company's web site. Once you have mastered these two points, you will find that is far easier to identify what relevant skill set and experience you have, so you can include it on your CV.

3. Why this company?

Every recruiter will be looking for evidence of your motivation to apply to work for them. The key to answering this question is not repeating words you have found on the company's web site. Instead, you should pick two to three points that personally caught your eye about this company and expand on that in your own words by linking to relevant skills and experience. Top tip, if you submit a cover letter, simply briefly outlined your relevant skills and attributes for the job in the CV then expand on this in more details in your letter. 

4. Why you over other applicants?

Due to the sheer volume of applicants for each job, to stand out you will need to provide a compelling answer to why they should hire you. To get the bottom of what you can bring to the company and be hired, you need to understand what is required to be successful in this role and more importantly at the firm. Once you have figured this out, you will find it fairly straight forward to look back at your overall profile and identify what contributions you can make to the team and the firm. It is important this not something generic e.g I have great communication skills. It needs to be something personal and specific to you and your overall skill set and attributes. A good starting point is to look at your past achievements, what you have learned from it and whether you can bring this across in your next role.

5. Include achievements and contributions to date

This is again is a common mistake seen across the board on CV's at different levels. Instead of just listing out the duties and responsibilities in your last job, concentrate on the contributions and achievements you have made. Remember employers want to know what you have contributed to your previous employer and what skills and attributes you have picked up that you can carry across. If drop some numbers or stats from any given task, this is bound to impress any recruiter. For instance, you could say in your job as campus ambassador at law firm Smith & Smith you have increased the awareness by 25% through utilizing social media effectively.

6. Attach a cover letter

As a former legal recruiter, I cannot tell you how much I appreciated applicants who took the time and effort to submit a cover letter alongside their CV even though the job description did not set this as a requirement. Aside from the fact it shows effort, it also makes you stand out from those who did not submit a cover letter and best of all it enables you to showcase your skills and attributes in more details. 

7. Top Tip

Remember recruiters review applications in negative light e.g they check to see if you have given them any reason to reject your application. Make sure you do not fall in this trap through typos or spelling errors and always get your CV checked by another person who has not seen your CV before. 


The job market is very competitive and employers only want to hire the very best, as such making the effort to make your CV stand out is key to securing interviews and your dream job. Once you nailed how to write a winning law CV's it will be easier going forward to tailor it for future jobs.


Joe Simmons

Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs

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