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Law students learn the ins and outs of the law, practising how to handle complex legal cases in preparation for their future. The legal industry is competitive and a lack of legal experience can hurt your chances. Law students can benefit from creating the perfect CV for law internships and entry-level positions at law firms.
In a law student CV, candidates can highlight their academic achievements, any informal or professional experience, class rank, certifications, industry knowledge and much more.
Your CV structure is usually dependent on the type of CV format you choose. As a law student, it’s likely that you lack legal work experience. In that case, you can apply for entry-level jobs as a law student by formatting a functional CV.
A functional CV places primary focus on skills and personality qualities. With this CV type, you’ll be able to go into more depth about your passion to represent and fight for the public interest, explaining why your skills make you the ideal candidate for the role.
Regardless of the type of CV format you choose, your CV is still likely to have similar sections. These are:
Your CV header section is usually the first part of your CV and contains all of your contact information. In this section, you can include:
This gives the hiring manager the chance to contact you with updates about your application. You can also include a link to any professional networking sites like LinkedIn. This is a great way of showing off your professional contacts and helps to provide the hiring manager or recruiter with more information.
Legal employers might also wish to know how engaged you are with updates in the legal industry.LinkedIn is a good place to showcase your engagement.
Your professional summary is your chance to grab the hiring manager’s attention. This section usually consists of two to three sentences that summarise why you’re the ideal candidate for a role. Usually you would cite your experiences, achievements and standout qualities in your professional summary, but as a law student you may not yet have this experience or relevant achievements. As a more entry-level candidate, you should instead write a career objective.
A career objective is like a professional summary, but for more entry level applicants. It also consists of two to three sentences that summarise why you’re the ideal candidate for a role, but also emphasises your career goals. In your career objective, include brief explanations of your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, efforts in public service, and membership in student organisations.
Ultimately, your goal for this section is to encourage the hiring manager to keep reading. If you have experience in volunteer work, especially within public justice, then you can include this in your summary.
Your skills section might be the most important part of your CV if you choose a functional format over a chronological or combination. Your CV skills section should have a good mixture of both hard and soft skills. Here is a guide to hard skills and soft skills:
If you’re struggling to think of terms that sum up your knowledge of the legal profession, then think about including these skills as bullet points in your legal CV:
Your experience section is important to show your potential employer that you have enough industry experience to give you the right hard skills. You can include information from law internships, brief work experience in law firms, and any examples that might be relevant to the job description.
You should list your previous job titles in reverse chronological order. You can do this by starting from the most recent example and working backward. This gives the hiring manager the most up-to-date information.
You can also include any experience you have in a college or law school-arranged moot court. This shows the employer that you are familiar with how to navigate a court environment.
Below each job title, you should also include your previous employer’s company name, location and the date you started and finished.
You can also include part-time roles, as long as they’re relevant to your career objectives and have contributed to your hard and soft skills.
Your education section is very important to show the hiring manager that you have all the specialist industry academic knowledge to work in a legal profession. You should include the title of your bachelor’s degree, law school and your graduation date.
Having a law degree is the minimum expectation of intake, so providing this information is critical. If you have additional achievements such as making the Dean’s List or you graduated cum laude, you can also feature this information under this heading.
You should also include your college grades under this section so that the hiring manager can assess your performance.
Although a potential employer may not require a cover letter with your application, you should consider submitting a cover letter anyway. Cover letters are a great way to give the hiring manager or recruiter additional information. You can include more in-depth explanations of your experience and describe how your skills make you the ideal candidate for the role.
Providing a professional-looking CV is a great way to improve a hiring manager’s first impressions. If you want to improve this, then you can use a CV builder. A CV builder can help you choose a professional layout that makes the most of the white space of your CV. You can also choose a font and font size that allows you to fit in as much information as possible.
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