How to Write a Legal CV

By: Together Abroad 18-07-2016 11:27 AM
Categories: * CV / Resume, * Daily employment news,

There are countless examples on the web on how to make a good CV, giving tips on what information should be provided and the layout differs immensely, depending on the industry. When it comes to stylistics and content there are not many set rules. Certain information like social security numbers and bank accounts are best left out, other information like nationality and gender can be left out too.

There is no right or wrong CV, but adaptions can increase or even decrease ones chances. A classic layout can be considered boring and plain when applying for a designer’s position; a CV full with images, icons and pie charts might not sit well with companies who prefer the more traditional look.

Structure
Although legal CVs are more traditional in appearance, this does not mean their layout is set in stone.
Most CVs start with Curriculum Vitae, preferably in bold letters. The words themselves are rather redundant since the content of the document is evidently a summary of one’s career so far. Less apparent at first sight is whose career is presented. Instead of curriculum vitae, use your own name. That way the reader will immediately know whose details are about to be read.The personal information that follows is usually:
Name: xxx
Address: xxx
City: xxx
Date of Birth: dd/mm/year
Place of Birth:
Mobile: 06-12345678
E-mail: xx@xxx.com
Nationality: Nederlandse

It is not wrong, but it is a bit out-dated. A way to present this information could be:

First name and Surname
Street, number and city| mobile number| e-mail address | LinkedIn

Nationality and place of birth are not necessary. The date of birth should not matter either, but is often included. Leaving it out may help to receive a response from employers, but it can also give the impression the candidate is hiding his age.

After the personal details, a personal statement often follows in which you can highlight your key skills, highlight your achievements. It is written equivalent to the Elevator pitch. The statement shouldnot be too long, nor should it be a summary of previous work experiences.

After the personal statement, your employment follows. It is custom to use an a-chronological order, starting with your most recent experiences first. There are several ways to present the information:

2012- Recent Name profession Name company
Tasks and achievements:



2011-2012 Name profession Name company



Instead of having everything in bold, either the name of the profession or company can be in bold or underlined instead. Keep in mind to remain consistent in the layout and to retain the readability. Having both bold, italics and underlined gives a messy impression and makes it unpleasant to read.
The headings Education and Experience are not in a set order. Usually experience is presented before education, because this is often the most important information an employer should focus on. If, however, education is your selling point, it might be best to swap them around and have education lead your CV.

Other headings like hobbies, certifications, computer skills often follow last.

Fonts and Textual Effects
It is best to keep the design of legal CVs simple. Go for an easy to read font type, for example Arial, Veradana, Helvetica or Times New Roman. The latter is somewhat standard, so to distinguish your CV, going for a different font can help. Generally, size 12 point is advised to use in CVs. This is the case for fonts like Times New Roman, since the font is rather small. Arial and Veradana are rather large fonts so using 12point will blow up your CV, instead consider usingpoint 10 or 11. Keep in mind that when the text becomes too small it is unpleasant to read.

Using colours is usually best to keep to a minimum. To distinguish headers, put them in bold or underline them. If bold and/or underlining is too plain, you could combine it with a text effect like shadow:
Experience
Always check if the added effect does not affect the readability. If you would prefer to use colour it is best to use dark colours bordering black:
Experience

Small caps is another option, it is best to combine them with bold or underlining to prevent the information is lost among the rest of the text.
EXPERIENCE
EXPERIENCE
EXPERIENCE

Although legal CVs often have a more traditional look, what legal firms prefer can still differ immensely; a multinational commercial firm might expect something different then a small solicitor’s office. Before tweaking your CV, it is important to get an impression of the firm.

Besides keeping in mind what kind of firm you are applying to, it is more important to decide what style suits you best. In the end, the CV represents you. Having a document that feels alien will not do you any good.

Cecile Koster

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It has been a long journey since I arrived in The Netherlands, and I want to thank you for being available to receive me, believing in my profile and thank you for all your support, and I express my wish to keep our contact. I followed all your guidelines and recommendations, and I succeeded! Thank you for your best attention, let's keep in touch

Helder Costa

I would like to thank you for your great job to make my CV presentable and truly reflecting my knowledge and experience.
With your highly professional advices and support I felt more confident and eventually I got a job.


Tanya Pelser

Thank you to both yourself and Irina for a great workshop this morning, it was refreshing to hear some really basic ideas for the Dutch employment search which I'm sure will help start everyone off on a new career path! I will definitely be using the services of Together Abroad and one of my first actions is to revise my CV and submit this for a review.

James Stopford