CV template for newly-qualified solicitors
Getting your CV right is a crucial first step to securing job interviews – you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle. Here’s a simple guide on what to include.
Telephone number(s) and sensible email address
You only need include the details necessary to contact you, so don’t include things such as your date of birth or National Insurance number.
This must be a succinct outline of the qualities, skills, experience and achievements that you want to highlight, which should be most relevant to the solicitor role that you want to obtain. Adapt it to each new application, as appropriate. It’s a snapshot of you and must let the reader know why you’re the right candidate and why they should consider the rest of the CV.
For example, using phrases such as “keen on…” or “enthused by…” will enable you to highlight the classes of law in which you’re interested. “Advancing towards a successful career in … by seeking work experience in …” will show the extent of your interest and confirm what you want to achieve.
This should be in a basic list format rather than a narrative, with the most recent institution attended listed first, followed by the rest in reverse chronological order. The list must include any that you’re still attending. The essential information includes the dates attended, name of the institution, courses taken and grades.
It’s also a good idea to highlight any modules that are relevant to the role you’re applying for, without going overboard with unnecessary details. Include all your education from GCSE onwards, and note any institutions that have since merged, closed or been re-named.
Prioritise any legal work experience – even if it was voluntary or an internship – in this section. In the same way as for Education, the most recent job must be listed first. You must also outline the details in the same manner, without excessive details. In addition to the information that can be checked—such as dates from and to, company name and job title—the details should include your responsibilities.
Other work experience should also be listed and used to highlight any duties that are appropriate to a legal position.
This section should highlight the skills you have gained that may not be directly connected to work or education, such as any languages (include competency level in all formats), whether you hold a driving licence and computer literacy.
Provide details of any particular stand-out achievements that you’ve earned, such as election to a position of authority or receiving the best grade on your work in any given period.
Provide brief details of any interests you have or activities outside of work or study. These should help to demonstrate abilities that will assist you as a solicitor, such as problem-solving if you like cryptic puzzles, or leadership qualities if you’re the captain of a sports team. Show long-term commitment in activities by giving year started or level achieved, such as ‘Attained brown belt in kick-boxing…’
Make sure you always include at least two up-to-date references, with, ideally, one being work-based and one education-based. Ensure that the referees are aware of their status on your CV. It’s also acceptable to say 'referees available on request’, in order to determine whether the requester wants a specific type of reference.