Whether you already have a CV or this is your first time writing one, it needs to be in top condition before you start emailing it out to every law firm under the sun. Have a look at this guide of what you should include in your Legal Apprenticeship CV.
First things first, make sure you have your full name, address and contact details at the top of your CV. It’s helpful to provide a phone number and email address too, so that the firm has a choice of how to contact you should they find you to be a good candidate for their apprenticeship scheme.
If you were writing an essay for school, this part would be the introduction. It doesn’t need to be longer than two or three lines – tell the employer who you are, where you study, and the date you will finish school or college. It’s also a good place to mention what type of role you are seeking in the legal sector. If you’re applying for a Paralegal apprenticeship, for example, this is a good point in your CV to outline this!
This part should be brief and straight to the point. List where you have attended secondary school, and sixth form college if relevant. Next, briefly list your qualifications and the grades you got. If you’re still working towards your GCSEs or A Levels, you can put down any predicted grades – just make sure to say that they’re provisional.
Rather than listing every subject by name, you can just write how many you studied for or hope to achieve, with a special mention of any relevant subjects. Have another look at apprenticeship job specification to see which subjects the firm has asked for. Most legal apprenticeships will be keen to see that you have GCSEs in English and Maths.
So your list could go something like this: “8 GCSES A-C, including English (B) and Maths (B).” If you’re applying for one of the new legal apprenticeships, they will be looking to see that you are working towards A-Levels. For a Paralegal apprenticeship or a Chartered Legal executive apprenticeship, you need a minimum of two, and it’s a minimum of three for a Solicitor apprenticeship.
List A-levels after your GCSE grades, and give the subject and grade. It may look like this: A Level English – B, A Level Maths – C, A Level History – A*. If you’ve yet to sit your, A-levels remember to say that your grades are predicted.
Include the names of any companies you’ve worked for, the position you held and the dates you started and finished. This can include any summer jobs or part-time jobs. Also list your main responsibilities in each role, either in a very short paragraph or as bullet points.
There are no right or wrong ways to list your work experience, and it depends a lot on the kinds of experience you have. If you’ve had a series of part time jobs, you could list them starting with your most recent job, and work backwards. Or, you could split this section into “Relevant Work Experience” and “Other”. If you’ve done work experience specific to a law career, such as shadowing someone at a law firm, you can list it in the “Relevant work experience” section, putting any part-time work in the “other” section.
Whichever way you deicide to list it, make sure that you tailor each job description to show skills that you have gained which are transferrable to a legal apprenticeship.
This is a list of transferable skills you have developed during your school studies and extra-curricular activities. It’s also a good idea to link back briefly to any Work Experience you mentioned in the previous section. Think about any awards you have received, projects you’ve worked on, or any other situation where you’ve used your initiative.
Take the Community Sports Leadership Award, for example. While completing the award, you will have developed effective communication, organisational and time management skills, and the ability to work well in a team. All of which can be listed in your “Skills” section!
Try to think about which skills your specific apprenticeship will be looking for. For the Paralegal apprenticeship, anything that showcases your communication and organisational skills is a must. For the Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeship, you could think about your experiences in formal and informal situations, and any debating skills you have gained.
List any achievements such as awards you’ve received, events you’ve organised or any qualifications you’ve worked for whilst you were in school. This all helps to build up the picture of you as a successful, motivated student with desirable skills.
This is your chance to give the firm an insight into your personality, so that they can get a better idea of what you’re like. Rather than an essay on why you love rugby league, this should be short and sweet. But don’t underestimate its importance! Law recruiters like to see that an applicant has other interests aside from a law career, as they’re looking to create a diverse team of interesting people in their firm. Make yourself stand out!
Are you an avid baker? Part of the football team? Involved in the school plays? Volunteer for a charity? Stick it in your CV!
A few pointers
- Keep it concise. Your CV should be no longer than two pages. If you’re struggling to cut it down, ask a family member or a friend to read over it – a fresh pair of eyes can do wonders.
- Read it aloud. This might sound strange, but it is a great way to pick up on any pesky spelling mistakes or sloppy grammatical errors, and make sure that your CV flows.
- Format it clearly. Set everything out clearly, and use obvious headings and consistent fonts.
- Finally, check back to the job specification. See what key skills the legal apprenticeship is asking for, and check that you’ve covered them all briefly in your CV. Don’t panic if you’ve just touched on them – you can expand in more detail in your covering letter!