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CV is your primary marketing tool when trying to secure a new job. It’s often your first point of contact with a prospective employer, and first impressions do count. Below is basic advice and tips on how we would advise a candidate to present their CV. common misconception is that CVs should be limited to two pages. This is perhaps appropriate for more junior candidates, but is often too restrictive for an individual with several years’ experience. Whatever the length, all parts of the CV should be punchy and concise – short paragraphs are far more readable than large blocks of text.

A basic CV should include:

  • Contact details
  • A brief profile outlining your main attributes, skills and experience
  • Career history (most recent history listed first
  • Education (again, most recent history listed first)
  • Specific skills and memberships
  • Hobbies and interests
  • References
  • Always ensure that your CV is well-presented, and do check that grammar and spelling are correct throughout.
  • If it is not appropriate to the role, your chances of being offered the post are greatly reduced.

Interview tips and techniques

  • Make first impressions count
  • The moment you enter that interview room can set the scene for the whole interview.
  • Professional interviewers are looking carefully for clues about you.
  • How you present yourself.
  • The possible future impact you may have on their staff or clients.
  • Dress correctly
  • What you choose to wear when you attend an interview speaks volumes about how seriously you want the job

Here are some pointers

  • Make sure you look smart – this will normally be a suit
  • Avoid wearing anything wacky
  • Long-sleeve shirts look more professional than short-sleeves.
  • Keep your interview outfit special for the day so it isn’t crumpled.
  • Ensure shoes are appropriate and are cleaned and polished.
  • If you have to carry anything use a briefcase not a rucksack.
  • Make sure your hair is well groomed and does not cover your face.
  • Have clean nails.
  • Take a brolly if there’s even the slightest hint of rain!

Here are some that are known to have been asked in training contract and pupillage interviews, to give you an idea of what you might expect.

Questions can usually be divided into five general areas:

Questions relating to how you view your career.

Questions relating to law.

Questions relating to your skills and competencies.

Questions relating to commercial awareness.

Questions designed to test your ability to deal with unexpected or tricky issues.

How you perform in an interview will ultimately decide whether you secure a role – so it’s important to prepare well. The following ‘common-sense’ tips will ensure that you get off to the right start.

  • Preparation is Key
  • Researching the business is critical.

You should take the following information into account:

  • Core activities
  • History and origins
  • Territories in which the company operates
  • The number of employees and types of roles held
  • Current initiatives and future plans
  • The partners and key management within the business (including interviewers)

Ensure that you are clear on the following:

  • Your key achievements
  • Your key strengths
  • The key challenges you have experienced in your career and how they were overcome
  • What skills you feel you need to develop further
  • Your professional aspirations

On the day it is important to remain professional, polite and courteous throughout the interview. Remember that you are being assessed as soon as you arrive on site – so make a good impression with everyone you meet.

general tips include:

  • Turn up five to ten minutes before the meeting.
  • And don’t turn up too early – the interviewer may still be preparing
  • Listen to questions and answer them as honestly as possible.
  • It’s generally not a good idea to over-prepare for interviews. Interviewers can sense ‘stock answers’
  • Take each point in turn and ask for clarification if necessary
  • If you don’t know the answer, say so
  • Don’t give one-word answers, such as “yes” and “no” – ensure you elaborate
  • Make eye contact and assume a relaxed but formal body position.
  • If there are multiple interviewers, give your attention equally
  • Know if you need to prepare anything prior to interview e.g. preparation for numeracy/literacy tests
  • Be sure to ask questions at the end of the interview based on topics discussed
  • Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol or eating strong-smelling food directly before the meeting

Legal interviews can be challenging, especially when so many firms are using Competency Based Interviewing techniques as standard. Many candidates find it difficult to answer Competency Based or Behavioural questions successful or even the common traditional questions favoured by many interviewers. If you require any assistants, please contact your regional consultant who will help with further preparation before your interview. Good Luck!

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