Are you ready to advance your legal career and get your foot on the ladder as a trainee solicitor? Then you need to carefully draft your CV.
The problem is you’ll be dealing with a lot of confidential information, and recruiters won’t just hire anyone! You need to impress them first.
To help you do this, we’ve put together a writing guide, accompanied by a trainee solicitor CV below, to get you started.
Trainee Solicitor CV example
This example CV demonstrates how to structure and format your own Trainee Solicitor CV, so that it can be easily digested by busy hiring managers, and quickly prove why you are the best candidate for the jobs you are applying to.
It also gives you a good idea of the type of skills, experience and qualifications that you need to be making prominent in your own CV.
Trainee Solicitor CV layout and format
First impressions count, so a sloppy, disorganised CV may cause your CV to be overlooked..
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step; if your CV lacks readability, your written content won’t even be seen.
CV formatting tips
- Length: Think that submitting a five page CV will impress recruiters? You’re wrong! Even if you’ve got tons of experience to brag about, recruiters don’t have time to read through overly detailed CVs. Keep it short, concise and relevant – a CV length of 2 sides of A4 pages or less is perfect.
- Readability: Columns, lists, bullet points, bold text and subtle colour can all help to aid the readability of your CV. Your overarching goal should be to make the content as easy to read and navigate as possible, whilst also aiming to make your key skills and achievements stand out.
- Design: While it’s okay to add your own spin to your CV, avoid overdoing the design. If you go for something elaborate, you might end up frustrating recruiters who, above anything, value simplicity and clarity.
- Avoid photos: Ditch logos, images or profile photos. Not only do they take up valuable space, but they may even distract recruiters from your important written content.
Quick tip: Formatting your CV to look professional can be difficult and time-consuming when using Microsoft Word or Google Docs. If you want to create an attractive CV quickly, try our partner’s CV builder and use one of their eye-catching professional CV templates.
For easy reading, write your CV to the following CV structure:
- Contact details – Make it easy for recruiters to get in touch with you by listing your contact details at the top of your CV.
- Profile – A short and snappy summary of your experience and skills, showcasing what makes you a good fit for the position.
- Work experience / career history – Note down all your work history, with your current position first, then working backwards.
- Education – A short list of your academic background and professional/vocational qualifications.
- Interest and hobbies – This is an optional section, which you can use to highlight any relevant hobbies or interests.
Now I’ll tell you exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Tuck your contact details into the corner of your CV, so that they don’t take up too much space.
Stick to the basic details, such as:
- Mobile number
- Email address – It should sound professional, such as your full name.
- Location -Just write your rough location, rather than your full address.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – If you include these, ensure they’re sleek, professional and up-to-date.
Trainee Solicitor CV Profile
Your CV profile is the first thing recruiters will read – so your goal is to give them a reason to read onto the end of the document!
Create a short and snappy paragraph that showcases your key skills, relevant experience and impressive accomplishments.
Ultimately, it should prove to the reader that you’ve got what it takes to carry out the job.
Tips for creating an strong CV profile:
- Keep it concise: Aim for a short, snappy paragraph of 3-5 lines. This is just enough room to showcase why you’d make the perfect hire, without going into excessive detail and overwhelming busy recruiters.
- Tailor it: Recruiters can spot a generic, mass-produced CV at a glance – and they certainly won’t be impressed! Before you write your profile (and CV as a whole), read through the job advert and make a list of any skills, knowledge and experience required. You should then incorporate your findings throughout your profile and the rest of your CV.
- Don’t add an objective: Avoid discussing your career goals in your CV profile – if you think they’re necessary, briefly mention them in your cover letter instead.
- Avoid cliches: If there’s one thing that’ll annoy a recruiter, it’s a clichè-packed CV. Focus on showcasing your hard skills, experience and the results you’ve gained in previous roles, which will impress recruiters far more.
Example CV profile for Trainee Solicitor
What to include in your Trainee Solicitor CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Recruiters will want to know what type of companies you’ve worked for, industries you have knowledge of, and the type of work you’ve carried out in the past, so give them a summary of this in your profile.
- Relevant skills: Make your most relevant Trainee Solicitor key skills clear in your profile. These should be tailored to the specific role you’re applying for – so make sure to check the job description first, and aim to match their requirements as closely as you can.
- Essential qualifications: If the jobs you are applying to require candidates to have certain qualifications, then you must add them in your profile to ensure they are seen by hiring managers.
Quick tip: Struggling to write a powerful profile? Choose from hundreds of pre-written profiles across all industries, and add one to your CV with one click in our partner’s CV builder. All written by recruitment experts and easily tailored to suit your unique skillset.
Core skills section
Underneath your profile, write a core skills section to make your most relevant skills jump off the page at readers.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points of your relevant skills.
Before you do this, look over the job description and make a list of any specific skills, specialisms or knowledge required.
Then, make sure to use your findings in your list. This will paint you as the perfect match for the role.
Top skills for your Trainee Solicitor CV
Legal research – identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal decision-making.
Drafting legal documents – drafting complex legal documentation for use both internally and externally.
Document management – securely and confidentially storing and handling legal documentation.
Legal terminology – understanding of common legal terms for use within legal documentation and when working with other legal professionals.
Report preparation – writing complex legal reports that are clear, factual and relevant.
Quick tip: Our partner’s CV builder contains thousands of in-demand skills for every profession that can be added to your CV in seconds – saving you time and greatly improving your chances of landing job interviews.
Work experience/Career history
Now it’s time to get stuck into your work experience, which should make up the bulk of your CV.
Begin with your current (or most recent) job, and work your way backwards.
If you’ve got too much experience to fit onto two pages, prioritise space for your most recent and relevant roles.
Structuring your roles
Lengthy, unbroken chunks of text is a recruiters worst nightmare, but your work experience section can easily end up looking like that if you are not careful.
To avoid this, use my tried-and-tested 3-step structure, as illustrated below:
Start with a 1-2 sentence summary of your role as a whole, detailing what the goal of your position was, who you reported to or managed, and the type of organisation you worked for.
Follow with a snappy list of bullet points, detailing your daily duties and responsibilities.
Tailor it to the role you’re applying for by mentioning how you put the target employer’s desired hard skills and knowledge to use in this role.
To finish off each role and prove the impact you made, list 1-3 stand out achievements, results or accomplishments.
This could be anything which had a positive outcome for the company you worked for, or perhaps a client/customer.
Where applicable, quantify your examples with facts and figures.
Example job for Trainee Solicitor CV
Worked for a busy solicitor’s office in Coventry as part of a small team of assistants to the partners and associates, covering a range of paralegal and legal administration duties.
- Drafted and amended a variety of legal documentation
- Prepared court/case bundles including witness and trial bundles, and issued related documentation
- Completed legal research for solicitors and senior managers
- Prepared legal documents including contracts, company policies and trademark applications
Quick tip: Create impressive job descriptions easily in our partner’s CV builder by adding pre-written job phrases for every industry and career stage.
Next up, you should list your education and qualifications.
This can include your formal qualifications (a degree, A-Levels and GCSEs), as well as sector-specific Trainee Solicitor qualifications and/or training.
While school leavers and recent grads should include a lot of detail here to make up for the lack of work experience, experienced candidates may benefit from a shorter education section, as your work experience section will be more important to recruiters.
Interests and hobbies
Although this is an optional section, it can be useful if your hobbies and interests will add further depth to your CV.
Interests which are related to the sector you are applying to, or which show transferable skills like leadership or teamwork, can worth listing.
On the other hand, generic hobbies like “going out with friends” won’t add any value to your application, so are best left off your CV.
Writing your Trainee Solicitor CV
An interview-winning CV for a Trainee Solicitor role, needs to be both visually pleasing and packed with targeted content.
Whilst it needs to detail your experience, accomplishments and relevant skills, it also needs to be as clear and easy to read as possible.
Remember to research the role and review the job ad before applying, so you’re able to match yourself up to the requirements.
If you follow these guidelines and keep motivated in your job search, you should land an interview in no time.
Best of luck with your next application!