Why you need a good CV

Written by: Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA)
Published on: 2 Aug 2017

Imagine that you are an employer, with one vacancy to fill and an array of hopeful candidate’s CVs. What attributes would a CV need to possess to make it stand out? What would intrigue you about a candidate enough for you to take the next step to invite them for an interview? With this in mind, you should view your CV as a marketing tool; a platform that provides the first direct contact with your prospective employer and a way to sell yourself as best you can. Remember that the first impression you make on a recruiter could potentially affect your progression up the career ladder or even the acquisition of your dream job.

Your CV is a reflection of you

Your CV acts as a reflection of you as a person and, as the recruiter will have never met you, you need to ensure that your CV represents you and your potential. The content, presentation and tone of your CV will provide the employer with an image of who you are, so it is important to focus all of your energy into showing off your value as an employee. Try asking yourself the following questions: What makes you an asset? How could your input positively impact their company? Take time to analyse the skills and attributes that you developed within your previous roles. Remember that if you are applying for a Legal Secretarial role, your CV provides the perfect way to show off your standard of typing, punctuation, organisational and presentation skills. If you make the extra effort to ensure that it is meticulously written and presented your skills will speak for themselves.

Think about your language

It is important to use assertive, positive and authentic language within your CV. Use this opportunity to showcase the specific and unique achievements you have gained along your career path. As an individual your career will have progressed in its own original way. Be confident and descriptive about your skills and knowledge. Speak passionately but also clearly and concisely. Let the employer take an interest in you by showing what is interesting about you. Identify your strengths which distinguish you from others and provide examples of where you have added value within your roles and demonstrate your abilities with grounded statistics where possible.

Tailor your CV to each role

We recommend that you always try to tailor your CV to the position you are applying for. By tailoring your CV to each position this will show the recruiter that you have an active interest in the employer’s company and that you have the motivation to go the extra mile. Take time to research the employer; they will appreciate the effort you’ve taken to research them, and by including relevant and adapted information, rather than generic details, you will give the recruiter confidence that you are passionate about working for their particular firm. As well as researching the company, you should also research each job role you are applying for and think carefully about the transferable skills that you possess and why you would be the perfect candidate for that role. You may consider writing a master CV which you can then alter in order to fit each job description. By visualising the company’s image, ethos and needs, you can create a custom CV that appeals directly to each employer.

Always include a covering letter

It is imperative that your CV is always sent with a covering letter. Your covering letter can be just as important as your CV and can be used to capture the employers attention.  It allows you to address your recruiter personally, introduce yourself and showcase your ambitions to gain employment in the sector you are aiming for. Just to show how important your covering letter is, just bear in mind that as many as 40% of recruiters said that they would disregard a CV which did not have a covering letter to support it! 82% of recruiters also added that following up on a CV application reflects very well on the candidate. We highly recommend chasing up on an application a week or two later in order to show that you are proactive, assertive and enthusiastic about joining their company.

About the ILSPA

ILSPA provides CV help to any of our Members who require assistance. We help our Members to tailor their CV for a Legal Secretary position and to present a document which is attractive and effective in your job search. Sending your CV for us to review before an employer receives it also enables you to check whether your CV best represents you and if any corrections are needed. If you are currently an ILSPA Member, you can send a copy of your CV to cv@institutelegalsecretaries.com and we will get back to you with valuable and constructive feedback within seven days. If you would like to become a Member of ILSPA, you can apply for Membership through our website:
https://www.institutelegalsecretaries.com/membership/benefits/ or by contacting us on 0207 100 9210.

The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) is a professional body who are dedicated to your career every step of the way. Whether you would like to become a Legal Secretary or you would like to advance your Legal Secretary career, they are there to support you through your journey.  For more information visit www.institutelegalsecretaries.com.