At LGFL, we’ve been recruiting for trainee solicitors to work with us here in our boutique family law firm. Managing Director Rita Gupta reviewed almost 200 applications before making a shortlist for interviews. So she’s seen a LOT of CVs over the last couple of months!

If you’re looking for a trainee solicitor position, here are Rita’s top tips for creating a CV that works for her and you. (Video and for those who prefer to read a transcript below).




Trainee solicitors. Well, what about those cvs?

I've read quite a lot since January, so I think I've got some good insights. Obviously I'm looking at it from a boutique niche firm's perspective.

I would say, I really don't like these garish, rather strange coloured cvs. Maybe I'm a bit of a traditionalist, but I think that you should go for clean lines and if you're going for colour, something quite simple. I've seen some patterns, ones with baubles - very garish. A black cv - just wouldn't go for that at all.

Also, if you are choosing a template, make sure it's one where you can see the information really clearly. I don't want to be searching to see what university you went to, what degree classification you've got. It should be all very clear right at the top.

Bear in mind if someone's getting 200 plus cvs, they've got to have a way to sift very clearly and if the information is clearly noted down, it's going to be much easier.

The other thing that I found is that there is a template whereby somebody’s listed four skills, that I've seen a few times. So I would say that if you are using a template, make sure that you individualise it for you, rather than just doing the standard rhetoric on these templates.

I also found that a lot of candidates didn't put their modules in, and it was of interest to me. In fact, we recruited somebody who had done a family law module and it really stood them out from the rest. So make sure you put in about your modules in your profile section at the start.

Maybe there is a borderline difference between confidence and arrogance, but be a little bit realistic about what you've actually done and what you think you are going to bring to the firm that you are applying for. So maybe stay away from grandiose statements is probably the best thing to say.

I also like to know about the person as well, so not only put in your skills and what you've done, let me know a little bit about you. Everyone's grades are quite standard. We can compare them across the board, but a lot of the time, particularly if you're going for boutique firms, we want to see whether you will fit into our team. And to do that, we've got to know about you.

So put some effort into your cvs. I don't like the standard. Indeed templates that they generate. I think it's a little bit lazy. If you are applying for a training contract, put some effort into your cv, but at the same time, don't overthink it and spend so long on your CV that you don't actually make any applications!

I hope that helps. Good luck. It's a long, tough road, but I know you'll get there.