Law CV mistakes: Our ten biggest pitfalls

We’re often asked about the worst law CV mistakes, read on for some of the biggest culprits. Why is it important to get your CV right? We have all experienced that feeling of walking into a really nice shop or hotel and thinking, ‘wow, this place is amazing’. Retailers spend millions of pounds each year on marketing and making sure that their shops are a pleasant place for people to shop in and this goes a long way to enticing you to spend your money there. Take Apple as an example and think about their stores: they always have great presentation, the key information about products is presented quickly and there is a sense of simplicity when purchasing products. There’s something to learn from big retailers like Apple when applying for jobs and the most important lesson for applicants is: your CV is a method by which you sell your skills – it’s like putting the products in your store on display for your future employer. A great CV is a way of showing off your skills and attributes and encouraging a prospective employer to invite you for an interview. However, lots of applicants make some very common law CV mistakes. Here are the top 10 law CV mistakes: 1 Poor presentation Think of poor presentation like going to an interview with an unironed shirt – it wouldn’t come across very well! In the same vein, you want to present your CV nicely because it shows a prospective employer that you care about presentation. 2 Dense text Having clear headings and bullet points will make your CV easier to read and anything which...

How much does appearance matter in job interviews?

Tatler editor Kate Reardon sparked controversy last week when she suggested having confidence and clean hair in a job interview is more important than having an impeccable CV. Read her full interview with The Observer here. It brings to mind a rather unnerving question: Are employers more interested in the way you look than with your CV? A quick Google search will show you survey after survey that suggests being good looking gives you an advantage in getting hired. Disheartened? Don’t despair just yet my hideous friends – the truth is many factors contribute to whether or not someone gets a job and your ugliness is just one of many factors that might be holding you back. What we can tell you for sure is the impression you give when you meet potential employers at an interview is crucial because your new boss needs to feel you’re the right fit for their company. Now, before you start explaining that you’re applying for a job in a blue collar industry and a suit and tie isn’t really necessary, these are general guidelines – please treat each situation on its merits. Bearing that in mind, here are some quick tips on how to dress for job interviews! 1. Dress to impress, keeping it conservative It’s wise to keep your dress code conservative and formal – better to be overdressed than underdressed. Girls, think suits, blouses, tights and mid-length skirts or dresses. Boys, think suits, belts, ties, black socks and smart shoes. Leave the polo shirts, sports shoes and low necklines at home. 2. Take out facial piercings and cover those tats Unless...

The 10 most common interview questions (and best answers)

So, you got a job interview? Hooray! Now there’s just that little matter of those pesky interview questions that you are going to have to answer. Now, it goes without saying every interview is different and any questions will massively depend on the job and field you’ve applied for, but there are a few usual suspects that rear their ugly heads on a regular basis. We’ve narrowed it down to the ten we see most frequently and then just for good measure we’ve chucked in some advice about how to answer them. Think of it as an early Christmas present. OK, off we go… 1 Why are you interested in working for our company? Simple but effective – one of the most common interview questions. Your interviewer wants to know if you’ve done your research so you better know all about their company. Employers are looking for someone enthusiastic who knows what they’re talking about so give examples of what attracted you to their particular company which highlight their strong points. For example, if the company is known for excellent customer service, make it clear this is something you are passionate about. Then give an example of something you’ve done in the past to prove it – here’s a few examples to get your creative juices flowing. Don’t worry if you don’t have anything like that up your sleeve, just make sure you can give an example or two to back up what you are saying. 2 Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? This question can throw interviewees because the human instinct to chat kicks in so try not...

The ten best questions to ask during a job interview

We know interviews are scary – we’ve been there – but think of job interviews as conversations rather than interrogations. It’s just a chat, only a bit more formal than the ones you’re used to having with your friends down in the pub on a Friday night. First they’ll ask you some questions. Then, more than likely, the tables will turn and you’ll chuck a few back at them. But it helps to not sit there like a lemon so when they ask ‘is there anything else you’d like to know?’ have something up your sleeve and say ‘yes’! Now we’d draw the line at barking at your interviewer’s dog, for example, but having something to say shows confidence, gives you the opportunity to reinforce your suitability and helps you understand the job better. With that in mind, here are 10 great questions to ask your interviewer. Strap yourself in, this first one’s not for the faint-hearted:- 1 Do you have any doubts about whether I am suited to the role? This rather bold question takes guts, but shows that you’re willing to take criticism and learn from feedback from the get-go. Be ready to expand on anything your interviewer flags up, showing them you’re confident about your skills and achievements. 2 What are the most important challenges the company is facing? From this you can gain insight into the overall position of the company. After all, a small business won’t have the same concerns a huge corporation will. You’ll get to understand the overarching company aims and ethics, while showing the interviewer you’re not just interested in yourself but...

Cover letter tips: Nailing the perfect tone for your application

Eagle-eyed readers will tell you we’ve already given you a little advice on how to write the perfect cover letter. We briefly touched on tone – arguing for something passionate but not pretentious. However, generous to a fault we thought it was high time to go into a little more detail. Your cover letter is your chance to get your foot in the door so here are some ways to make sure you portray yourself as the perfect candidate: – Give off the right vibes – demonstrate passion and ability No one wants to work with someone who has a negative attitude and complains all day. No one wants to work with someone who sounds pompous or conceited. Employers want to hire someone capable who genuinely cares about the job, so make sure your words demonstrate your passion as well as your ability. The following can be useful words to remember: – – enthusiastic / keen – passionate – fascinated – interested – excited – lead / led – organised – managed – built / grew – completed / solved Don’t shoehorn them in – this is only a brief list designed to provide a bit of food for thought. However, it’s worth noting that these are a mix of emotive words and verbs that demonstrate action. Try and get a happy balance of both throughout your cover letter to ensure you’ve got all your bases covered. Make it personal: Everybody loves a story – even employers! Your employer is a human being just like you. Use this to your advantage. If you have a story that relates to...