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...

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...

Phone interview advice: Five tips for landing your dream job

Phone interviews are becoming increasingly common. They’re quicker and more convenient than their face-to-face cousins and can be very revealing if a job relies on communication skills, personality or phone manner. Which most do if we are being honest. They can also be tricky. Countless job seekers have been hindered by crackly reception, unexpected interruptions or have simply struggled to respond appropriately without visual hints. However, if a job you are applying for involves a phone interview you’ll need to know the dos and don’ts or that will be the end of your application. Want to know how it’s done? Read on for our top pointers for how to impress at a phone interview:- 1 Perfect your phone manner and make sure you are on guard at all times Not many people realise they need to work on their phone manner – but plenty do. We recently advertised for a position at our company. We didn’t conduct any formal phone interviews but we did ring applicants on the phone and it’s human nature to make an initial judgement about someone after just a few seconds of conversation. Well it’s our nature anyway – maybe we are just mean. One applicant abruptly asked “who is this?” when we asked if we had the right person. It wasn’t the end of the world but it put her on the back foot for the rest of the conversation. We all get frustrated with cold calls but it pays to be friendly – at least until you know who’s on the other end of the line! As soon as you send off your...

How to quit your job: Our guide to resigning on the best terms

Richard quit his job. You don’t know Richard but play along, it’s a true story… His departure – when he didn’t have a role to go to – was the talk of the office. Richard worked for one of the world’s largest consultancy firms. His decision to go travelling for two years in the midst of important projects was generally considered career suicide – a crime he was willing to commit because he wasn’t planning on coming back. Fast forward two years and Richard had returned to the same company in a more senior role, earning more money. With a suntan. Why? Because he managed his departure with a touch of class – leaving his former bosses cursing the day he departed. The moral of the story? There’s nothing to be gained from burning your bridges. Leaving your job isn’t easy but you should always try to leave on the best possible terms. You never know what the future holds. Here’s a guide to ensure you do just that:- The important steps to remember when leaving a job Jobs for life are a thing of the past. In America, 91% of Millennials expect to stay in their job less than three years. Very often it’s how they behave in the last few weeks of their employment that will make or break the way the way their former colleagues perceive their time  at the company. Make sure you announce your departure to your boss in two ways. It’s good manners to speak to them face to face but you should also write a letter of resignation – something we can help you with – and...

Graduate tips: How to get on the career ladder after university

Finished uni this month? Time to clue up on our graduate career tips… Graduating from university can be a bittersweet experience. Once the photos have been taken and the champagne has been drunk a new chapter begins. For some this is a thrilling sensation. For others it’s terrifying. For most it’s a mixture of the two – but with a 37% increase in graduate vacancies year on year there’s nothing to fear. Well, not that much anyway. Follow the tips below and you’ll give yourself the very best chance of landing the job of your dreams. Ask yourself: What to do you want to be when you grow up? Get in touch with the careers department at your uni. There have never been so many potential career options and they will know about more than you ever dreamed of so tap into that knowledge. Don’t focus on a specific role from the word go. Tell them your values and goals – both for the short and long term. They might surprise you and suggest something that hadn’t occurred to you. What do you want? Variety of work? Opportunities to travel? A high salary? The chance to help others? The more honest you can be the more they can help so if you are all about the cash just say so. Failing that, an online resource such as TARGETjobs’ career planner can prove useful. Take your time – any decisions you make will shape the rest of your life. What type of organisation could you see yourself working for? Do you want to work for a big multinational or would...