Today we bring you part 4 of our CV Writing Course for Lawyers. Ensure you read the previous episodes of the course before reading this episode. We congratulate all those who were admitted into the Nigerian Bar on 20th October, 2015. We want to say welcome to the Bar with the post “The New Wig and his B.L Certificate”.
Enjoy the rest of the post.
Areas of Interest
“Areas of Interest” is one knotty element I see in many CVs. I deliberately avoided including that in the earlier parts of this course because, I don’t recommend including that in CVs.
If you are sending your CV to different law firms or companies, then your areas of interest would definitely not be the same with the areas of interest of all the companies or firms. So if you must include your areas of interest, ensure you draft one CV for each law firm or company you intend to send it to and your areas of interest is mutual with the company/firm’s areas of interest, business or practice.
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Your Hobbies Say a lot About You!
A person who loves watching or playing a team sport like football or basketball would most likely fit in better as a team player, while a person who loves individual based sport like golfing or ping pong is most likely a lone ranger! A scrabble or chess lover is most likely a deep thinker and very articulate. Believe me, the HR Department of many big law firms and companies look out for these qualities.
So ensure your hobbies are not vague and reflect a good team player, stable personality and a life beyond work. “Browsing the internet” is too vague. Browsing the internet for all you know could mean viewing online pornography.
Your hobbies should reflect that balance between your career and other areas of your life. Also do not chose hobbies you know nothing about.
Don’t say “golfing” is your hobby because it is elitist, when you know nothing about it. You are setting yourself up for disgrace.
The Perfect References
Your choice of references/referees matters. Please it’s best to choose your former employer or lecturer and seek their consent first, so they don’t deny knowing you when they are called for inquiries on your suitability.
Besides your lecturer or former employee, any other lawyer of good standing could serve. Do not use non-lawyers or people who have no business with the law either in their background or career.
So you village Chief except he is a well known lawyer is a “NO”! Same for politicians without legal backgrounds. Avoid using blood relatives too where possible.
If you don’t have Referees and there is deadline with the submission of CVs, adding that referees would be provided on request could serve so as to beat the deadline. Ensure you also get your list of referees ready.
Edit and Proof Read
Now is the time to edit your CV. Cut off unnecessary details. The perfect CV like I say is the short CV. So ensure your CV is a page and half or 2 pages at most by cutting off all unnecessary details.
If your work experience and achievements are too long, then employ a scale of preference to retain only the best of them.
However, there is an exception to this rule, where you made a 1st Class or the job you are applying for is already yours and the submission of your CV is a mere formality, then you can retain all those necessary details that makes your CV glow. Remember I said “necessary details”.
On error checks, the truth is that you cannot identify your errors as good as a 3rd party would. So, give your CV to a 3rd party preferably an older colleague or mentor to help you vet for typos. I have lost count of how many friends or mentees I have helped with that.
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Your CV needs a cover letter. It should accompany your CV and is very vital. We would conclude this CV Writing Course treatise with a post on cover letters which unfortunately would be the next episode. So do keep a date!