Information For Trainee Solicitors On CV Preparation

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Information for Trainee Solicitorson CV Preparation

PRODUCING A CVThe purpose of a CV is to grab a prospective employer’s attention, interest them, and motivatethem to invite you to an interview. A good CV goes beyond just listing job responsibilities.Ideally, it should include information on achievements you’ve had too and, where possible, anoutline of any benefits that were enjoyed as a result.When drafting your CV, remember it is more than just an introduction to a potential employer. Itwill most probably also guide much of what is discussed at interview.Of key importance is to provide the kind of information that your targeted reader is likely to beinterested in. Illustrate types of work that you have worked on and provide named exampleswhere possible. This will facilitate the interview to flow better and you also have more chance ofpredicting, and therefore preparing for, interview questions.Short, succinct bullet points are the best format for a CV. Don’t write long sentences and bulkyparagraphs. Clarity is essential - the reader will not spend the time trying to decipher the pointyou are trying to make.Make sure that your CV contains your full career and academic history and that anychronological gaps, including years spent abroad, travelling, sabbaticals etc, are explained.Identify career highlights, real successes you have had and also what you have enjoyed.Give thought to the interests section of your CV. Leaving it blank is a wasted opportunity for youto sell yourself and to give the interviewer the chance to ask you about what you do outside ofwork to identify whether you will fit into the team / business.It is becoming increasingly important for law firms to recruit rounded individuals who theybelieve have the potential to be client relationship partners in the future. It is important youillustrate all your potential in this regard within your CV. Consider presenting your work experience ahead of educational & qualification details. Yourexperience is what employers are most interested in. If you have other legal work experience apart from your training contract feature this withadequate details. If you have had achievements in work, include details and, where possible, quantify anybenefits your achievements delivered and include details of these. Do not include statements that cannot be substantiated at interview. Avoid jargon and non standard abbreviations. Do not use clichés and avoid the over-used claimed words found in so many CVs. Ensure your CV is carefully proof read, first by yourself and then by someone else, skilled atproofreading. Don’t send your CV anywhere with errors on it.Information for Trainees on CVs Law Society of Ireland

Important Disclaimer – Please NoteThe Law Society does not give any guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerningthe accuracy, completeness or up-to-date nature of information within this document.The Law Society also does not take responsibility for any dependence or relianceplaced on the use of support services information provided - and cannot accept liabilityfor any loss or damage incurred as a result.Items That Should Not Be In Your CV Salary RequirementsLeaving Cert / Junior Cert subjects and marksPolitical affiliations, membership of bodies not related to your career etc.Personal details such as age, marital status, nationality and health status.Profile / Summary SectionProfiles or summary sections are usually placed just under name and contact details and areoften highlighted in various ways - such as with a text box. The profile / summary draws thereader in and encourages them to read further.As covering letters become less relevant, the importance of a profile / summary section hasgrown. For instance, recruiters generally pass on CVs, but not covering letters to employers.Within these circumstances, the profile / summary section can introduce the reader to the CV, inthe same way that covering letters used to.The profile / summary can also be used very effectively to clearly link an application to aparticular type of job, for example, ‘Solicitor with family law experience seeking role in this area’.The profile / summary can also be used to target particular concerns or needs of an employer,for example, ‘Go-getter who enjoys new business development’.The profile / summary is of significant importance to ‘about to’ and recently qualified solicitors.You have a particular need to creatively differentiate yourself from other ‘about to’ and recentlyqualified and the profile / summary is very useful at this.A good profile summarises what you have achieved and / or what you are looking for in themost succinct way possible. If it is running over several lines, it is too long. Avoid subjectivedescriptions too, such as ‘excellent communication skills’ and clichés such as ‘capable ofworking on own or as part of a team’.For example, the following profile / summary, compromises rather than benefits the CV it wasincorporated into:An experienced and results orientated professional. A decisive and persuasiveleader with excellent communication skills and a proven ability to effectivelymanage complex change projects through to completion. Motivated to work tofull potential, either on my own or as part of a team.Information for Trainees on CVs Law Society of Ireland

SYLVIA ANYONE - Curriculum Vitae14 Any Park, Dublin 12Telephone: 353 (0) 87 5698037Email: [email protected] who trained in large law firm with a wide range of experience in banking and financialservices, debt collection, commercial property and company law.EDUCATIONApril 2011PPC II Completed- Qualified as a solicitor with Law Society of Ireland2003-2007Trinity College Dublin - BCL - 2.1 HonoursAwarded scholarship in University of Florida in 2003/2004 as part of BCL.To 2003Oatlands CBS Secondary School, Mount Merrion, DublinCAREERSept 2008 – May 2011Trainee Solicitor, Haughey O’Brien Solicitors, DublinHaughey O’Brien is Ireland’s largest law firm and employed 800 people when I joined. Trainees movedbetween different areas of work and are provided with lots of challenge.Banking and Financial Services Involved in wide ranging commercial transactions acting on behalf of both financial institutions andborrowers. Drafted mortgage debentures, board minutes, corporate certificates, company resolutions. Reviewed and drafted opinion on syndicated loan agreements, mortgages and guarantees. Drafted C1 and G1 forms, amended memorandum & articles of association of companies. Reviewed section 60 documentation & representations & warranties in loan agreements. Drafted security reports for financial institutions.Civil Litigation Gained experience across a broad range of sectors and types of work. Drafted documentation for lodgements in High Court proceedings. Organised and prepared documents for both large and small scale discovery. Attended at initial consultations with clients and prepared briefs for counsel for matters to be heard atDistrict, Circuit and High Courts including the Commercial Court. Advised clients from Ireland and abroad in relation to debt collection.Commercial Property Drafted commercial and residential leases, raised and replied to pre lease enquiries, attended atclosings and dealt with all stamping and registration requirements. Advised clients on all aspects of conveyancing transactions including purchase and sale ofcommercial property, mortgages, leases and private residential letting agreements.Information for Trainees on CVs Law Society of Ireland

SYLVIA ANYONE - Curriculum Vitae continuedOct 2007 – Feb 2008Debt Collector, Black Horse Services, Dublin 1Black Horse Services is a specialist debt recovery service that operates internationally and providessubcontract support to banks and consumer debt businesses. Reviewed leasing and hire purchase files with a view to retrieving debt.Calculated debt balances.Reconstructed and assessed files for debt collection litigation.Prepared termination and repossession notices.June 2006 – Aug 2006 Florida City Attorney’s Office, U.S.A.Gained experience of USA law in this posting and others below as part of scholarship I was awardedduring my third year in college. I gained extensive family law experience in this role. Represented Florida City social workers in relation to cases before the Children in Need of Protectionand Services Court, which dealt with abuse and neglect of children.Researched specific areas of family state law in Florida.Reviewed cases, interviewed clients and prepared files for court.Negotiated with public defenders in relation to rehabilitation, visitation and supervision rights fortheir clients and eventual reunification of their clients with their children.Jan 2006 – April 2006Federal District Court of Florida, U.S.A.Selected to work as a judicial extern in the Federal District Court of Florida. Responsibilities ranged fromreview of civil and criminal cases to preparation and presentation of briefs.Sept 2005 – May 2006 University of Florida Law Library, U.S.A.This was the initial work experience assignment during my scholarship and I was involved in legalresearch and general administration work in this very substantial library.ACHIEVEMENTS AND INTERESTS Free Legal Advice Centre (Trinity): committee member involved in organising fellow law students tomeet weekly in order to advise university students regarding legal issues.Involved in organisation of collections for and raising awareness of different charities includingSimon, Irish Cancer Society, Chernobyl Children’s Project and Law Day.Compete in triathlons and in hill climbing events during the summer months.Keen interest in basketball and have played at junior and senior club level.Enjoy reading and learning new languages. I have conversational Spanish and French.Information for Trainees on CVs Law Society of Ireland

Power WordsThe use of action words / power verbs, are very effective in presenting your skills andexperience. Using these words at the start of each bullet point under the details of youremployment will work towards enthusing the reader.The words you use will depend upon your experience. For example, a candidate applying for amanagerial position will want to make use of words such as "oversaw, developed, improved andreduced", whereas someone looking for a more creative role will want to use words such as"designed, compiled and created".Power verbs to accentuate organisational iewedUpdatedPower verbs used to highlight edInstigatedReducedSupportedOther power ontrolledDemonstratedMaintainedPlannedCommon Mistakes in CV WritingSpelling mistakes: Circa 50% of CVs contain spelling errors. This easy mistake will make youseem careless and could also distract the reader's attention from the content.Jargon: Using jargon and acronyms risks having your CV not understood.Qualifications: A common mistake is to over detail subjects and marks gained, right back.Employment: There is no need to provide the address of employers. All you need is thecompany name, your job title and the dates you started and finished.Hobbies: Everyone likes ‘reading, listening to music, keeping fit and socialising with friends’.Try coming up with something that portrays you as more interesting.Information for Trainees on CVs Law Society of Ireland

CV Check ListIndicate with a ‘ ’ or an ‘’x’ how your CV rates against each of the questions belowMark Appearance Is it no more than two pages? Are the margins, headers and footers all close to standard size? Is it neatly laid out? Is a standard style used throughout the document? Is the font size large enough and is there sufficient white space?Content Is the CV format used the best one given your circumstances? Are details provided focused enough on achievements? Are verbs used in the ‘active’ tense? Does content include achievements outside work? Are there any ‘gaps’ which might cause the interviewer concern? Have you avoided splitting up a block of content with a pagebreak?Clarity Are all spellings, grammar and syntax correct? Is it jargon free? Are words used all easy to understand? Is the profile clearly and succinctly stated? Are contact details (address, telephone number) easy to see? Is there a logical flow to the document? Has your CV been carefully proofread by at least 2 people?Information for Trainees on CVs Law Society of Ireland

WHEN A DIFFERENT KIND OF CV IS REQUIREDPlanning a significant change in career direction often involves being perceived as‘overqualified’ for the job you’re interested in. Being overqualified often presents more problemsthan people expect. Employers and recruiters can have suspicions as to why you’re interestedin the position and it can be easier and safer to just hire someone who more closely fits the jobdescription.In these circumstances, your CVs should be constructed to take focus away from yourqualifications and try to accentuate the reasons behind your interest in the position beingapplied for. This can be done in a number of ways: Tone down job titles / achievements / keywords. If your CV is full of law related matters, tonethis down so that details irrelevant to the job being applied for do not crowd out other morerelevant matters. Use a CV format that takes the focus away from qualifications (maybe including them lowerdown in the CV) and highlight relevant skills and experience instead. Demonstrate in any way possible that your skills are related to the company’s growth plansand which you’re looking to develop in the job applied for. Accentuate your team working skills. Doing so will demonstrate the success of the team(and the company) is of more importance than your own concerns. Demonstrate enthusiasm for the job applied for. Look at presenting previous responsibilitiesand achievements in a way that is relevant to this role.Drafting a Functional CVIn this format the main information is presented in terms of job functions rather than inchronological order. It is not as popular with recruiters as it can suggest there may be hiddengaps in employment. It is very useful however if you want to place emphasis on skills /strengths that you have that are relevant to a specific job / sector.Reasons for using a functional CV include: If you are aiming to sell your skills to target specific competencies. If you do not have a consistent employment history. You are / have recently changed careers. You have experience but it is not related to the position you are interested in.The functional format enables the writer to combine experience gained in several jobs underone heading, (e.g. ‘sales experience’ ‘training provision’ etc.). This is useful where someone hasheld several different posts within a short period of time. The functional format is also useful forsomeone who has recently held jobs that are less relevant to what they are now seeking.The functional format is useful for someone to use who has gained experience in severaldifferent jobs or sectors, and who is seeking an employer who has an open / flexible approach.The main problem with this format is that it is not always well received because it looks differentto the conventional, chronological CV. Sometimes the finished product can look lightweight andplotting the career path of the applicant can be difficult.Information for Trainees on CVs Law Society of Ireland

BARNEY EVERYONEFUNCTIONALFORMAT48 Any Road, Galway, Co. GalwayTelephone 087 2345687Email: [email protected] recently completed Psychology studies I am seeking a challenging role in working withdisadvantaged young people. Considerable experience with youth work,I am also a solicitor with knowledge of family law and the judicial system.KEY SKILLS Managing and administering youth and community projects and resources.Assessing the needs of young people, and planning and delivering programmes related to,e.g. health, fitness, smoking, drugs, relationships and bullying.Running arts-based activities, community/environmental projects, residential activities,outdoor education and sporting activities.Befriending and supporting individuals in various settings.Mentoring and counselling individuals to encourage social inclusion.Recruiting and training volunteers.Undertaking administrative tasks, verifying information and responding to queries.Meeting, liaising and networking with police, educational establishments, social services, toaddress issues and promote opportunities for young people.Working with parents and community groups to win support for improved provision andacting as an advocate for young people’s interests.Identifying and pursuing sources of funding for projects to improve services and/or resourcesfor young people.Drawing up business plans, writing reports and making formal presentations to fundingbodies.SKILLS RELATED TO TRAINING AS SOLICITOR Advised clients on family law and on wide ranging criminal law matter.Gained experience across a broad range of sectors and types of work.Drafted documentation for lodgements in High Court proceedings.Organised and prepared documents for both large and small scale discovery.Consulted with medical experts in respect of finalising their reports.Liaised with counsel at motions; supported clients at counsel meetings.Attended at initial consultations with clients and prepared briefs for counsel for matters to beheard at District, Circuit and High Courts.EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS200619991995BSc (Hons) Psychology 1st Class HonoursQualified as a SolicitorBCL Law Degree 2.1 HonoursInformation for Trainees on CVsOpen UniversityLaw Society of IrelandUniversity College Dublin Law Society of Ireland

Solicitor who trained in large law firm with a wide range of experience in banking and financial services, debt collection, commercial property and company law. EDUCATION April 2011 PPC II Completed - Qualified as a solicitor with Law Society of Ireland 2003-2007 Trinity College Dublin - BCL - 2.1 Honours