How to Write a Paralegal CV01 Sep, 20231-2 minutes
In this blog, you will learn
- How to write a professional Paralegal CV
- Top tips for writing a powerful professional Paralegal CV
- How to include a personal statement in your professional Paralegal CV
- Where to find the best Paralegal jobs
If you’re on the lookout for your next Paralegal job, your CV provides an initial opportunity to create a favourable impression on potential employers and law firms.
Despite new recruitment methods which have arisen over the last few years, CV’s still serve as the main point of reference for hiring managers in search of new legal talent. It's a way to present yourself professionally and make a strong case for why you're a suitable candidate for a particular role or opportunity.
Therefore, it is crucial to ensure your CV is distinguishing you from other candidates in the competitive field of the legal industry.
How to write a Paralegal CV
A well-organised and professionally presented Paralegal CV is essential to progress through the recruitment process. Recruiters typically allocate only six to seven seconds to review a CV before forming an opinion about a candidate and deciding whether to continue reading or not.
Given this limited time frame, it's imperative to create a strong and positive impression that effectively showcases your qualifications and skills.
With that being said, crafting a CV involves several key steps to showcase your skills, experience, and qualifications to any hiring manager. Key information which you need to include to create an effective Paralegal CV include:
- Contact information
- Professional summary
- Work experience
- Education and qualifications
- Formatting and design
Including contact information on a Paralegal CV is crucial because it provides essential details for the hiring manager to reach out to you and facilitates effective communication throughout the recruitment process. You’d be amazed at how many candidates fail to include basic information such as contact details on their CV!
When including contact information, ensure that it's up to date, accurate and professional. Double-check the formatting to make sure there are no typos and ensure that it is a professional representation of yourself - applying for a job using email@example.com will not impress any hiring manager!
By providing clear and accurate contact details, you increase your chances of receiving interview invitations and progressing in your job search as a Paralegal.
Incorporating a professional summary in your Paralegal CV is crucial as it offers a concise overview of your qualifications, skills, and experience.
A professional summary is an easy way to communicate your story and your passion for the legal industry in a couple of very punchy sentences.
Making sure it’s kept at around 100 words, your professional summary should encapsulate your expertise, accomplishments, and aspirations, offering a snapshot that attracts any hiring manager to explore your CV further.
Your career history should be listed in reverse chronological order, with your most recent Paralegal jobs first, going back to your earliest job. Look for experiences or details that are similar to the job you are currently applying for. If you just list the employer and your role, the person reading your CV might not spot the parallels, so be sure to highlight them.
The job description or advert should give you the list of required skills and experience and likely some ‘nice to have’ skills, too. Under each of your past roles, use bullet points to highlight the skills of special relevance to the recruiter.
Be specific! If the job description states you must have customer support experience, then give the detail that shows you have that experience and more. You can give the detail in your list of previous jobs, or in an opening statement about who you are.
Use positive language by telling people what you CAN do for them rather than what you CAN’T. Use words that show you are a positive person and illustrate how you will contribute positively to your new team and organisation. Words like ‘managed’, ‘optimised’, ‘developed’ and ‘reduced’ are all ‘power’ or ‘strong verbs’. By using them you are showing you are proactive, effective and positive!
It’s also important to not only state what you did in previous positions but what impact that had on the law firm. Using stats and figures will help hiring managers quantify your potential worth to their law firm.
You don’t need to include your reason for leaving previous positions as a hiring manager can ask you this information if they deem it relevant during the interview stage.
Education & Qualifications
The education section of a Paralegal CV enables hiring managers to assess whether or not you have the right qualifications and credentials for the job. Listing your educational achievements provides credibility and demonstrates your commitment to the legal field.
Certain employers might request or prefer a certain level of education so it's worth checking the job description to see if it is ‘preferred’ or ‘non-negotiable.’
Education not only imparts legal knowledge but also teaches skills like critical thinking, research, analysis, and communication. These skills are transferable and can benefit you in various aspects of your Paralegal role.
Incorporating qualifications on your Paralegal CV is crucial as it provides tangible evidence of your legal education, specialised training, and certifications, validating your competence and enhancing your credibility as an employee.
This comprehensive presentation not only underscores your legal expertise but also positions you as a qualified and capable candidate for Paralegal roles.
When adding education and qualifications to your Paralegal CV, make sure it is detailed and in reverse chronological order. For example:
- Degree obtained (e.g. Associate's, Bachelor's)
- Name of the institution and its location
- Graduation date (or expected date if you have not achieved the qualification yet)
- Any relevant coursework or honours
Every good CV has a section where a job applicant lists their basic skills. Use bullet points to write down the legal skills which will help you succeed at being an amazing Paralegal!
Some skills of a Paralegal aspirant may include good communication and writing skills, teamwork, problem-solving, social skills, negotiation skills, critical thinking, multitasking, researching and attention to detail skills.
Including skills on your Paralegal CV creates a powerful first impression on hiring managers, drawing their attention to your capabilities and encouraging them to delve deeper into your CV to uncover your experiences and qualifications.
As you tailor your skills presentation to the specific job requirements, remember to provide real-life examples that substantiate your proficiency and demonstrate the practical application of your skills in a legal context.
Formatting and design
Clear formatting and an enticing design on a Paralegal CV is crucial as it enhances readability, professionalism, and visual appeal. We recommend you use this format:
- Place your name prominently at the top of the CV in a larger font size.
- Include your contact information: phone number, email address and your location.
- Write a brief paragraph (around 100 words) summarising your experience, skills, and what you will bring to the role. Tailor this section to match the specific job you're applying for.
- List your educational background in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
- Include the name of the institution, degree earned, major, graduation date, and any honours or relevant coursework.
- If you have any certifications or additional training relevant to the legal field (e.g. Paralegal certification), list them in a separate section.
- List your work experience in reverse chronological order.
- Include the name of the employer, job title, dates of employment (month and year), and a brief description of your responsibilities and achievements.
- Use bullet points to highlight specific tasks, skills, and accomplishments for each position.
- Create a skills section that includes both technical and soft skills relevant to the Paralegal role.
- Technical skills might include legal research software, document management systems, case management software, etc.
- Soft skills might include attention to detail, research skills, communication abilities, teamwork, etc.
- If you've received any awards, recognition, or achieved notable accomplishments during your career or education, consider including a section to showcase these achievements.
- It's generally not necessary to include references on your CV. You can mention that references are available upon request.
These design tips are considered as ‘best practice’ when writing a CV.
- Choose a clean and professional font, such as Arial.
- Use bullet points to make information easy to read.
- Keep the layout simple and organised, with consistent formatting throughout.
- Use bold or italics sparingly for headings or to emphasise important points.
- Ensure there's enough white space for a clean and uncluttered look.
- Save the document in a widely accepted format, such as PDF, to preserve formatting across different devices and software. Name the PDF as ‘your name’ followed by ‘CV.’
Who is Spencer Clarke Group?
Located in the vibrant heart of the North West, our expanding recruitment agency is dedicated to assisting both the public and private sectors. Our team is enthusiastic and ambitious, and always seeking new ways to connect individuals like yourself with their dream legal job!