Careers Update – CV Discussions
in Careers Advice, Changing Jobs, CV Writing, Relocation

Careers Update – CV Discussions

Monthly CV Discussion – Video CVs, Lawyers Offshore, Work Visas, Legal Assistant Transitions

As the career section of our business is currently quite busy, we have quite a few queries from solicitors coming through to us.

Video CVs

At present, there are a number of companies advertising the benefits of video CVs. We don’t think that these are a good idea at all. By way of example, this morning we had two very different vacancies to advertise. The first of these was for Ten Percent Financial and is a vacancy for a hybrid working ad hoc accountant on £20 per hour. The second is a commercial property vacancy, hybrid working and £90k salary.

In the first instance (the remote working accountancy role), I can see from our jobs inbox that we have had 5 applications overnight in the first 12 hours of advertising. We will get at least another 50 applications for this role – they tend to be in demand. As a recruiter, if I had to watch 50 CV videos to decide who to shortlist, I would have to increase our fees to clients to cover my time. As it stands, I can usually filter the 50 applications down to 10 in less than 5 minutes, simply by skim reading the CVs and removing the unsuitable candidates (in this case it will be location and experience).

In relation to the commercial property role, we will be lucky to get one application, and this will almost certainly be someone already known to us or a connection from an existing source. At this level of senior position, we don’t need very much at all from applicants. Firms will interview if the candidate looks to fit the bill. They don’t need to see a video of them to know this!

In summary, we are not sure videos add a lot to applications.

Lawyers Offshore

Quite a lot of offshore lawyers get in touch with us regularly to ask why they are struggling to find work when they look to get back onshore.

Few reasons:
Firstly, firms and companies onshore suspect, often rightly I think!, that the only reason you are planning to return to the miserable, cold, wet UK from a lovely sunny upland somewhere in the world is because you are at threat of redundancy, and given half the chance you will be returning to warmer climates as quickly as possible.

Secondly, often CVs from these candidates are not sufficiently tailored to the role being applied for, and applicants get rejected before interview stage as a result.

Thirdly, offshore candidates tend not to have a UK address or contact details, and this makes HR departments and recruiters nervous that even if a job is offered, the applicant will not go through with it as they have not demonstrated enough commitment to the process.

Work visas

Looking for a legal job at a fairly junior level, but in need of a visa in order to get one? You are in the nightmare scenario of being rejected again and again. Why? Because you are up against an army of other applicants, none of whom need a visa and hence no headache for the recruiter or HR department. Don’t be surprised if you have to work considerably harder to start a legal career in the UK in this situation. It is perfectly normal and quite possibly nothing personal.

Legal assistant transitions

I am a legal assistant, but I want to be so much more. Very common query and two in this month alone! Simple answer is that if you want to be more than this, what are you doing about it? Are you asking at work for increased responsibility, are you taking opportunities to get additional experience, are you tailoring your CV to reflect your current status but also highlighting skills that will add to your chances of success? I doubt it, as 90% of applicants simply assume that working in any capacity in the legal profession will result in career progression when it is needed. Getting ahead requires quite a bit of work and investment of time. You are on the right path, as you have a foot in the door, but you need to open a few more to progress.

Got a careers question? Get in touch and we would be happy to answer it in this column.

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at