in Careers Advice, CV Writing

CV Review – Law Student looking to secure a training contract or vacation placement 1

Here follows a CV review. We offer free CV reviews provided you are happy for us to publish our feedback on the website and your CV in full.

Candidate 09021949


I am a self-motivated, hardworking student at University of Portsmouth. I am currently studying for a degree in law and expect to gain my LLB qualification in the year 2015. I am     very passionate and dedicated to all work I do. Effective communication is one of my major strengths as well as good time management. I am self driven and would consider myself to be a good team player so as to share and develop new ideas, but can also take the lead and work on my own initiative.

This really is a load of waffle. Whatever you do, try not to include statements at the top of CVs that detract away from the interesting stuff. You are looking for a vacation placement or training contract – where does it tell me this? All of the information above is subjective and not objective. Do I care if you think you are passionate and dedicated – where is the evidence for this? Do I care if you think you are a good team player? I am more interested in the atrocious grammar and if this came into my inbox I would instantly press delete. Probably best to remove the statement and go straight to the Education and Qualifications section. 

Qualifications & Education

May 2012- 2015 graduation   University of Portsmouth – LLB Law, currently in my 2nd


2011- 2012     International College of Portsmouth – A Level Constitutional Law, English

Legal System, Contract Law, ICT, Criminal Law, Business Studies. Currently on a


2004- 2008     Zimba High School, Zambia – GCSEs

English, Maths, Geography, Biology, Religious Education,

Chemistry, Physics, History

Arrghh! What on earth does the above mean? How is an employer supposed to consider your education history to date? Set it out clearly and precisely. Being that you have very little legal experience your academic section is going to need to be detailed.

I want to see:

  • A level grades
  • GCSE grades (usually written as 8 at grades A*-A including Maths and English)
  • Degree grades to date – expressed as percentages.
  • Anticipated degree classification – this should be 2.1 or 1st and make sure you get one of these or your career choices will be rapidly diminished.

Work experience

July 2014- May 2014     Citizens Advice Bureau- Generalist Adviser

I am currently undertaking a placement year with CAB, which is a voluntary organisation. My role as a generalist adviser involves, interacting with clients in a professional manner at all times. Confidentiality, diversity and integrity are prioritized at all times when serving my clients.

This is good – well done for getting experience – not sure why you have put the dates down back to front though. Also I dont really care about your interaction with clients but I do care about what types of law you have experienced, exactly what you have done – eg taking instructions, giving advice, completing forms, liasing with 3rd parties, etc.. etc.. What fields of law have you covered? What training did you get? Why have you put the wrong dates down if you are with them for a year? This is madness. Why put so little effort into something that could change your life and career prospects?

The rest of your work experience is irrelevant really – no employer is going to be very interested in care work or KFC team membership. The Zambian work is overseas so again likely to be disregarded to a certain extent.

August 2012 – on going part-time work     Senior Care Services, Portsmouth- Health Assistant

I work one day a week looking after elderly and disabled people. I provide personal care as well as have one on one chats with them and assist them with some physical exercise. All my work is timed, such as meals and resting time, which demonstrates my good routines, like time management skills. I have greatly learnt to manage my time more effectively and developed my teachings skills from senior members.

May 2012 – July 2012             Kentucky Fried Chicken, Havant – Team Member

My job was to deliver high standards of customer service to customers as well as deliver a satisfying service. I handled money at the till and learnt a great deal from being part of a team, which brought out my confidence in expressing ideas and working towards a common goal.

October 2010 – December 2011   Hilda Chambers, Lusaka – Office Clerk

I managed case loads and files and was fortunate to attend a few meetings; whereas my knowledge of Law grew and was exposed to a variety of cases. It was an amazing experience for me; I learnt organisational skills and look forward to have such an opportunity again

Hobbies and Interests

Reading: I love to read and broaden my knowledge on different issues. Novels and newspapers are the first items on my reading list.

Could you get more vague? This is really very uninteresting. Who are your favourite authors? Reading is not a very good entry for a CV.

Travelling: Travelling is a way that I have been able to see and appreciate different cultures. I have met and socialised with people of different backgrounds and cultures. This taught me to respect and understand different principles.

Again – why waffle on about travelling but not actually tell me where you have been?

Languages: Fluent in English, Nyanja and Tonga

Chess: I enjoy playing chess and have obtained 2nd place at a National level. It has greatly helped me to problem solve and put missing links together, to find solutions.

Chess is interesting – are you still playing?

You need to make yourself more interesting – at the moment this is really quite tedious. What sports do you do, what interests do you have? You are at university – seize the opportunity to do something different and make yourself stand out from the crowd…

IT: Proficient use of Microsoft word vs. 2000 (isnt this dating back over 10 years?), excel, power point, lexis nexus, west law – legal packages. Have you got any CMS experience from the CAB? What is your typing speed?


Available upon request.

Could do with two on the CV including a solicitor or barrister.

General Summary

This is a missed opportunity – you have legal experience, you have a year of degree grades, but you have managed to avoid giving the reader any of this information. Your CV demonstrates a complete lack of attention to detail and a lack of ability to summarise concisely. As a percentage I would grade it at about 40%. Awful.

Jonathan Fagan, Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. If you want your CV reviewing publicly please visit our website for details.


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