Interests that’ll boost your legal CV
29th October 2019
With plenty of competition for each professional job, whether it’s a lawyer or in house legal job in London, it’s important that you do everything you can to boost your CV. Many applicants applying for jobs in the legal sector will have similar qualifications and legal work experience, which can make it difficult to stand out amongst the rest. Paying attention to the ‘interests and personal achievements’ section of your legal CV or interview can help give you an edge over the other candidates. In this guide, we reveal the top interests to mention in your job application.
What to avoid
If you don’t have any interests to add, it’s better to leave the section out altogether than lie or include something generic as the points you make on your application will often become talking points in interviews, and you don’t want to be caught out.
Instead, try to adapt your genuine interests to showcase your transferrable skills. Avoid simply listing generic interests such as reading, gardening, swimming, etc. For example, instead of just writing ‘swimming’, write ‘I am part of the local swimming club and have competed in regional competitions.’ You may also want to avoid using the word ‘hobbies’, as this can appear childish. Try to use ‘interests’, ‘activities’ or ‘positions of responsibility’ instead.
Figure out what you’re missing
When looking through your past work experience and qualifications, try to figure out what skills you are missing. It will be helpful to look at a list of the best skills needed for a legal career so you can tick off the ones you have already gained from your work experience and see what’s remaining. For any gaps in your skillset, think about how you have demonstrated this certain skill during your hobby.
Mentioning an interest in sport is one of the best ways to demonstrate your transferrable skills. Team-based sports such as football, basketball and netball can prove you can work well with others and that you’re used to being in a high-pressure and energetic environment.
Solo sports are also worth mentioning, including yoga, swimming or long-distance running, as any interest in sport proves you’re a committed person who enjoys challenges. The Lawyer Portal, a resource for those looking to pursue a career in law, explains: “Non-team sports can be useful to discuss at an interview. Your love for yoga can be used as a topic of conversation in your interview to show that you can dedicate time outside of your studies to pursue a hobby that you enjoy.”
Although you should aim to keep your interests’ section concise, be sure to provide further information than just the name of a sport. Include the name of your team or the club you attend, or if you have taken on more responsibilities such as being the team leader, the treasurer or helping to promote the team. Be careful to not mention any sports you are no longer doing, as you shouldn’t highlight any times where you have quit.
Working on Pro-Bono programmes is an excellent addition to a legal CV. This can help develop your skills and expertise as a lawyer whilst also showing your potential employers your dedication, passion and ability to handle responsibilities.
Volunteering experience you have that may not be as directly relevant to a legal application as Pro-Bono projects are still worth mentioning. You may have volunteered a local youth centre, helped out a local school on a career’s day or offered your time to help with a local community project, The Lawyer Portal continues to explain why any volunteer work can look great on a legal CV: “A lot of employers are keen to show that their company gives back to the local community through fundraising and volunteer work. Demonstrating that you have completed your own volunteer work may help you to find a connection with the employer.”
Visiting law seminars
A brilliant way to show potential employers that you have a genuine interest in the field of work is to mention that you have attended recent law fairs, workshops or seminars. Make sure to mention the skills or knowledge you have gained from attending these legal events and why you found them inspiring and helpful for your career.
Writing a blog
Writing a legal blog is a great way to display your industry knowledge and commercial awareness. If you keep up-to-date with the latest news and happenings in the legal sector, you could use your blog to write your responses and opinions on each matter. This will give employers clear evidence that you’re keen to further develop your skills, and that you use your spare time productively. If you decide to launch a lifestyle blog, this is still worth adding to your CV, as it can show your written communication skills and personality.
Furthermore, you could mention that you enjoy reading other people’s legal blogs or websites. If you are invited for an interview, they may ask how you keep up with everything happening in the industry, so it’s wise to be prepared and have some names of online resources in mind, or blogs written by leading industry experts.
Member a club or society
Employers aren’t just looking for someone with the perfect qualifications, as they also want to figure out if you’re the type of person they want on their team. Mentioning that you’re a part of any club or society is a great way to show you socialise well with others, as well as being proactive with your time. So, whether you join in with the local drama production or are part of an art group, it can be worth adding to your CV, especially if you have a position of responsibility. A unique addition to your CV can also provide a great talking point during the interviews.
Once you’re happy with your CV, make sure to check out the legal job opportunities in London.