Preparing your CV for promotions and pay rises as a Solicitor

by Heat Recruitment

Despite the political uncertainty surrounding most of the business sector, the legal profession continues to grow at a steady pace. Research by the Solicitors Regulation Authority found that in 2017/2018, 4,594 lawyers in the United Kingdom were promoted to leading roles within their respective firms.

Becoming a partner is still seen as the pinnacle of a lawyer’s career, a worthy payoff for the countless sleepless nights spent studying, practicing, and resting from a lengthy shift as a paralegal. 2019 is predicted to be a lucrative year for the legal profession, with most private practice lawyers expecting to receive a 6 per cent pay rise at minimum.

While you may be adept at fighting a case in a court of law, arguing for a promotion or pay rise with your peers is a very different battle. If you are to take advantage of this unforeseen growth in your profession, it’s high time you prepared your legal CV for any upcoming interviews!

Skill Up

If you want to stand out against your equally competent colleagues and candidates, it might be time to hit the books. Having completed your training contract and qualifying as a solicitor, there are a myriad of ways in which you can enhance your skillset and in turn become a more desirable candidate for promotion.

You may for example choose to continue your study outside of your working hours and you will find a plethora of resources available. Whether it’s an e-learning course at home or perhaps you prefer a classroom-based format, there are no excuses for continuing to grow your technical skills.

A good place to start for ambitious solicitors to start would be enrolling in the Higher Rights of Audience (HRA) course. This respected qualification allows for solicitors to represent their clients as a solicitor-advocate in the senior civil or criminal courts within England and Wales.

Refine your soft skills

Refining your technical skills will undoubtedly aid in adding a shine to your CV but unless you can communicate these abilities effectively, your application won’t go very far. Soft skills can set great lawyers apart from their competition in the profession. Confidence in communication, discipline, integrity and humility can play a huge part in decision making for hiring managers.

Putting this part of your character down on paper is a great way to practice and showcase your excellent written communication capabilities. A great lawyer will exude confidence around their clients and peers but must shy away from coming across as arrogant. When composing your CV, candidates should avoid boasting and bloating your application in favour of concise story telling – highlighting your achievements throughout the process.

Don’t be one dimensional

In any application, interview or legal cover letter, it can be incredibly reassuring to simply stick to the script. You’ll undoubtedly spend a good chunk of time discussing your legal sector prowess, previous victories and your love for the specialism you have found in the legal profession. Though these are all positive aspects to put down on paper, this might be your only chance to impress would-be future employers. 

Injecting personality, personal interests, and achievements from outside the workplace will inject character into your application that can make you stand out against the pack.

By Patrick McMahon