Career Center

Career Center

At Norton Caine we are committed to helping you enhance your career.

At our Career Center section you will find useful tips and information on how to create a CV, prepare for an interview and some legal links to websites that we think you might find useful.

Guidelines how to write a proper CV

Cover letter

Interview tips

Tough questions

Job search advice

Templates

Useful links  

Blog    

 

 

 

 

Guidelines how to write a proper CV:

First, your CV is the marketing tool which will help you sell yourself. It is your document. In most cases it will create a potential employer's first impression of you.
So your CV should look professional and should reflect your career accurately and positively.

CVs, by their nature, are individual documents and should be tailored to your personality and experience as well as the positions you are going after.
You must be confident about the content of your CV as you will be asked questions about it at interview.


DO

• Keep your CV to 1-2 pages ideally, 2-3 pages, maximum;

• Be consistent in your presentation (headings, typeface, etc);

• Keep paragraphs short and subject specific;

• Use bullet points and indents to highlight key points;

• Start out with your name, address and preferred contact details;

• List higher education and degree qualifications first, including name of institution and grade achieved. Include details of professional training and place of study. Employers are also interested in any training and development gained within the workplace. List only relevant courses.

• List your most recent jobs first, including accurate details of the firm's name and your job title. You may also provide a quick description of the organization if it is not well known.

• Include examples of your current caseload, your involvement and achievements and give less detailed examples of your caseload at previous employers. If you have had a number of positions, consider simply listing them and including a section summarizing your experience as a whole.

• Put dates of your employments correctly specifying years and months;

• Proofread, proofread, proofread, don't forget to run a spelling and grammar check – and then get someone else to proofread!


DON'T

• Lie;
• Be too modest;
• Be too verbose nor include irrelevant information;
• Be negative about yourself or any current or previous employer;
• Include salary details;
• Include reasons for leaving - but be prepared to deal with these points at interview;
• Leave any gaps in the chronology of your education and/or career history.

The second thing to remember is that your resume is being sent for a specific purpose. You are trying to obtain a job. Not just any job. But a job you think is just perfect for you.

Your resume should be targeted towards this specific position. The more targeted it is, the more likely it will hit the mental list of satisfiers the hiring manager has in their head. The more general a resume is, the less likely it is to be effective getting you that particular job. You should strive to make a powerful argument within the confines of your resume for why you should get the job. Word processors do job seekers a huge favor in that they allow you to quickly customize your resume for each position you apply for. Laziness often works against us when it comes to making the extra effort of targeting a resume but consider this, ten targeted resumes are probably equal to one hundred general applications. The fact is, a targeted resume will get you a job faster and thus over time, you'll have to send less applications off.

If you are applying to several different industries or to several different types of positions in those industries, you should have a different resume for each of your main areas of focus.

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Interview tips:

We believe that proper preparation for the interview is 80% of success. Here are brief recommendations on how to prepare for an interview.

• Start your preparation for the interview with the research on the firm/ company. Find out as much information as possible. Check out its website. This will often provide good information. Look for current news and recent press releases. Use your network to get the “inside” view.

• Plan carefully. Make sure you know where the interview will take place and how to get there. Arrive a little early. If you're going to be late, call the firm or the recruiter and let them know.

• Make sure you know who the interview will be with- the name of the person (the correct pronunciation of the name) and the position. Try to find out about him or her as much as you can.

• Collect as much information as possible about the position open. What are the main duties and responsibilities? Why is this position open?

• Ensure that you know your CV inside out. Be ready to back it up at the interview. Make sure you can explain decisions on study and career moves.

• Take some additional copies of your CV with you.

• Think about the possible questions you would like to ask about the firm/company and the position.

• Take time to consider questions you might be asked (What attracts you to our firm?...) and prepare the answers.
    

 

DO  

• Be friendly to absolutely everybody

• Make eye contact frequently

• Be professional, act like somebody you would want to employ

• Be enthusiastic. The best way is to learn about the company or industry and develop an appreciation for it. If you can't, question why you are applying

• Actively contribute to the interview. Forget the question, then response. Make the interview a lively conversation if possible

• Remember, you're interviewing the interviewer to see if you really want to work for the company

• Finally, send a thank you letter, especially if the interview went well. It will remind the interviewer of what a positive interview you were 


DON'T  

• Be abrasive or demanding

• Chew gum (there's nothing less professional and polite)

• Make sensitive comments (you don't know who you're talking to)

• Digress endlessly. Stay to the point on every answer with minor elaborations

• Wear overpowering perfumes or aftershave

• Wear anything too gaudy. Be conservative

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Cover letter

A Cover Letter serves to place your resume in context.  A resume without a cover letter is an appeal without direction.

Why should a person read your resume?

What are your goals?

What are your expectations?

How should they best contact you?

All these questions can be answered in a cover letter.

• Identify where you saw the job posting (this helps the employer know what resources are working for them) and explain why you are applying for the position in a way that engages the reader's interest. You may allude to your career goals/objective(s) in this first paragraph.

• Describe your recent skills, education and work experience. Start relating these to the position in question as far as possible. For example, concentrate on highlighting aspects of your past work which would help you fulfil the duties of this position.

• Continue tailoring yourself to the job description in the hiring manager's mind. Use the duties and requirements listed in the job posting to elaborate on what you would bring the company.

• Request an interview and offer contact information.

Please note that this more informal approach to cover letters does not give you an excuse to leave misspellings in your cover letter. If an employer does read your cover letter, the negative impact of a misspelling or bad grammar will still be the same.

Use a colon after the greeting, not a comma. The greeting should address a specific person in a formal manner. "Dear Ms. Harper:" is perfect; "Dear Jennifer:" is not.

Use a personalized salutation (not, for example, "To Whom It May Concern"). Make an effort to find out who will be receiving your letter. If necessary, telephone the company and ask. If you do not find a specific name, address the letter to "Hiring Manager," "Human Resources Manager," or simply "Manager."

The closing should read "Sincerely," followed by your signature.

 

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Tough questions:

You can't prepare for every question that will come up at the interview, but you can anticipate most of them. Here are some of the deadliest questions, and possible ways of handling them:

"Tell us about yourself".
Prepare for the worst - a classic opener that can really throw you. Plan ahead by preparation of a brief career overview in response. Think over plenty of examples to illustrate your skills and how you could contribute to the company.

"Why do you want to be a lawyer?"
Don't be thrown by questions like this. Simply have a credible answer prepared.

"What attracts you to our firm?"
Ensure that you have done your research (or spoken to us) about the particular firm you are going to see and its personalities.
Use the fruits of your research in your answer.

"Why do you want this job?"
Have a clear answer to this (even if, privately, you're not sure - you only have to decide when the job offer is in your hand).

"Why did you leave…….?"
Employers will probe for reasons for job change. If you are currently out of work, they will probe this, too. Rehearse short, simple, positive "stories" to cover these points.

"How will you..."
questions are beginning to create a future which includes you - so welcome them. Describe what you would do within the organization as if you are there already. Create the right picture, and the employer won't be able to imagine a future without you…

"What do you need to earn?"
Wrong question. Focus on the value you can add to the employer. Find out what the company is willing to pay, or work out what similar employers pay for good people.

"What are your weaknesses?"
Remember that the recruiter gives far more weight to negative information. Talk about weaknesses that are also strengths, e.g. being a perfectionist, pushing hard to get things done… 
 

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Job Search Advice

It is important to remember that recruitment firms are paid by their clients to source, recruit, and place candidates who fit their needs. Recruiters can, and will, assist the recruiting process. When working with recruiters, ask for their advice. They can help you better understand the recruiting process and advise you how to be most effective during the interview process.

• Search professionals will generally provide you with very effective advice and suggestions during the recruiting process. Listen carefully and consider all tips and techniques shared with you by the recruiter.

• A good recruiter should make himself/herself available to you when requested. In return, when the recruiter has presented you to a client, it's important that he/she can reach you in a timely manner, and that you return calls promptly.

• Always be open and honest when dealing with search professionals whom you have entrusted. Advise the recruiter immediately of any change in your employment status, i.e., other job offers and opportunities being considered.

• When asked by the recruiter, you should provide complete and accurate information regarding your compensation, including details of all components of your compensation.

• If you decide to work with more than one recruiter, it is important that both recruiters be aware of any presentations being made on your behalf. You must avoid being presented to the same company by more than one recruiter. Double presentation is a scenario where a candidate is presented to the same potential employer by more than one recruiter. When this happens, there is a good chance that the candidate will not be viewed favorably: the firm or corporation might perceive the candidate to be desperate for a job (because of a termination of employment or poor job performance), or a firm might pass on a candidate solely to extricate itself from a potential fee dispute. Some less reputable recruitment firms have been known to send out resumes unauthorized, so even the candidate who is incredibly diligent in keeping records of where their resume has been sent can run, unwittingly, into the double presentation problem.

Note: If you are a very senior lawyer, you may benefit from using more than one recruitment firm if you are only targeting in-house positions. This is because some searches at this level are given to search firms on an exclusive basis.

• A recruiter does not always acknowledge receipt of an unsolicited resume and corresponding information unless the recruiter, or their firm, is involved in an assignment where your skill set and experience are appropriate for the assignment.

• Follow up with the recruiter immediately after all interviews, discussing your interest level and opportunities. Delays in the response time back to the client can convey the wrong message.

Developing and maintaining relationships with recruiting professionals at reputable search firms is an effective component of managing your long-term career development.
Again, whether you ultimately choose to use Norton Caine or another recruitment firm, the most important thing is to make sure you pick a recruiter who is reputable. If for some reason a reputable recruitment firm is unable to help you secure interviews within a two or three weeks period of working with them, by all means then choose another search firm, but make sure you have a list of every place you have been sent.

Job Search Advice from a Top Recruiter:
An Interview with Dmitry Prokofiev

Dmitry Prokofiev. The Well magazine. December 2005.
To download the PDF version in English, please click here.

To download the PDF version in Russian, please click here.

For more information about our Publications & Surveys click here.

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Templates

We have produced templates which contain sample headings and some guidelines regarding content.

Please click here for an in-house CV example.

Please click here for a private practice CV example.

At Norton Caine we will never provide your details or send your CV to clients without your express permission.

Please click here for a private practice Cover letter example.

Please click here for a Leaving note example  

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Useful links:

We consider the following resources to be the most respected and interesting:


Chambers & Partners
http://www.chambersandpartners.com/

Legal 500
http://www.legal500.com/

Above the law. A legal tabloid.

http://careers.abovethelaw.com/

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Blog

Dmitry Prokofiev was invited to lead a blog by the leading Russian web portal for lawyers LawFirm. In the blog you will find interesting information on employment and guideline on the successful career development for graduates and young professionals in the challenging crisis circumstances.

Please click here to visit the blog.  

 


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