At Yegal, Australia’s first on-demand paralegal service, we connect law firms and corporate legal teams with law student paralegals for projects of all sizes. We recruit for paralegal jobs around the country Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and Adelaide. Many of our paralegals are working remotely in the wake of COVID-19.


We have helped more than 400 Australian law students find paid work opportunities and graduate roles since we started 2017. During that time, the team and I have seen our fair share of CVs. More importantly, we know what a successful resume often ends up looking like.

So if you were wondering how you should prepare your legal resume, here are some of Yegal’s top tips to help you craft the best CV out there!



Tip #1: File Format

document file type in pile

Any document you submit as part of a paralegal application should be in PDF format
Files that are .doc, .docx or any other format should be avoided because:

  1. Your Microsoft word CV can be edited or the information may be compromised by 3rd parties;
  2. It is not safe to assume that the recipient, most often the hiring manager, will view the document as intended if your document is not in PDF format. This means the formatting may not be preserved and could look completely out of order;
  3. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) with the help of AI and automated machine learning algorithms scan and auto-fill data using CV parsing. ATS often only accept PDF formats.



Tip #2: Name Your Document

document out of pile

Any PDF document you submit should include your full name in the document title (and potentially your mobile phone number as well).
Put yourself in the shoes of the person doing the hiring. They receive hundreds of job applications for the position that you are applying for.


If every document submitted is only called “CV” or “Resume” then this makes it very hard for the hirer to find your documents.


Including your name and mobile number in the document title will make it significantly easier for someone to pick out your application and make contact. This is your end goal so keep this handy tip in mind!



Tip #3: The Do’s and Don’ts of Career Objectives

people discussing resumes

A listed Career Objective is an opportunity to give immediate context to your resume. The Career Objective should quickly communicate what you are looking to achieve in the immediate term.



  • Include one or two short sentences at the top of your resume under the heading: “Career Objective”
  • Tailor the Career objective to the position you are applying – for example: if you are applying
    for a paralegal job with a Sydney boutique firm that primarily involves administrative duties, build your objectives with this in mind. Thereafter, any information included in your CV should relate to this Career Objective
  • Substantiate any claim you make with reference to prior experience (legal experience ideally)
  • If done correctly, your Career Objective will successfully “paint a visual” of you carrying out the tasks required by this employer and will prompt them to hire you!



  • Focus too much on long term goals
  • Forget to reference what you have been doing most recently to achieve your short to medium-term goals
  • Say you want to be a Barrister if you have only been doing administrative work with no advocacy-related training or experience listed anywhere else on your resume
  • Make the Career Objective too long or superfluous



Tip #4: Only Include Cover Letters if Done Right

person next to letter

Whilst not always required, if you wish to attach a cover letter make sure you avoid these common pitfalls:

Tailor your Cover Letter to each employer and role you are applying to:

  • If you are including a cover letter do not send a generic cover letter that simply ‘subs in’ the name of the employer to whom you are applying. Employers see this a mile away and they don’t like it.
  • Conversely, a cover letter should be tailored to the position for which you are applying. It should reference parts of the advertisement which show that you have read the job description and it should indicate why you are able to perform the job
  • Try to flesh out what you think is needed to be successful for the role and why YOU are able to meet the job requirements

A Cover letter is not a forum for you to simply self promote and tell employers what traits you have:

  • It’s important to link your competencies to the role description and be original e.g. when we see “I have excellent organisational skills” but then nothing else, the employer will think ‘tell us why you have excellent organisational skills.’


Balance quality with quantity:

  • Send multiple applications but also make sure your CV and Cover letter is adequately tailored for each job.
  • Even if you have selected one or two preferred firms you should acknowledge that paralegal /clerkship/law graduate positions are highly competitive so you are doing yourself no favours by limiting application numbers.
  • Furthermore, we discourage spending too much time applying for only a small number of positions. Striving for perfectionism can be fatal as it is a numbers game after all.


Tip #5: Summarise Past Experience Effectively

magnify into cv detail on computer

Anything you list in the Experience section of your CV should answer this critical question:

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR TIME OUTSIDE OF STUDIES (whether it is legal or non-legal related)?


Some things to keep in mind:

  • Do not leave large time gaps in your Resume. Employers don’t want to play a guessing game to find out what you’ve been up to for the last 6 months- so make it clear!
  • Include the most recent and relevant experience first in reverse chronological order, with the most recent role listed first. Do not just list the name of the employer and the dates worked.
  • Instead, aim to identify 1-3 key outcomes you are most proud of. This may be any goals you met or any new skills or processes you were able to develop proficiency in.
  • Keep the role you are applying for in mind to ensure the outcomes or skills you list would show why you’d be a good fit.


Some candidates get disheartened when they don’t have any practical legal experience on their CV. We have a solution to this commonly seen problem. We recommend you invest in paralegal courses focused on hands-on legal skills for law students. Our recently launched Yegal Academy gives you the opportunity to get certified in niche skills areas that other law firms consistently demand. You can then list this on your CV under ‘Education’.


You may also consider spending your time pursuing volunteer experience but at Yegal we caution against this approach. If you have started your professional career in a volunteer capacity; our view is that you have set a very low value on your time. It is also harder for employers to verify the quality of your experience when you have not been paid for your time.


In a competitive market, our view is that law students are much better off completing further practical legal training to supplement the legal theories taught at University.


You can find out more about Yegal Academy by signing up for FREE today.

About this article

This article is drafted by a member of our Yegal Paralegal network. We do not modify the content. We invite comments from the legal profession in the form of feedback to assist the author's learning.