Quick tips to get your resume read by decision makers

The average time spent reading a resume by an HR manager or recruiter is 6.25 seconds, so you have to make sure your resume is easy to read and stands out (and not in an “bright pink font, fancy border and cheesy headshot” kind of way).

First impressions are crucial and your resume is your first point of contact with whoever is hiring, so make sure its not also your last point of contact by following these outlines.


  • Use formal language
  • Use the first person
  • Check your spelling (get a friend to double-check)
  • Make sure the skills, etc. that you have written are described well BUT succinctly – more words = more likely it is to be skimmed over.
  • Explain gaps in your employment e.g. parental leave, travel to Europe, LLM
  • Be truthful and accurate – don’t embellish or eliminate roles.

What to avoid when filling out your resume, DON’T:

  • Include photos – even if they are professional headshots, it is not appropriate.
  • include potentially discriminatory material e.g. DOB, marital status, children, religion.

If you write your CV so that it is easy to read and highlights your relevant experience for the role you are applying for, then you will have a much better chance of getting the desired outcome – an interview.

A great simple CV format to follow is as follows:


  • Contact details – (mobile number and professional email – not “crazyrob87”)

Education/ qualifications

  • Graduation year and University
  • Admission dates and jurisdictions

Employment history

  • Firm, title, period of employment (month and year)
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Achievements

(repeat for each role)


  • (list)


  • (as relevant to your professional experience)

Hobbies and interests



Jason Elias runs Elias Recruitment, a boutique legal recruitment consultancy specialising in finding lawyers for law firms, NFPs and corporate in house teams. Jason is also co-founder of Bulletpoints.com.au – a one-stop shop that simplifies CPD for lawyers. Get in touch at [email protected]


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