Dear Auntie Em,
This post on The Student Room asking if legal CVs could be creative and artistic has got me thinking...
As an admirer of the artistic flair that you demonstrate for The Independent, but also of the hard-headed temperament that informs your Legal Cheek contributions, I feel you're well positioned to advise on this question.
I'd love to jazz up my CV a bit and I love art just as much as I love law. Plus, I think an artistic CV could help me stand out from the crowd in the hunt for a training contract. But some part of me feels that combining the two could be wrong. Help!
Disclaimer: Auntie Em (pictured) has never worked in a law firm, but she is an aunt and has a psychology degree.
Now I'd like you to follow these instructions. You will need: a ruler, your hands and a quiet place with no people around.
1) Take ruler in left hand.
2) Stretch out right hand in front of you.
3) Say the words "NO! BAD ZOE".
4) Lift ruler high into the air, and, without breaking pace, bring it down swiftly and firmly onto your right arm in time with the words. If you're doing it correctly, it will hurt.
Muscle memory is a vastly underused and very useful tool. This process will ensure that even if your mind wanders and you forget that you have entered that most dry of professions, the law, where "creative" means that sometimes you get to re-write a sub-clause in a commercial contract, your body will remember the truth.
If you find yourself beginning to think that law will be a great compromise between earning big City bucks and maintaining your artistic spirit – BAD ZOE.
If you start to delude yourself that once you make it through your training contract you'll have more "freedom of expression" – BAD ZOE.
If you think working in a practice area like music or media will allow you to "explore your creative side..." – BAD ZOE.
You get the idea. If you want to jazz up your CV, fine: buy some watercolours, paint a picture and stick it on your fridge. But don't give it to a potential employer. If they sense you are in two minds about whether you really want a job in the law, some swirly doodles on your CV certainly won't sway the interview in your favour.
Sorry possum, but if you want to do art, be an artist. Don't kid yourself that you can get the best of both worlds.