November 26, 2018

How to Make a Resumé That Will Land a Law Job

Tips for your legal resumé. What to put on a resumé for a summer associate, law clerk, or first-year associate position. Law clerk resumé tips. Summer associate resumé example. First year associate resumé sample. Working for law resumé. Skills and verbs for legal resumé. Law school resume advice and samples. 1L resume. 2L resume. 3L resume. Law grad resume. law school advice. law school blog. law student blogger | brazenandbrunette.com

This is the story of a girl, who had finals coming up but also was stressing about her summer clerking applications. Haha sorry I had to, but really I fell y'all that this time of the year is stressful AF. But that's why I'm here :) So before my externship my 3L year ended, I met with our company's corporate recruiter and learned a lot, which I'm here to share with you! Today I'm passing on what I learned about resumé tips that you can use whether you're applying for a pre-law legal job, a 1L/2L summer clerking position, or a post-grad real-girl job. So let's talk about resumés!

Related: Law school application/transfer resumé advice 

On the left is my resumé before I worked with our recruiter. It's not bad because I'd worked with career services to get it to this point, but if you look at the one of the right which the recruiter helped me do, you'll notice it's a lot better. (side note, if you're wondering why my ODR job isn't on my old resumé, it accidentally got deleted a long time ago and this is an old resumé so I didn't bother to fix it lol)
How to Make a Resumé That Will Land a Law Job. Tips for your legal resumé. What to put on a resumé for a summer associate, law clerk, or first-year associate position. Law clerk resumé tips. Summer associate resumé example. First year associate resumé sample. Working for law resumé. Skills and verbs for legal resumé. Law school resume advice and samples. 1L resume. 2L resume. 3L resume. Law grad resume. law school advice. law school blog. law student blogger | brazenandbrunette.comHow to Make a Resumé That Will Land a Law Job. Tips for your legal resumé. What to put on a resumé for a summer associate, law clerk, or first-year associate position. Law clerk resumé tips. Summer associate resumé example. First year associate resumé sample. Working for law resumé. Skills and verbs for legal resumé. Law school resume advice and samples. 1L resume. 2L resume. 3L resume. Law grad resume. law school advice. law school blog. law student blogger | brazenandbrunette.com


Bullet points

Both resumés have bullet points, but my "after" resumé utilizes them much more! The first bullet point describes the area in which I have experience, and the lower bullet point describes more in detail what experience I have in that area. This helps whoever is reviewing your resumé because they get a lot of relevant information quickly. The recruiter was very honest with me and explained that he does not read every detail in a resumé. In fact, he doesn't even finish the bullet points often. So a practically full sentence won't give them as much info as a quick take-away. For example, if you had 30 seconds to look over my resumé, you'd know I have experience in contract, real estate, employment, insurance, litigation, research, and drafting. Whereas before, in 30 seconds all you'd know is that I have experience in the verbs I used. 

Verbs are still good so your career services isn't wrong! It's just that everyone has similar experience so that shouldn't be what you lead with. Save the verbs for the second half of the bullet point and use the first to grab their attention and show them how you are a perfect fit for the job because your first set of bullet points describe exactly the type of law they want to hire you for. 

As personal proof, I am now a workers' comp lawyer. It's easy to see that my boss scanned over the contract/real estate/employment bullets and that the insurance bullet caught his eye and made him pause because workers' comp is a niche of insurance. And boom what do you know just so happened to be listed under that bullet. I realize most of y'all won't have such a variety of experience because in-house really is unique, but you can see in my previous jobs I was still able to break down the type of work I did. 

Experience

Wording can be a hardest thing to come up with because you can remember that you had a job, but can't remember what all you did for that job. Here's a pro tip: steal working for job postings that you're applying (or applied) for! That's literally where I got all of the wording for my Interstate internship is that I just stole what they had listed as the duties of the job in the posting for their summer internship position. Just get on LinkedIn or LawCrossing and search for [X law] associate position and steal their wording. This is extra helpful for you because again, you want your resumé to mirror their job posting so that you look like their ideal candidate. 

In the future, it helps to keep a running list of the work you're doing. I did this for my last two jobs in two ways— 1) about every week or so I would just add a bullet point to my resumé, and 2) I kept a conflicts log. For the bullet points, I would just write down stuff like worked on X project, did Y to help Z and eventually had like 50 bullet points for my job that I could group together and condense. If want to keep your resumé pretty, you can either do this in a separate word document or even do it on your LinkedIn section and just not include names. As for a conflicts log, you really should have one. Here is the template that I use, and I keep mine on Google Drive so that I can update it on my work computer but still access it from my personal computer after I leave my job or just if I'm working on my resumé on a weekend. After my internship, I was able to go back and be like oh yeah I forgot I worked on X project involving Y person/company. Just trust me, you will forget most of what you do right after you do it since you're doing so much, so just keep track of it, k?

Education

You'll notice that my education section went from top of the page to almost last of the page. Why? Because if you're applying to a summer internship position, people are going to assume you're in school and if you're applying to a post-Bar job, they'll assume you've graduated. So in the balancing test between experience and education, your job is going to prefer experience first (because remember they don't read the whole thing on the first take). I also didn't list the years I graduated because I found out that most people who have been out of law school for a while drop the year and I didn't want this to age me and scream that I just graduated and am totally inexperienced in life.

If this is your first legal job and you don't have any relevant experience, then yeah definitely put your education first. How you can fill this up is by putting your GPA, rank (only if it's top 50% or better), scholarships you've earned, relevant classes you've taken, your involvement, etc. I'd go to career services to help you fill this up the best way possible. But really you do a lot in law school so it's easy to find things to add to this. For example, at my school all 1L's had to participate in a moot court. It was mandatory and I didn't make it past the first round but you bet I threw it in there when I was looking for jobs because at least it's something relevant. 


Achievements

For this section, I combined my "activities and interests" section with my "involvement" section because I was running out of room. If you don't have a ton of experience or education bragging points to talk about, this is a trick to take up more space so you don't have a half-empty page (although 3/4 full is still okay so don't feel like you need to add too much fluff). Here's the trick here— put something relatable and interesting! 

At first I was nervous to sound like a millennial by saying that I have a blog, but at each interview I've had since putting it there it has been brought up! It's great because they just ask in general what I blog about and I get to talk about how I started the blog (shows personal growth), how I help y'all (shows I'm caring), and how I managed it while in law school (shows time-management skills). But the best part is that it breaks up the interview from the standard what law school did you go to and what did you do and makes you stick out in your mind so that later they can be like yeah I liked that girl who had the blog thing. Remember that you're going up against a group of people whose resumés look identical to yours, so you have to find a way for them to remember you. 

Here's the thing... if you say you love to cook but actually don't and they ask you about it, you'll won't have that much to say. If you don't currently have any hobbies, it's fine to say "teaching myself to cook" and then make a commitment to try out a new recipe each week or say "training for a 5K" and then sign up for a 5K and start running. If you don't have a hobby by now, I really can't encourage you enough to try to find one because it is so helpful to have a distraction from law school sometimes. But a word of caution: don't lie here! I put watching football not because I thought oh a guy will probably be interviewing me and guys like football so I'll throw this in here. I actually do love watching my college play football and when one of my interviewers told me she went to OU (which is in the Big 12), we were able to talk about times when our schools have played each other. If I had lied, that would've been super obvious when she brought it up!

Lastly, this is a selfish reason of why you should be doing pro bono! I actually got my job at the ODR office because the work I had been doing for my pro bono was exactly in line with the work I ended up doing! During the interview, I was able to chat with my boss about stories of things I've done and then he started to be like oh well I've actually been thinking about doing X project for a few years now and since you've done this before maybe now is the perfect time to start on it. That is the exactly what you want in an interview— for the employer to be thinking of how they can use you and how you already fit the position they're looking to fill!


Last tips

Use tables to make everything even and symmetrical on your resumé. Just remove the gridlines when you're done and everything is all nice and neat. This is actually a lot easier than trying to always tab something out when instead you can just put it in a little table box and adjust it to be either left-aligned or right-aligned.

Long lines break up information better. You'll notice that my after resumé looks a lot easier on the eyes because the lines under each of my headings goes all the way across. Remember, you want to make it ridiculously easy for your employer to find information. So if they're just concerned about my grades, they can quickly find it because I've made the headings pop out even more for their convenience. Again, you can easily do this by using the tables to your advantage and leaving a gridline on top of your next section. 

If you're running out of room, try to make your contact information all fit on one line; if you need to fill up space, break up contact information. And again, remember you can add your involvement in a separate section to add information. Oh and after you graduate, change your email to your personal email because you never know how long you'll have access to your school email after graduation and also a school email address screams that you just graduated.

Save your resumé as a PDF. This helps you so that when your interviewer opens up your resumé they don't see the little boxes denoting the edge of your resumé. In my case it helped because my information just kept always being two lines over a page-long, I didn't want a 2-page resumé with just two lines on the second page, I didn't have two lines that I was willing to cut, and I couldn't make the font size smaller while keeping it readable. So I had to use the narrow margins setting. In a PDF, the margins were saved so whoever opened it always saw it how I wanted it to, but in a word document, my resumé would open to their last-used margins which would be normal and make the spacing totally off. Plus, it just looks more professional as a PDF. I always have two copies saved, a word document that I can keep editing as I go and a PDF that is the actual resumé I send off.

Okay that's about all the typing my fingers can handle, and probably all the reading that your eyes can handle! So the end :) If you've received a helpful resumé tip from career services, a co-worker, mentor, or anyone else, I'd love to hear about it! 


let's be friends!



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