Resume Suggestions for Attorney and Legal Management Professionals
A Resume Must Capture
the Interest of an Employer in Ten Seconds or Less
As unbelievable as the statement
sounds, it is true. Every accomplishment, every step to achievement
needs to be summed up in a concise, easy to read summary that can
be scanned quickly by a decision maker. You need to make a compelling
statement that will motivate the employer to pick up the phone and
Your Resume is Your Most
Important Marketing Tool
Most legal professionals put an
exorbitant number of hours into their job search, but put very little
time into their primary marketing tool. In order to write an effective
resume, you need to do a little self-assessment. Preparing a successful resume requires
knowing who you are, knowing the skills you have, and knowing
where you are going.
After having reviewed thousands
of resumes over the years, the ones that stand out - the ones that
land people jobs - are the ones that show a clear career direction.
Even if you have a really good resume, it would be worth your while
to do the following exercise.
- If you were a potential employer
reading your resume, what would you think about you?
- What do you want the reader
of your resume to think about you?
- What does your resume say about
- What does your resume say about
- Does your resume convey what
skills you have developed?
- Does your resume reflect a constantly
increasing level of achievement or a declining level of achievement?
You should also speak with friends
and coworkers to get their thoughts on what they believe to be your
greatest strengths and weaknesses. When you are preparing any resume,
"who you are" will be summed up in a document generally
of one page and will be reviewed very quickly. You must make an
Your Resume is not a Novel
Resumes generally should never
be longer than one page. This is a difficult task for many legal
professionals to do—especially for those with extensive experience.
In the case of corporate attorneys
who have been practicing more that a few years, it is generally
useful to have an attachment to the resume that lists their significant
transactions. These attachments should be distinguished from the main resume.
This will maintain a clear and concise
appearance and structure.
Clean and Simple Formatting is Best
A resume always needs to be easy
to read and must have a flawless appearance. In order to make the
best impression, a resume should be in an easy to read font that
will enable an employer to easily scan it to learn about your skills
You need to ensure that your resumes, cover letters
and envelopes are all printed on the same stationery. They should
always be printed on high-quality white or off-white paper. It goes
without saying that all your documents should be completely error free.
You should always proofread your resume, and have colleagues proofread
it to eliminate any typographic errors. One spelling error can make
you look unprofessional and may cost you an interview.
Margins, tabs and other formatting
must be consistent. In addition, you should emphasize the names
of your current and past employers so that a person reviewing your
resume will know at a glance where you have worked.
It should follow the standard business format and be simple to read.
John Doe Jr.
Anytown, CT 00000
Preferably, your name should be
in bold and larger font so that it stands out. You should also use
your private email address to be discreet.
Experienced job seekers should list educational degrees at the end of the resume. Begin with your most recent degree,
followed by your undergraduate degree.
Honors and Activities
Along with your education, you
should always list your significant honors and activities on your
resume. Most attorneys and legal professionals incorporate this
into their educational sections, although a separate section is
just as common. The honors section lists anything of importance
such as Dean's List, Cum Laude, or Magna Cum Laude. If you have
received any unusual honors or distinctions, it is useful to include
In the activities section of your
resume, you should indicate any student organizations, sports you
may have participated in, offices you have held, and local community
Your resume should list all of
your work experience in reverse chronological order. However, if
you have been practicing law for at least two or three years you
should limit the identity of your previous employers to those that
were law related.
The most important part of the
experience section of your resume is the description of each position held. Through the careful selection of words
and phrases, you should paint a dynamic and exciting picture of
your work. The descriptions should highlight the experience
most relevant to your current search.
Final Points to Remember
- Directly below each employer's
name, you should list what title you have held.
- You should be clear about all
of your employment and educational dates.
- Do not include your computer
- Experienced attorneys should
list all admitted bars.
- Do not include a section on
your resume stating that "References will be Furnished on
Request." Employers will request references when they are
ready for them.
- If you speak more than one language,
it is a good idea to list these, along with your level of proficiency.