For most law professionals, their advanced education and supreme skills don’t mean anything unless a potential employer knows about it. Therefore, resumes have become a necessity for any job-seeking individual. As you begin your job hunt, make creating a stellar resume your top priority. The following tips will help you build a resume that speaks for you.
Priority #1: Understand The Importance
Your resume can either be your foot in the door or a direct route into someone’s trashcan. Crafting a meticulous yet dynamic resume can be your greatest ally when shopping for a new job or internship, all before you even the meet the hiring manager. As your first impression, that piece of paper holds a lot of power and it’s important to approach resume writing with a tact and seriousness. For law students, lawyers, and partners-to-be, a resume is a constant work-in-progress that should be updated as new experiences begin, projects are completed, and skills are honed. As your personal development never ends, neither should your resume writing. The more updated your resume is, the better chance you have at standing out from the crowd and getting called in for an interview. Don’t take your resume lightly; almost every company and firm you interview with will see your resume as your first big test.
Priority #2: Write It All Down
Before you can start laying out your resume, you need to know what to include. A good first project is to just write out everything that could be of importance on a resume. Education, work experience, and skills are customarily included on most resumes; begin by jotting down the basics of each category on a separate sheet of paper. For instance, you attended Georgetown University from 2000-2004, interned at this law firm from 2003-2004 and that law firm from 2004-2005, and your skills include speed-reading and social security law. Once you have the preliminary information down, expand on the details by including any relevant classes, projects, prominent professors, awards, popular cases, and accomplishments. If you find that some information will be irrelevant, like the summer you worked at Barnes & Noble, then cut it from the resume. Your resume should only include your greatest strengths that can be applicable in the work area, and a showcase of your education and work experience. Leave the personality quirks and juicy stories for the interviews or cover letters.
Priority #3: Format
You can find many templates for legal resumes online or at your school’s career services office, but a few format rules are universal. Generally speaking, a one-page resume is standard. It’s becoming acceptable for resumes to exceed that length, but hiring manager don’t necessarily want to read three pages of every skill you have and every class you’ve ever taken. Therefore, keep your resume at a one-page minimum to ensure you don’t get an automatic rejection. Next, your resume should be in a legible and clear font with major sections in bold or underlined. As you search for a format that strikes your fancy, consider ways to tweak your resume’s format to stand out. Creating an attention-grabbing layout can get you to the top of a pile faster than a list of your prominent talents. Consider including minor design elements, interesting packaging, and using high-quality paper. These considerations will show recruiters and potential employers that you care just as much about your resume as you do your career.
Priority #4: Send It Off
When you’re satisfied with your resume and you’ve had a few friends, old professors, and your law school’s career services look it over, it’s time to send it off. Some employers will want a resume in their hands, while others will want a digital copy. Be sure to read all the fine print on your applications so you don’t run into any problems. If you are mailing your resume, make sure to send it off well in advance of application deadlines. Also, send it through USPS for any government sites that might not accept mail through UPS or FedEx. Be sure your contact information is included (although it should already be on your resume, itself) and address the envelope legibly.
Priority #5: Follow Up
After you’ve applied for a job, follow up with your potential employer with a quick phone call or email after about a week or so of sending it off. Don’t be too pushy and don’t inquire about the resume or it’s contents, just make sure it arrived safely, got into the right hands, and express your enthusiasm for the position. Finally, offer to come in for a meeting. If the conversation goes well, you’ll be sitting in the hot seat in no time. Keep the follow up light and friendly, and don’t get overbearing when your potential employer isn’t as accommodating as you’d hope. Simply thank them for their time and let them know you look forward to speaking with them.
Your legal resume can be the single most important piece of paper you’ll ever create during your career. Craft it with care to ensure you make a great first impression with each new potential employer.
Pete Wise is a copywriter working for Carr & Carr whom have been serving the people of Oklahoma and Arkansas for decades, and have never shied away from the hard cases. If you’d like the best Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers on your side just pick up the phone.