Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Law School Resume Tips

In today's posting, Brett of The Frugal Law Student gave one really great resume tip that applies to law school directed resumes, not just employment seeking resumes.

"Give figures and be specific. In your past job descriptions or volunteer section, give specific figures of what you accomplished while holding that position. For example, I used to train third party verifiers for gas and electric companies. Instead of just putting trainer, I put “Trained 15 new employees on how to perform third party verifications.” If your only job experience are part time jobs during college, put down how many hours you worked during a week while going to school full time. This shows employers that you know how to multi task and manage your time."

And here's my tip of the day on this subject: Put Education First. You're applying for a position at an institute of higher education. List your degree(s), honors, activities, etc. from education before listing your employment. There are exceptions to this rule, but in general it applies to everyone who graduated from college within the last 10 years.

21 comments:

  1. First--I love reading your blog. Your advice is positive and constructive, which is so much better than what is written on law school discussion forms (don't worry, I too your advice and stopped reading them).

    I am creating my resume and am wondering if I should include a cover letter. Is this needed? Also, I would like to have my contact info, education, and work experience only. Do you need hobbies, achievements, etc?

    Thank you for any help you are willing to give.

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  2. Thanks! I'm so happy to finally have a comment on this year-old post!
    No cover letter (only things called for in an application).
    If you have interesting hobbies and achievements, by all means add them in.

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  3. Thank you so much for your help!

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  4. A couple questions on law school application resumes:
    If I am taking a year off between undergrad and law school, should I include my current employment (a year-long fellowship) before education/college stuff? Also, what sort of college stuff is important to include now that I am out of college? For example, I had a few part-time jobs (one was teaching an LSAT class), and a few internships. Also, I was very involved and held many leadership positions--are they still important?
    Thanks so much for your advice! Love the blog,
    JZ

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  5. Hi there. Thanks so much for your blog, the tips are really useful. I was wondering if you have any advice for a teacher's resume for law school. I have 5 years experience but am not exactly sure what to put down. Thanks in advance for your reply!

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  6. Hi Maya, your teaching experience is very relevant and you can present it in the same format you would for any other job.

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  7. What is the best way to present your education if you are not at the top of your class or did not receive high honors? I received a 3.4gpa and graduated college in 3 years. Thanks for your help in advance.

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  8. Kim: Here are 3 ways-
    1. Faculty LORs
    2. Making it clear in your resume that you graduated in 3 years
    3. Mentioning it in your personal statement.
    Good luck!

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  9. hello anne,
    stumbled upon your blog by chance (and am thankful in that occurring) when researching how to approach the resume portion of the law school app...i am currently in grad school for film and am transitioning out to apply to law school. i attended uc berkeley with a gpa in the mid 3's and have a graduate gpa at USC film school now close to a 4.0. i have several years of production experience on a tv show and in music videos, agency work, and most recently a music law firm. given that ive worked in the most recent years and produced personal projects in the entertainment realm, do you think i should approach the resume displaying more professional work experience / projects ive produced versus academic accomplishments since that is what i have been involved in more since graduating berkeley? just a little confused with this portion, any advice on a entertainment lawyer to be?...that is if she gets into her top law schools :) also my LSAT was in the low 140s and I feel iffy about how high i may score since im not the greatest standardized test take...do you think extensive work experience a solid GPA recs and personal statement could help me out? im in my late 20s and feel like im late in the game to approaching law school so any advice would be appreciated...and thanks for putting a blog like this out there in cyber land...its a huge relief to an overanalytical mind...

    All the best...

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  10. Hi Femmenoir,
    Your LSAT issue is more troubling than the resume issue. I would tell one of my clients to include everything on the resume (since high school graduation anyway) and to let me help decide what to condense, exclude, explain, etc.
    Feel free to give yourself credit for all of your college and career accomplishments.

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  11. ann, thank you very much for the prompt reply. my lsat score is troubling, i do know this and recently nerves got the best of me with a meltdown so i decided to chill out, leave work and take another 2 months to stay home and study for the dec test instead of rushing to take the oct one. im applying to columbia nyu ucla loyola usc hastings berkeley southwestern and pepperdine...are there any of this bunch that im applying to that may see factors outside the lsat score (like professional work experience, grad school grades, accomplishments on my films, a kick ass personal statement etc) as factors which may raise the bar on my chances of admittance? thank you again for your time and insight.

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  12. Thanks for your advice Ann! I'm almost done with my resume but was wondering two things:

    1) Is there a sample format that is preferred? I've seen so many online and am not sure if one is better than the other.

    2) What do you think about putting in Hobbies/Interests?

    Take care.

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  13. Hi Maya - no specific template is better than any other. The substance is more important than the form, but it should look professional.
    Hobbies and Interests are good if they are distinguishing, interesting, and/or significant.

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  14. Thanks for the site!!! I have found some very helpful information. I am participating in an internship next semester but I am applying to law school this semester. How can I include a future internship in my resume? Thanks.

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  15. Hello Ranaeblackerby,
    You can either put "Anticipated" in the description or just update the law schools under separate correspondence when you've begun the internship. Good luck!
    Ann

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  16. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for your concise advice!

    I'm working on my resume now and have about 3 pages of employment, education and personal info. How much is too much? I have been out of school for 5 years, so I think I need to emphasize my employment history. I've read elsewhere that I should keep it at one page. What do you suggest?

    Thanks!

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  17. Kickmeup: 3 pages seems excessive for only being out of school for 5 years. 2 pages would be reasonable. It might just be that your job descriptions are too wordy.....

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  18. Alright, thank you Ann!

    Should I eliminate information from during college unless it's specifically requested?

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  19. Hi Ann,

    I just came across your site and I am finding it very helpful! I wanted to know when the best time to send in my applications would be? I am taking February 2009 LSAT and wasn't sure if I should wait till its closer to my score coming out because I am heavily relying on my LSAT score to get me into law school since my gpa isn't good. However, I realize admissions are rolling and the sooner I get my in the better but am hesitant because of my gpa..would they reject me just by looking at it? before they get lsat score?

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