You’ve obtained a bachelor’s degree, nailed the LSAT, and now you’re graduating from law school! While it may seem like your days of test-taking are behind you, you’re currently facing one of the biggest challenges of your career. Law firms are known for their competitive hiring practices, and it can be difficult to stand out in the crowd. In order to get your foot in the door of your top-choice law firm, you’ll need to write a great legal resume!
In this article, we’re sharing our best tips and tricks to write an impressive and compelling legal resume that elevates you above the competition.
Be Professional & Structured
To start building your resume, you need to understand what information the hiring managers want to see. After all, this piece of paper has to provide an overview of your entire career! A good legal resume should include all of the following details:
- Name, contact information, location
- Professional experience
- State Bar licensure
- Additional information (relevant technical experience, publications, awards, volunteer work, professional certifications, etc.)
The Visual First Impression
No matter how compelling your experience might be, you’ll need to make a good impression to survive the first wave of applicant selections. From the second the hiring manager glances at your resume, the clock starts ticking. Most professionals report that they can form an impression of your qualifications in less than 30 seconds.
When you’re formatting your resume, remember that this is not the moment to express your personality. Using a non-traditional or overly graphic resume template is likely to frustrate your reader. Instead, try to make it as easy as possible to locate critical information during a quick scan.
The Finishing Touches
After a long, hard day of resume writing, there’s simply no substitute for a good night’s sleep. Before submitting your work, give yourself 24 hours to rest and then review everything with fresh eyes. You’re much more likely to catch small mistakes and inaccuracies when you’ve taken some time away. During your final review, ensure that your resume is visually appealing, flows well, makes good use of space, and is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
Prepare for Customization
After you’ve created a resume that you’re happy with, make a second copy of the file. Take the time to review and highlight any words, phrases, or sentences that can be easily tailored based on specific details of each job posting. You should always try to include some exact keywords from the job listing when you apply. This step may seem excessive, but it can be crucial to surviving the dreaded ATS scan. If your resume lacks critical keywords spelled out in the job description, there’s a chance it may not pass the ATS keyword search.
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