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The newsletter of the ISBA’s Young Lawyers Division

December 2016, vol. 61, no. 3

Resume tips: How to maximize your chances of getting hired

Whether you are a recent law school graduate looking for your first job or an experienced attorney looking for a new opportunity, your resume will play a key role in whether you get hired. Here are some tips to boost your resume and maximize your chances of landing that dream job.

1. Contact Information. Your contact information should include your full name, mailing address, and e-mail address. This information should be right at the top of your resume for the recruiter/hiring partner to see. If you are a recent law school graduate do not use your law school e-mail address. Instead obtain a personal email address such as a Gmail account.

2. Be concise. Your resume should only be one page in length so it is important to make every word count. Make sure that each word on the page shows why you are the best candidate for that specific job. For instance, delete information that is no longer relevant to the job you are applying to.

3. Give specific examples of your legal experience. One of the most common mistakes found on a resume generalizing your experience. An example would be merely asserting you are a family law attorney with experience in child custody actions and dissolution of marriage actions. You should give a specific example of how you obtained a positive result for your client in that child custody or dissolution of marriage action.

4. Make room for personal interests. Even though your resume is only a page in length, make sure to include some of your personal interests. This could give you an edge on the competition if you and the interviewer have a common interest. Your personal interests also afford you the opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a personality that can fit in with their firm.

5. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread…and Proofread some more. This seems obvious, but all it takes is one typo or spelling mistake and your resume will quickly find itself in the hiring partner’s garbage can. Ask a friend or family member to look over your resume as they might be able to catch something you missed.

6. Structure. It is important to make sure your best qualities jump off the page. If you went to a top law school make sure your “education” section is at the top portion of your resume. If you are coming from a well-known firm, put the “work experience” section at the top portion of your resume. If you went to both a top-tier law school and are coming from a big firm well, why are you even reading this?

7. Social media demise. While this article is about how to get the most out of your resume, it will all be for not if that compromising “Spring Break” photo of you can be seen on your social media accounts. Do yourself a favor and take down any photos or posts on your social media accounts that you would not want your prospective employer seeing.