Employers have reported receiving upwards of 100 résumés for a single position. That means that it is more important than ever for your resume to stand out from the competition. Fair or not, often the best résumés – and not the best candidates – generate interviews.
Here are five tips to help you develop a convincing legal résumé:
1. Be Unique. Stand out from the competition by emphasizing your unique skills and achievements. Providing concrete details that prove that you are a top performer can make all the difference to employers. Focus on your legal experience and highlight the skills you learned during your summer job (whether you worked in pro bono, interned for a judge or held a summer associate position at a law firm). Don’t have much experience yet? Highlight the law school activities in which you are involved (moot court, law reivew, student organizations, legal clinics and/or research for a professor).
2. Be Clear. You have less than a minute to make that all-important first impression – make it count! Your key qualifications need to be featured front and center, not buried in a dense paragraph of text. You have worked hard to earn your credentials and build your expertise – use a format that makes it clear to employers what you bring to the table.
3. Be Concise. Firms have limited time to read over what could be hundreds of résumés for one position. Focusing on your relevant skills makes the best use of that limited time, and it also keeps the reader’s interest. Remember that you can always provide more detail in the interview.
4. Be Correct. Nothing leaves a negative impression like bad grammar and spelling. Ask a trusted colleague, career counselor or recruiter to proofread your materials. Close to a third of résumés have mistakes. Common errors we see include “trail” instead of “trial” and “pubic interest” instead of “public interest” (yes, really).
5. Be Confident. Too often candidates understate their achievements. Your résumé is not the place for false modesty! While you do not want to come across as arrogant, firms expect your résumé to highlight your accomplishments. While you know why you are perfect for the position, you need to spell it out for employers.
See more from Lateral Link: Biglaw Hours – The Real Story
Amy Savage is a Director at Lateral Link and oversees attorney placements in Washington, D.C. Prior to recruiting, Amy was an associate with Shaw Pittman, Ross, Dixon & Bell and graduated cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center.