Tips for strong resumes

Recently, I have helped several young lawyers edit their resumes. Overall, three points: Keep the resume succinct and specific, show specialization where possible, and sell yourself.

Recently, I have helped several young lawyers edit their resumes.  Overall, three points:  Keep the resume succinct and specific, show specialization where possible, and sell yourself.  More thoughts below:

▪ Keep the resume to one page.  If you have been practicing for less than 10 years you probably do not need a two page resume.  Be succinct and highlight the most recent school and work experience.  Leave out experience that is not law related (unless you have nothing else).  Also, consider dropping personal interests and places where you are licensed.  These items do not add much in my opinion and take up valuable space.

▪ Sell yourself every chance you can.  If you are a CPA or something else besides a JD, consider putting the designation up front so it catches the reader’s eye right away.  Also think about adding a couple of sentences up front (if room and can keep it to one page) summarizing your strengths.  For example to demonstrate leadership and personal skills, you could say something like — effectively manage large projects,  lead productive teams, and work constructively with all types of personalities among peers, clients, and SEC agents.

▪ Related to selling yourself, make sure to distinguish yourself in any way you can.  Discuss successful cases and projects and specifically how you contributed.  If you are a litigator, for example, you may state that you obtained valuable concessions necessary to reach settlement.

▪ Be precise and give relevant details.  If you are providing bullet points, make them count.  Keep the reader interested by being succinct and specific.  Again using litigation as an example — developed novel legal theory which led to successful defense against Government’s motion of summary judgment.

If you have specific resume questions, please let me know and I will address.