Law School Application Week: Law School Resume Tips

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It’s the final day of our Law School Application Week and today we have a few tips on law school resumes. In fact, I am sharing the best professional tip I ever received.

The best professional tip I ever received is to have one Mega Resume, where you include information about every job or internship you’ve had, along with contact info from each. You can then select relevant entries to create different versions of your resume for different applications. (Trust me: You think you will never forget each of those jobs/internships, but 4 or 5 years later, you will be hard pressed to remember who you reported to or what exactly you did.) The other reason this is super smart is because when you apply to sit for a bar exam, you will once again need to provide a list of every job you’ve had, along with contacts from each.

How do you craft a version of your resume for law school?

  • Use headers that law schools care about. Education & Honors, Professional Experience, Leadership & Service are all good. Think about what a law school wants to know.
  • What should NOT be included? An objective. An applicant’s objective is to get into law school. Also, anything from high school is out. Let it go because law schools do not care what clubs you joined when you were 15. Basic skills such as “Microsoft PowerPoint” are expected and don’t deserve room on this resume.
  • Be sure to include information that law schools will not be able to see from your personal statement or transcript. Example: No need to spend time on your resume listing your courses–law schools will see this on your transcript.
  • Make it relevant and recent. Although most law schools will accept a 2 page resume, most undergrads generally only have enough to fill 1 page. Ask yourself: Is every item on your resume either highly RELEVANT or very RECENT? It should be one or the other, or preferably both.
  • Provide specific detail. The word “oversaw” means nothing! Managed, supervised, led, directed, created, or a million other action verbs would be better. “Engaged in certain activities” and “planned events” don’t tell the reader anything either. What activities/events? For how many people? On what topics?
  • Consider adding a “Personal Interests” section IF you think some of your experiences aren’t represented. Life skills such as building web sites or learning another language in your free time might not be reflected elsewhere in your application, and law schools do want to get to know you. Keep it short and simple, with maybe 3 items. Don’t feel compelled to have this section. It is merely an option. Note: This is just for a law school resume and not necessarily for a job resume. Most employers frankly won’t care what you do with your free time, unless it’s highly relevant.

RESOURCES

A good starting point is our Law School Resume overview

For a guide on good resume form and action verbs, visit the Career Center’s resume page.

For an excellent look at Dos and Don’ts of law school resumes, check out this article.

When you are ready, make an appointment with Pre-Law Advising Services (by calling 333-9669) and we will give you individual and specific feedback on it.

For those of you who are applying next year or beyond, plan to attend one of our Personal Statement & Resume workshops. We offer them several times each Fall semester and at least once each Spring. We have concluded the workshops for this Fall but will continue to offer them in future semesters.

 

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