3 Ways to Improve Your Resume This Year

When you apply to law school, admissions deans will be taking a close look at your resume to see how you spent your time as an undergrad. Law schools aren’t looking for hundreds of cookie cutter applicants who all do exactly the same thing–you should feel free to explore your interests and passions while building your pre-law resume. Here are some tips on building a pre-law resume that will allow you to explore your interests while impressing a law school admissions dean.

1. Go somewhere.

What it is: Illinois now has tons of study abroad opportunities over summer, winter break, and semester or yearlong programs all around the world worth checking out. (Today is Illinois Abroad Day! Check out the daylong calendar of events here.) Or consider Illinois in Washington to gain federal government/political contacts in DC.

How it helps your law school resume: Like every industry, law is increasingly global in its reach. Law schools and legal employers like to see candidates with exposure to international cultures and issues, along with language skills. It shows not only an awareness of the global scale of local issues but a willingness to work with a wide variety of people from all kinds of backgrounds and an interest in other cultures. Language skills are a big plus to a multinational legal entity. If your goal is to work in federal government or politics domestically, getting those contacts and experiences early will be a huge plus in the competitive world of federal government work.

2. Do something meaningful with your time instead of watching more Netflix.

What it is: Illinois has literally hundreds of student organizations (called RSOs) about every imaginable topic. Whether your passion is music, art, volunteering, kids, the environment, or sports, something exists for everyone. Don’t see an RSO about your passion? Start one!

How it helps your law school resume: Law and legal issues are part of nearly every facet of life, so it is possible to link almost any passion to a career in law. First, law schools like to see people with passion, and they want to see applicants that actually spend time working on their passions rather than just reading about them. Second, law schools like to see applicants who demonstrate effective time management outside of the classroom. Third, law schools and the board of admission to the bar want to see people join the profession who understand community/social issues and the importance of giving back through pro bono (volunteer) work…in many states it is required of licensed lawyers.

3. Gain transferrable skills.

What they are: Transferrable skills refer to skills you can learn on the job or in an internship that carry over to other areas–in this case, the legal field. Take a look at employers’ top 10 attributes they want in a candidate. You don’t have to work in a law office to learn the transferrable skills necessary to be an effective lawyer: ability to work in a team, communication skills, problem solving, strong work ethic, technical/computer skills, in addition to working with clients, giving presentations, marketing, managing people, working with budgets/handling money, resolving conflict…all of these are necessary skills that law school does not teach you.

How it helps your law school resume: Law schools and legal employers want candidates who understand how a business functions and who possess the professional skills mentioned above. Importantly, work experience also allows you to explore different jobs and work environments to begin to identify what your priorities are in a career. Do you want a fast-paced work environment with lots of deadlines or do you prefer open time to prioritize yourself? Do you like working closely with clients or do you prefer a less people-oriented environment? Are you looking for a job with lots of independence or do you like being part of a team? These are all elements of the work experience that can help you identify your career priorities moving forward. Now is the time to explore!

For more information on pre-law resumes:

If you’re in the early stages of drafting a resume, explore the Career Center’s workshops and resume review offerings.

Attend a Perfecting Your Personal Statement and Resume workshop this fall. Follow the link for our workshop calendar and register there.

Check out our online resume resources on our website here.

Mark Your Calendars–Week of August 29

Happy Monday morning! We are announcing a new internship, several upcoming Pre-Law Advising Services events that you’ll want to mark your calendars for, AND Career Center workshops, Illinois Abroad Day, and more. Get involved and have a great week!

PLAS Events and Opportunities

NEW Internship Opportunity–Be sure to follow us on Facebook, where we post all internships as they arise. Legal Internship Opportunity — Steigmann Law LLP
Steigmann Law, P.C., a young law firm in Champaign-Urbana, is looking for interns who want to be involved in a fast paced, high-tech, multi-area, legal environment. Steigmann Law, PC engages in personal injury, medical malpractice, family law, civil litigation, real estate, criminal, DUI and wills and estate work. Attorneys at Steigmann Law, PC have had experience in both public and private sectors of work, including small and large law firms and are happy to share their knowledge and experience. Interns jobs will vary, and be assigned based on capabilities, but may include medical record organization, filing, abstracting depositions, assisting in trial preparations, court filings, and attending depositions and court hearings and legal marketing. Work times are flexible and we are willing to work around your academic schedule. Please email resumes and cover letters to Kristen Conley at Kconley@steigmannlaw.com.

Interacting with Law School Admissions: Interviews, Visits and Law Fairs                   Ms. Ann Perry, Associate Dean of Admissions, University of Chicago Law School  Wednesday, September 7, 5-6pm, 514 IUB. Law school applicants will have several opportunities throughout the application cycle to engage with law school admissions professionals. Whether it is through an interview, at a law fair, or during a law school visit, these interactions can make or break a candidate’s application. What should you wear? What should you talk about? What impresses an admissions dean–or what leaves a terrible impression? Learn from a veteran law school dean, Ms. Ann Perry, Associate Dean for Admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, all about how to maximize your admission and aid through successful interactions with admissions professionals. No registration necessary.

FREE Practice LSAT — Friday, September 9, 8:30am-12:30pm. This proctored practice LSAT provides the opportunity to take an actual Law School Admission Test in a real classroom environment. Whether you are prepping for the September 24 LSAT or you have never taken a practice LSAT before and just want to get a baseline score, this is your chance. This exam will be set up much like the real LSAT: Please bring pencils, personal items, and a snack in a clear plastic baggie.  Location and follow up details will be sent to all registrants within a week of the exam. Please go here to register.

Pre-Law 101 — Monday, September 12, 4-5pm, 514 IUB. This workshop is designed for incoming students who are new to pre-law or are interested in learning more about it. We will cover: What it means to be pre-law at Illinois, course selection, majors, and extracurriculars, building a pre-law resume, and what law schools are really looking for. We will outline a four year plan to maximize your undergraduate experiences in order to make a great law school candidate. We’ll also take any questions about law school and legal careers. Please reserve a seat by clicking on this link to ensure enough seating and materials for everyone. Each Pre-Law 101 session is the same. Incoming students should attend a Pre-Law 101 session prior to setting up an individual pre-law advising appointment.

Upcoming Campus Events

The Pre-Law Honors Society will hold its first general meeting on Wednesday, August 31 at 7 pm. Follow their Facebook page here for location and other details.

Illinois Abroad Day is August 31! This all day program contains a series of events around campus to highlight the many study abroad opportunities for Illinois students. Check out the calendar of Illinois Abroad Day here.

The Career Center fall workshop calendar is posted on their website at:  https://www.careercenter.illinois.edu/events. If you have not done so already, update your resume, plan your job search or summer internship, and get to know their office and resources. All sessions will be held at the Career Center, 715 S. Wright Street, unless otherwise indicated. Upcoming workshops include:

  • Resume, Cover Letter, & Linked In Reviews
    • Aug. 29 from 2-4:30 pm at the Career Center and from 7-9 pm at the Undergrad Library
    • OR Aug. 30 from 2-4:30 pm at the Career Center and 5:30-7:30 pm at the SDRP (IKE)
    • OR Aug. 31 from 7-9 pm at the Undergrad Library
    • OR Sept. 2 from 2-4:30 pm at the Career Center 
  • Career Certificate–International Students Info Session
    • Aug. 29 at 4 pm at the Career Center Interview Suite Room 213
    • OR Aug. 30 at 4 pm at the Career Center Interview Suite Room 213
  • Career Closet–Sept. 1 from 10-3 pm at the Career Center Interview Suite Room 213
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Internship Workshop–Sept. 1 at 4 pm

Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Relations (OIIR) has posted its fall calendar here. Some highlights of their programs this week include:

  • Welcome Reception for International Students–Aug. 29, 6 pm at the Asian American Cultural Center, 1210 W. Nevada St.
  • Indigenous Struggles in Mexico & Latin America, Sept. 2, 12 pm at Native American House


Upcoming Off Campus Events and Opportunities

Organizing Change Leadership Retreat — Saturday, October 8 – Sunday, October 9, 2016. Join Illinois students from around campus for a free two-day retreat that will build your leadership skills.  Meet students who are active in leading change, and learn how to get involved in the issues that matter to you. Held at the Lake Williamson all-inclusive retreat near Springfield, Organizing Change features workshops, team building activities, and opportunities to network with other student leaders and staff.

Transportation, lodging, and food are provided.  Space is limited. Register for the conference here. https://oiir.illinois.edu/events/organizing-change-2016. Priority Deadline is Monday, September 26, 2016. Questions? Contact Ross Wantland at DiversityEd@illinois.edu or (217) 244-1814.

Welcome Back Edition

Welcome Class of 2020 and Welcome Back Pre-Law Students!

Hello students!  Our first blog post of the 2016-2017 school year features an overview of many of the events happening on campus in the next week and a brief update on Pre-Law Advising Services (PLAS), including information about our FREE practice LSAT being offered on Friday, September 9.   Scroll down for more on that.  We will resume our regular blogging schedule August 29.  Our postings will include updates on PLAS programs, campus events, internships and information on a variety of pre-law topics and items of interest so keep checking in!!

Upcoming Campus Events

Welcome Days/Welcome Week 2016 — August 18-25, 2016

To stay informed and updated about all Illinois Welcome Days events, including Quad Day this Sunday, August 21, download the Illinois Student Affairs App and open the Fall Orientation/Welcome Days 2016 Schedule here: http://odos.illinois.edu/newstudent/programs/welcomedays.html.  Scan the QR code on the Student Affairs page or search in the Apple App Store under “Illinois Student Affairs” or for Droid users search for “University of Illinois Student Affairs”.

Quad Day: Sunday, August 21!

The semester kicks off this weekend with Quad Day, Sunday, August 21, Noon-4pm. For more info about Quad Day and other Welcome Week Events, check out the Illini Union webpage: http://union.illinois.edu/see-and-do/events/welcome-week-2016.

Come out for a day of learning about any and every Registered Student Organization on the Illinois campus. Campus offices and local organizations will also be lining the Main Quad for you to get a taste of how diverse the university is and what it has to offer. The Illini Union vendors will be there, along with the Rec Room, so you can see what we are all about! Special performances by the Marching Illini and other RSOs will take place. With over 600 RSOs present, you are bound to find something you are interested in. Remember — law schools like to see applicants who are both good students and who are involved in their community.
 Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Relations
 Wake Up Call – Saturday, August 20th, 5 pm, Foellinger Auditorium

Sponsored by 100 STRONG and the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center

The Wake Up Call program was created with several purposes in mind including:

  • To provide incoming African American students with a list of resources that will assist them throughout their college career.
  • To encourage African American students to strive for academic excellence.
  • To promote African American unity throughout the campus and community.

With the assistance of current Illinois students, faculty and alumni, Wake-Up Call provides a forum for discussion on the topics relevant to the African American experience at Illinois via skits, multimedia, and the performing arts. We hope you will join us for informative, yet entertaining event. The theme for this year is A Different World, based on the late 80s/early 90s show. The concept will include ways for students to successfully adjust to college as it is a completely “different world” than what first-year students are leaving behind.

Sunday, August 21st, 3–5:30 pm — I Celebrate at Illinois

Nevada Street, between Mathews and Goodwin, Urbana
Sponsored by the Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Relations, New Student Programs, and University Housing

After Quad Day, celebrate the many diverse cultures of the University of Illinois with live music featuring Bomba Con Buya, an Afro-Puerto Rican Chicago-based ensemble, and Emcee One (Osage/Potawatami/Delaware and Puerto Rican), national speaker, DJ, and recording artist. We’ll also have a variety of games, a mehndi design artist, and an array of food samples, including Jerk Chicken, Chana Masala, and Churros. Make new friends, and learn about the programs offered at the 7 cultural and resource centers, and other university departments.

Paleta Social – Monday August 22nd, 6–8pm
La Casa Cultural Latina, 1203 W. Nevada St., Urbana

After the first day of classes, La Casa holds a social for new students to come and meet other new and returning students, while returning students can catch up with fellow classmates, all while enjoying a paleta/ice cream. It is also an introduction of La Casa to new students in an informal manner.

LGBT Resource Center Welcome Back Event – Wednesday August 24th, 4–6 pm (program starts 4:30 pm)
Illini Union 314 A & B

Celebrate the start of a new year with food, music, and opportunities to meet LGBT Resource Center staff, LGBT RSOs, campus partners, and more! Come find out how to get involved with and stay connected to LGBTQ life at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! All students, staff, faculty, and community members including partners are invited.

Lunch @ La Casa -Thursday August 25th at Noon
La Casa Cultural Latina, 1203 W. Nevada St., Urbana

Meet and Greet La Casa Cultural Latina Staff. Learn about programs and events for the Fall semester.

Asiantation — Thursday, August 25th, 5–7 pm
SDRP Multipurpose Room (2nd floor) 301 E. Gregory Dr., Champaign

For over twenty years, students have been producing “Asiantation,” a new student-welcoming program and resource handbook to introduce first year students, transfer students, as well as graduate and professional students to the Asian and Asian American campus community and resources. Learn more about AAPI student organizations and see how you can get involved.

For more information on these and other OIIR happenings, go here for the full OIIR calendar of events. https://oiir.illinois.edu/events/welcome-week-2016.

To access the UIUC calendar for campus-wide events and holidays, go here: http://illinois.edu/calendar/detail/7/33234639.  For information about add/drop deadlines for classes and other information, check out the calendar for the Office of the Registrar here: http://illinois.edu/calendar/list/4175.

Other Campus Events and Opportunities

Luce Scholars Program — Information Sessions August 25 and 26

The National and International Scholarships Program (NISP) is offering a two-day informational event about the Luce Scholars Program.  The Luce is a one-year internship in East or Southeast-Asia, and designed specifically for students who do not have much prior experience in that region.  Starting August 25th, NISP will offer an informational overview session, featuring an informal discussion with previous Luce Scholars. On August 26th, NISP will host a workshop designed to help students begin to craft their applications.

All events will be held in 514 IUB. The dates and times are as follows.

August 25th, 3:30-4:30pm – Informational session and discussion with a former Luce Scholar.

August 26th 3:30-4:30pm – Workshop on how to craft a Luce application.

More information about the Luce can be found here: http://www.topscholars.illinois.edu/luce.

Campus Deadline for Rhodes, Marshal, Mitchell or Schwarzman Scholarships — Tuesday, August 23 — NOON!

The campus deadline for the Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, or Schwarzman Scholarships-all scholarship materials must be submitted to the National and International Scholarships Program by 12:00 pm (noon).

Information regarding these scholarships can be found at:



Illinois Trial Team — Info Nights August 24 and 25, 6:30-8:30pm, College of Law

Thinking about law school and intrigued by the idea of being a trial attorney? Then this opportunity might be just what you are looking for!

We are the Illinois Trial Team, the undergraduate mock trial team at the University of Illinois. We are a group of motivated, pre-law focused students who learn actual courtroom techniques to use in competitive tournaments. We are ideal for students who want to go on to law school, make a group of close friends, and learn about the legal field of trial advocacy. We have info nights August 24th and August 25th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Law Building (504 E Pennsylvania Ave, Champaign) and tryouts the following week. Keep in mind, you must attend an info night in order to tryout. If you have any questions feel free to email us at illinoistrialteam@gmail.com or check out our website, www.illinoistrialteam.com.

 PLAS Updates for Fall 2016

1. What’s going on at PLAS? All of our events are listed in our Event Calendar here: http://illinois.edu/calendar/list/2508.  You may also look at the right side of this page for info on events coming up in the next few weeks, which include a FREE practice LSAT on Friday, September 9! Note that some of our workshops have limited seating, like the Pre-Law 101 sessions and the practice LSAT, so you’ll want to register for those in advance. We will add a few programs as the semester progresses.  Be sure to check our blog August 29  for an overview of the semester’s events!

2. Attend a Pre-Law 101 Workshop. If you are a new pre-law student you’ll definitely want to attend a Pre-Law 101 Workshop, which will answer most of your questions about what it means to be pre-law and how you can maximize your opportunities as an undergrad. These sessions are all listed in our Event Calendar and you can register there.

3. How do we keep in touch? Blog, Facebook group, Twitter, email
The best way to keep up with pre-law news is to read this blog and join our Facebook group or follow us on Twitter (@UIUC Pre-Law). We send occasional emails but we don’t want to clog your inbox…so instead, we update this blog, Twitter and our Facebook page at least once a week.

4. Making an appointment….is easy. Call 333-9669. Except please, if you’re sick, stay home in your jammies! You can call us at the appointment time if you really need to talk. Otherwise, please reschedule.