Pre-Law Resumes – Things to Keep and Things to Delete

Whether or not you are new to pre-law, it is important to update your resume often. Here are some tips for creating the best pre-law resume while in undergrad. These resumes will be important for applying to jobs and internships throughout undergrad and later on when you apply to law school.

Thoughts and Tips for All Undergrads and Alumni Considering Law School:

  1. Update your resume often. Keep track of awards, jobs, volunteer work, and other extracurricular activities.
    1. After you complete a job, internship, or other activity,  add that work to your resume as soon as possible. It is easier to remember all the work you did while you are currently doing it or shortly afterwards instead of months later.
    2. You never want to say in an interview: “I forgot to include …”
  2. Organize your resume from most recent job or activity to the oldest. Highlight the most recent opportunities and then work backwards.
  3. Remember the audience. Keep in mind who will be reading your resume eventually – a law school. Be professional and appropriate with what you include on your resume.
  4. High school activities: by sophomore year second semester or junior year first semester, all of your high school activities should be taken off your resume. Unless there is a spectacular award or opportunity you had while in high school that directly relates to law school, you should now be highlighting your more relevant and recent undergrad accomplishments.
  5. Quantify the details of your experiences. There is a big difference between being the president of a group of 200 people versus a group of 20. Give the audience a better picture of the responsibilities you had.
    1. Other quantifiable factors to consider: Did you have a budget for a student group? Were you in contact with professors, national advisors, or managers often? How long did you have this job for? How often did your group meet? If possible, try to show the readers that you can be trusted with important tasks and are committed to your activities or jobs.
  6. Visit our website for more information and tips to make sure your resume is perfect.
  7. Have someone proofread your resume. A friend, family member, or professor are all great people to ask. The Pre-Law Advising Services office will proofread your resume and offer feedback during the application process. Please make an appointment by calling 217-333-9669. Additionally, the Career Center offers many opportunities to have your resume reviewed. Click here for more information on their services.

Building Your Resume Early (Freshmen and Sophomores) –

  1. Get involved early on at the University of Illinois – clubs, volunteering, and other student groups are all great ways to get involved on campus, gain leadership opportunities, and to get the most out of your college experience.
  2. Focus on your grades first and extracurricular activities second. Law schools want to see that you are primarily dedicated to academics and your schoolwork, but it can help to show that you are balanced and also committed to a few select groups. If you are a member of a dozen different groups, that shows a lack of commitment and could end up being a waste of your time.
  3. Join things that excite you or that you are passionate about. Pick something you know you are good at or want to learn more about. Try to capitalize on these opportunities during undergrad. There are more than 1,400 organizations at Illinois – try a few out early on and see what you like the best.
  4. Try to study abroad. 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.

When writing your resume, think about what you did that made an impact or what made your University of Illinois experience unique.


Need more things to add to your resume? Check out the Fall 2016 Illini Career & Internship Fair – TODAY! Wednesday October 26, 12:00pm – 4:00pm, ARC Gym 2

A fair focused on industries that recruit students from the liberal arts and humanities, media, education, and applied health sciences.

See the Career Center website for more information on employers attending and how to prepare for a career fair.