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Lawyer Talk: Writing a Lawyer Resume

June 15, 2022 0 Comments

Applying for a legal job? Here are some useful tips to make your lawyer resume stand out for legal recruiters.

It takes time and effort to master resume writing, and given many of us land jobs we stay in for lengthy periods, when the time comes to change jobs or update our resume, the task can seem daunting.

Because it’s easy to fall out of resume writing practice, while there are essential aspects to it applicable to all professions, writing a lawyer resume comes with its own challenges.

So, here are some tips to ensure you put your best lawyer resume forward the next time you’re in the market for a legal job.

Keep it ‘brief’ and clean

Legal recruiters often have to work through scores of lawyer resumes, so the more succinct and cleanly laid out your lawyer resume is, the better.

Early and mid-career lawyers should try to keep resumes to 1-2 pages, remembering that just as when presenting a case in court, you should focus on the key aspects of the ‘case’ (i.e. you as a future employee!) that you’re presenting to the recruiter in a succinct fashion.

More senior lawyers may end up with longer resumes but even these should still be thought through carefully and summarise strengths rather than go into elaborate detail that will be teased out later in the recruitment process.

Lead with a profile and/or summary statement

Opening statements are a critical part of legal proceedings, and placing a personal statement about you at the head of your lawyer resume should be given the same importance.

Taking 2-4 sentences to summarise who you are as a lawyer by illustrating what you bring to the table and your main accomplishments means you will effectively summarise your resume and make the legal recruiter’s job just that bit easier.

And try to use action words – strong verbs such as ‘researched’, ‘ analysed’,  ’solved’,  ’investigated’, ‘implemented’ etc – while staying away from overused adverbs such as ‘highly’, ‘strongly’ etc. This also holds more broadly for your entire lawyer resume.

Gorilla Jobs Blog Writing A Lawyer Resume Woman Being Interviewed For Work With Employer Looking At Her Resume
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels

Ensure your lawyer resume is accurate and honest

While your resume might be in some ways a sales document to market or pitch you to a ‘buyer’ such as the hiring firm, it should not be full of marketing hype in an attempt to oversell what you bring.

Overstating or being too elaborate when presenting your experience is a tangled web that could lead you to stumble during the recruitment process.

Along the same vein as keeping your lawyer resume brief, ensure the details you provide are clear, authentic and pointed so that they are easy to replicate in an interview and also to elaborate on if called upon.

Don’t forget the extras: Education, skills and publications

Outlining your education is a given, although where you decide to place it in your resume will depend on how long ago you last studied and where you took out your degree from.

There is a tendency to put education before experience when it’s more recent and if the Law School you attended will raise eyebrows in a positive way. Wherever you place your academic experience, just as with your job experience, make sure it’s listed in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent first).

You should also include relevant professional skills, such as languages spoken (and proficiency) and specific technical (these are becoming more and more important), research or writing skills that make you stand out.

And, if you have a body of published work, list the most pertinent law articles or papers, especially as they relate to the role or firm you’re applying to.

Try to avoid using a proforma lawyer resume

Writing a base lawyer resume using the tips above is the foundation of your resume, but wherever possible update and tweak your resume each time you apply for a role.

And always proofread it at least twice, getting a second pair of eyes to look over it as it’s too easy to miss your own writer blind spots.

Gorilla Jobs Can Help You

We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!