3 Errors You’re Making In Your Authorized Resume (And How To Repair Them)


In final week’s column, I mentioned the methods for writing a basic counsel resume. I obtained dozens of messages and extra questions. A few of these questions centered round resume format, size, and magnificence. I wished to spend this week diving into the widespread errors I see in authorized resumes and how one can repair them.

Modernize Your Resume Font And Formatting

Once I graduated regulation faculty in 2003, my resume was in Garamond (a variation of Instances New Roman), and my headings have been formatted as a column with left justification. I saved utilizing that template (which I acquired from my regulation faculty profession providers) all through my 12 years of follow. Many authorized resumes nonetheless comply with that exact same format.

In immediately’s digital age, we should abandon the resume template from the Nineties and early 2000 eras. For one, it causes an excessive amount of eye shifting to find out the place headings finish and the place they start. Second, Instances New Roman and Garamond are thought-about outdated. In 2015, I used to be quoted in a HuffPost article that deemed Instances New Roman the sweatpants of resume fonts. In essence, whereas it’s a snug font and sometimes the default, it doesn’t give off the most effective presentation. As an alternative, use a sans serif font (Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, and so on.) in your resume as a result of there is no such thing as a curvature within the letters to constrict the digital readability.

Along with utilizing a modernized resume font, centering your headlines on your “Skilled Expertise” and “Training” sections are higher. It’s because a reader’s eyes naturally gaze on the middle of a web page. I’m an enormous proponent of constructing the headlines clear as they separate sections inside the resume, making it simpler for the human eye to parse by means of. Think about using subsections in case you have extra profession expertise which will differentiate you (e.g., prior profession as an accountant or monetary advisor). The secret is to play into the psychology of the reader and make the resume as readable as doable.

Two-Web page Resumes Are The Norm For Attorneys

Except you might be an entry-level legal professional, chances are high your resume shall be two pages. Don’t attempt squeezing all the knowledge right into a single web page simply to suit that one-page fantasy. Your resume must be so long as it must be with the intention to correctly convey your expertise. When you’ve been in follow for 20-plus years, your resume might have a 3rd web page to convey your talking engagements, publications, and board management expertise whereas preserving the meat and potatoes of your resume on the primary two pages. Remember the fact that the highest third of your resume (above the fold) is prime actual property so that you can present a roadmap into your profession highlights and bestselling profession belongings. Consider it because the again of a guide jacket that gives the abstract to entice the reader. This permits the reader to have a short introduction into the essence of who you might be.

Give Examples Of Transactions

Most authorized resumes fall flat in offering help of key outcomes, key outcomes, and key transactions. These resumes will usually have 10 to fifteen bullet factors of obligations that learn like a job posting. It’s not sufficient to say you ready pleadings, took and defended depositions, and drafted motions for abstract judgment. Take into consideration the outcomes of the dispositive motions, or whenever you second chaired a trial and argued a movement in limine. Think about main transactions you’ve led or labored on — showcase the valuation and impression it had on your shopper (with out violating any attorney-client privilege). The secret is to present weight to the work you’ve finished in a summarized trend with not more than 4 to 6 bullet factors per function. The additional again you go, the extra distant issues develop into, and the much less element is important. For instance, in the event you’re a regulation agency companion or a basic counsel, the stuff you probably did 15-plus years in the past as a budding junior affiliate shall be far much less related to your government and enterprise management in the event you’re making use of to your dream function as a chief authorized officer. Keep in mind, your resume ought to construct sufficient element and context round your expertise that it offers a snapshot which might later be expanded on an interview. It doesn’t want to incorporate a laundry listing of all the pieces you’ve finished.

In terms of writing a authorized resume, or any resume for that matter, 85% of it’s technique — figuring out what your viewers is on the lookout for in a goal candidate in addition to understanding particular targets to hit in your resume for particular practical ability units. It’s a distinctive ability, and writing your personal resume is hard since you’re taking a look at it from a subjective viewpoint as a substitute of the target lens of the interviewer.

Have a follow-up query for me? Attain out by way of LinkedIn.

Wendi Weiner is an legal professional, profession skilled, and founding father of The Writing Guru, an award-winning government resume writing providers firm. Wendi creates highly effective profession and private manufacturers for attorneys, executives, and C-suite/Board leaders for his or her job search and digital footprint. She additionally writes for main publications about different careers for legal professionals, private branding, LinkedIn storytelling, profession technique, and the job search course of. You may attain her by e-mail at [email protected], join together with her on LinkedIn, and comply with her on Twitter @thewritingguru.


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