The legal industry is deluged with qualified job candidates, so learning how to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack is crucial. Here is Assigned Counsel’s list of the top four tips to keep in mind when updating your resume.
- Write a strong executive summary statement.
Our recruiting attorneys place a heavy emphasis on the executive summary portion of legal resumes as it is typically the first item hiring managers read. The summary gives you a few sentences to highlight your professional accomplishments, relevant experience, and skill sets, which you can later expand upon in your cover letter. In such an active industry, many legal hiring managers don’t have the time to read blocks of text and will usually scan a resume for just a few seconds. Get noticed by explaining your core strengths in a concise, powerful way. You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression, so it’s important to think carefully about the words you choose, and to tailor your summary to each specific job listing.
- Give examples of your accomplishments.
Don’t just list a set of mundane duties that you performed. Give concrete, hard evidence of your success in that role, and be specific. Instead of saying, “developed litigation strategies for each case,” try including a measurable result: “developed litigation strategies and obtained favorable settlements in 80% of cases.” Additionally, never exaggerate your success, and be ready to explain your examples during an interview.
- Ask for a second set of eyes.
No matter how many times you proofread your resume, you are still likely to have missed something. Ask a friend to edit your resume and cover letters, or, better yet, look to your legal recruiter for advice on how to best tailor your materials for the legal position you are seeking. Don’t let a typo keep you from seizing that perfect role.
- Present a polished social media presence.
Finally, don’t forget about your online resume. As we do business in an increasingly digital world, the methods once used by hiring managers to select the right candidate are changing. Resumes and cover letters are no longer the only tools used to gauge a candidate’s qualifications. Your resume highlights your professional accomplishments, but your digital presence rounds out your entire story. You and another candidate could have similar success on paper, but if one of you has a more robust LinkedIn profile, or better polished Twitter and Facebook accounts, that person might have the edge. So, perform a Google search on yourself to see what information is returned and identify the aspects of your digital presence you can enhance.
At Assigned Counsel, our experienced recruiting attorneys can help you stand out in a competitive legal job market. What do you think are the most important details to include in a resume? Let us know in the comments below. And, be on the lookout for the next two blogs in our job hunt series: Top Cover Letter Tips and Top Interview Tips.