Category Archives: Application Materials

Legal Resumes Don’t Need Objectives

I cringe when a student hands me a resume that devotes a full paragraph to an objective statement.  First, objectives are not utilized in the legal field as they once were in the business arena.  Moreover, you will note that I said “once were” because they are in fact outdated across the board.  Take the objective statement off and use that space to talk about your specific work experiences and the skills you practiced.  Or relate a couple of personal interests or other skills you might have.  This information is far more impressive than a vague, esoteric statement about what your want to accomplish or achieve, which is purely subjective and utterly meaningless.

Is Your Resume Outdated?

Resumes are often a law firm’s first glimpse of you, so it is important to make a great first impression.  In the next few blogs, I will share some tips on how to keep your resume from appearing outdated. 

For example, it is a myth that your resume must include every single job experience you ever had.  A resume is your opportunity to highlight experiences that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.  As such, you should carefully select those work experiences which were meaningful and which reflect the skills and abilities needed to perform the job.  Including too many experiences can overshadow the more important ones.  Ask yourself what the experience demonstrates about you and whether it is necessary for this position.

Ray’s Resume Tips: Using the Format Painter

Ray Adams is a fellow Career Services Counselor who has a tremendous amount of knowledge about resumes and formatting in Word.  From time to time, Ray will be a guest blogger to share some of his tips.

Once you set your tab in one location in your document, you do not have to repeat the entire process for all of your current and previous employment.  Use the format Painter!  The Format Painter is a great tool for resumes or any document where you will be doing a lot of formatting and it’s easy to use!  The Format Painter allows you to select a portion of text and copy all of the formatting in that text.  The Format Painter is located under the “Home” tab on the top left of your word toolbar. Click it once and you can “paint” the format once.  Click it twice and you can “paint” the format multiple times.

Ray’s Resume Tips: Setting Tabs For Consistency & Appearance

Ray Adams is a fellow Career Services Counselor who has a tremendous amount of knowledge about resumes and formatting in Word.  From time to time, Ray will be a guest blogger to share some of his tips.

Using Tabs is an easy way to give your resume a clean, organized and consistent appearance.  It is very easy to do and will make some of your other law school projects easier too.

Many resumes I review have the appearance of a tabbed and organized look, but on closer inspection, the preparer “spaced” the text over to give the text a “tabbed look.”  This is problematic for a couple of reasons.  First, if the fort size or font type is changed, on the next line it will be impossible to line up everything exactly the same by only using the space bar.  As a result, the consistency of the format is compromised.  Also, if the user wants to enter more text or set an indent, the spaced text will shift.

Further, if the document is sent to a potential employer in word format and the employer works with paragraph marks in the document, it will be clear to the employer that the preparer does not know how to use Microsoft Word (P.S.—this is why you should ALWAYS send your resume in PDF format).

Example: Setting a tab on your right-hand margin

Instructions

  1. Right-click the area of your document where you would like to insert a tab. When the text box opens up, select “paragraph”
  2. On the bottom left of the text box you will see a selection for “Tabs.”  Click on it
  3. Under “tab stop position” you will want to enter the measurement of your right hand margin.  For example, if you are working with 1” margins, you will want to enter 6.5”.
  4. Next, in the same window below “tab stop position” you will see an “alignment” option.  Click the “right” option.
  5. Now, your cursor should be lined up on your right hand margin and when you type your text it should enter from right to left.

Elements of a Social Media Strategy

First, consider the purpose of the particular social media platform.  Is it for professional or personal use?  Who is your target audience?  For personal use, Facebook is most popular.  For professional purposes, LinkedIn is the medium of choice.  When possible, limit yourself to those two.  Twitter is an option, but can be a minefield prone to accidental tweets, as demonstrated in recent politics. 

Next, choose your profile photo wisely.  For LinkedIn, a professional close-up headshot is preferable.  For Facebook, the photograph can be more informal, as long as you are appropriately attired and not engaging in any questionable acts.  Follow this same rule of thumb for all photos posted to your Facebook account, not just the profile shot.  As for the information in your profile, be selective in what you reveal.  If you would not want a potential employer to know certain information about you, you should not include it on Facebook.  Despite your privacy settings, employers often find ways to view your online posts, perhaps by having a mutual acquaintance who is a friend of yours pull up the page for them.  And remember that “digital dirt” can follow you for decades.   So keep it clean online! 

By following this simple social media strategy, you can optimize your marketability to law firms.  To get started, review your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts today and remove any unsuitable information.