Whether you’re a first-year student just getting started on the job search process or an upper-level student finishing up a busy semester of new activities, honors, and engaged learning experiences, now is a great time to take a few minutes to draft, update, and fine-tune your resume. Remember, your resume is a marketing piece that should highlight your key strengths and skills as relates to a specific employer or position. It is a “living, breathing document” and a document that should evolve over time and throughout your job search. With each iteration of the document, keep in mind the following:
- Format matters. Your resume should use a professional format and it should be readable. Use discretion in your use of bold and italics, and be consistent throughout the document. Consult the OCP’s Resume Checklist and Examples in the Resources section of CareerConnect for a list of basic format items to follow.
- The Basics Matter. Read, re-read, and have someone else re-read. Your resume must be error free and without typos. Attention to detail means paying attention to the basics.
- Be Honest and think critically. Employers expect you to honestly present the experiences, activities, and skills that are most relevant to them. That requires you to use your critical thinking skills and make difficult decisions about when to leave something off of the resume. Showcase your strengths!
- Quantify and focus on outcomes. Demonstrate the impact you’ve had! For tips on quantifying when you don’t regularly work with numbers, check out this article.
If you are a first-year student, remember that non-legal experience is important and relevant! Talk with the Office of Career Planning about transferable skills and how to demonstrate them. Upper-level students, you should work on describing your experiences in a substantive way. Don’t assume that employers will “just know” what it means to be a law clerk at a particular organization. Take the time to articulate your strengths and accomplishments – talk with us if you’re having trouble.
Remember that when you upload your resume to CareerConnect, it flags it for review by the Office of Career Planning. We love to talk in-person about resume documents, too, so stop by with a new version and let’s talk about changes you’ve made!