Keys To Writing A Stellar Law School Resume
When we submit resumes, we imagine reviewers hunting for jaw-dropping GPAs and big name extracurriculars and employers. In reality, they’re hoping for something else: Simplicity.
No one wants to pore over a jumbled resume. The structure sends a message bigger than any accomplishment. It reflects three things: the level of discipline, respect, and seriousness you carry into any opportunity.
“…well-written, concise and engaging.” That’s how Peg Cheng, author of The No B.S. Guides to Law School, describes the perfect law school essay. In a recent column on the Ms. JD website, Cheng sets one goal for a law school resume: “being remembered.”
And the easiest way to be remembered? Start by making your resume easy to digest in a glance. Cheng suggests breaking your resume into two main sections: “Education and Experience.” Under these categories, you can include experiences like “college education, jobs, internships, study abroad experiences, research positions, volunteer positions, leadership positions, awards, skills, and more.” If you’ve accrued several years of work experience after graduation, Cheng recommends relaying “your experiences in the last 8–10 years and listing the other experiences without descriptions.”
Second, Cheng emphasizes qualifying and quantifying your responsibilities. In qualifying your work, you outline how your skills benefited your employers and customers. In quantifying your accomplishments, you “[use] numbers to give the reader an idea of the amount or scope of the work that you did.” In other words, you write verbiage that’s specific enough to establish a context and evoke a mental image. Here is an example of quantifying a task: “Prepared custom coffee and tea beverages for up to 180–220 customers per shift.”
Finally, Cheng tackles the age-old question: Should a law school resume be one page or more? To answer, she applies a familiar law school tenet: “It depends.” According to Cheng, the answer varies by admissions officer. “Some are fine with three pages,” Cheng notes, “others want just one page, and still others say two pages max. In the end, follow the school’s directions. If the directions aren’t clear, call or email the admissions office at that school.”
Source: Ms. JD
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