Tips To Draft An Attorney Resume Recruiters Will Love

How do you craft an attorney resume that recruiters will love? The following are tips designed to help you navigate through the do’s and don’ts of effective attorney resume writing.

Tip 1: Don’t Oversell

The biggest pet peeves recruiters have with attorney resumes are when attorneys oversell themselves on resumes. Legal recruiters want to get to the gist of your experience. Therefore, it is important that you be completely honest about it and not exaggerate or inflate anything. When attorneys are caught underselling, it is most often a case of not understanding how to best present information. In most cases, overstating one’s experience or abilities does not make a good impression on legal recruiters. Our advice: keep it honest and simple.

Tip 2: Know Who You Are

The second most common issue that legal recruiters run into when review attorney resumes is the “identify crisis resume.” This is where an attorney had done a lot of things, worked in various practice areas, and has a hard time defining who they are. How do you know if you are in this category? If you have so much information that your resume can’t fit in less than 3 pages, or you have a separate resume for your litigation, corporate, and intellectual property experience. While you can be a jack-of-all-trades, you need to form an identity when it comes to your resume. What sets you apart from other candidates? Where do you really bring value? You need to focus on you who are and what you bring to the table. A recruiter can’t effectively sell you if you don’t know who you are.

Tip 3: Make it an Attorney Resume

There are certain accepted standards that make a resume an attorney resume rather than say a business resume. You know that you are looking at a junior-level attorney resume when the resume starts with the education section, a J.D. followed by an undergraduate degree. You know that it is a senior-level attorney resume when it begins with the experience, followed by education. It’s clear immediately. If you want to see more regarding the rules of drafting a Perfect Legal Resume from A to Z, click here:

Tip 4: Include Your GPA

If It Makes Sense Whether you have been practicing for three years or thirty years, legal employers are credential conscious and it doesn’t go away. It follows you throughout your career. Therefore, your academic credentials have to be on your attorney resume. That said, when to include or leave off the GPA is another questions. A quick and simple test: include your GPA, for your undergraduate and law degree, if it’s above a 3.0. In other words, you should only mention your GPA if it’s a good one.

Tip 5: Only Include Relevant Honors and Accomplishments

Listing accomplishments and honors will do little to enhance your attorney resume, unless they are relevant and exceptional. In other words, you should avoid accomplishments that have nothing to do with your future career goal, your current job search, or those that do not enhance your candidacy. The fact that you have a real estate license, unless you practice real estate law, will only take valuable space on your resume. If you already graduate cum laude or magna cum laude, there is no need to include the fact that you were on the Dean’s list, it’s already assumed. No one cares about “Who’s Who,” honors societies, or the fact that you “graduated college in only three years.” Keep the extra space for information that is meaningful and relevant to your job search.

Tip 6: Don’t Include Extraneous Information

An attorney resume is not a curriculum vitae (CV). A resume is a one or two page summary of your skills, experience, and education. A resume is supposed to be brief and concise, while a CV reads more like a biography. Therefore, do not include photos, information about your age, or marital status. Leave off information related to politics or religious affiliations. Don’t bother discussing your hobbies or experience with Microsoft word. These are not only irrelevant, but they detract from what the attorney resume is about: selling your skills and experience as a lawyer. If you feel that strongly about these things, you can always discuss them during the course of an interview. Otherwise, save the space for bar admissions, publications, or other job-relevant information.

By: Leslie White

Date: 03/24/23