What’s New In Attorney Resumes?

What are the new trends for attorney resumes in 2012? While opinions tend of different on what an attorney resume should contain, how long it should be, and how it should be formatted, there are some best practices when it comes to creating an attorney resume in 2012. Those best practices and elements include the following:

Keep The Professional Summary Short and To The Point

Attorney resumes that contain long introductory career objectives or professional summaries are outdated. Rather than list all of your qualities with lots of adjectives and adverbs, get to the point by highlighting only accomplishments and facts that are relevant to the job you are applying to. A 2012 attorney resume is not a biography, but rather a document used to sell your skills as they relate to a particular job. Therefore, keep it brief and to the point.

Make Sure You Quantify Your Various Achievements

If your attorney resume simply lists what you’ve done, without using numbers or proof, then it’s time to revise it. "Saved outside counsel fees by 35 percent through negotiated alternative billing arrangements" is better than "Saved significant outside counsel fees." You need to stay away from using generic descriptions, and instead quantify or explain your results, processes, efficiency, etc. The more you can provide proof of actual results, the more effective your attorney resume will become.

Cover Letters Are Once Again Trendy

The proverbial question about whether one needs a cover letter is likely to continue. While some legal employers claim not to bother with them, others find it a sign of laziness when one isn’t included. At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You will never be penalized for including a good cover letter, but the opposite might actually be true. An effective attorney cover letter is yet another opportunity to sell yourself. While it’s usually best to keep your attorney cover letter to one-page, make sure that the content does contain some substance. All too often attorneys get away with sending the same cover letter to all the jobs they are applying to, which devalues it and renders it useless. To make you cover letter effective take the time to tailor the cover letter to the actual job you are sending it to.

Don’t Forget to Include Keywords In Your Attorney Resume

The first read of your attorney resume is likely to be conducted very quickly, by someone who does not have a legal background, or through an applicant tracking system. Therefore, if that reader, human or electronic, can match your attorney resume with the job requirements and check off the same keywords, you are more likely to be selected for an interview. Rather than include a lot of skills or legal jargon about your experience, focus instead on the keywords in the job posting. You don’t want to cut-and-paste those in your attorney resume and cover letter, but you nevertheless need to include them in both documents to ensure that they are being properly identified.

Don’t Get Too Creative With Formatting and Visuals

More people are using tools to help illustrate their work history through sites that provide colorful resumes. These sites offer tools to help individuals present the information on their resumes in a unique way that stands out. However, when it comes to attorney resumes legal employers still favor traditional formats that are easy to read and process in a database. While you can play around a bit with the formatting to make it more visually appealing, stay away from strong colors, using too many, or making it look like a graphic artist’s resume.

Make Sure to Include Your Resume In Social Media Sites

If you are an unemployed attorney looking for work, you need to use social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, to promote yourself. If you are currently employed and want to keep your search confidential, you can still use social media, such as LinkedIn as a means to give updates on your career or connect with other professionals. In that case, be sure to bulk up the content of your LinkedIn profile, and increase the numbers of recommendations to make stand out to potential employers.

By: Claire Bellon

Date: 06/24/22