12 Law School Resume Tips + Example
The top law schools have time and resources to handpick the best applicants for admission. The committee will pay attention to your LSAT score, GPA, letters of recommendations, and a resume. The latter often becomes a stumbling point even for the top students. The thing is, writing a resume for law school is different from writing one for employment. You have to emphasize a whole different characteristics and use a different writing style.
Whether you are looking to get accepted in Yale, Harvard, University of Chicago or other prestigious law school, you need to refine your resume so that it meets the high standards of such schools. Today, the experts of our online resume services will reveal the tips and tricks for writing a persuasive resume for your school application.
Get admitted with a professionally done resume
A resume isn’t the only decisive factor for a law school committee. Yet, a thoughtfully written and well organized resume that emphasizes your accomplishments will certainly attract their attention. To get such a resume, consider working with a professional resume creator from Resumeperk.com. Our writers know the specifics of writing resumes for law schools and will certainly help capitalize on your strengths.
Creating a resume that will get you noticed: Expert tips
1. Use the traditional resume sections
In a law school resume, main sections are the same as in a typical job search resume (however, it doesn’t mean that the content should be the same – we’ll talk about it later). These must-have sections include summary of qualifications, education, experience, and awards/accomplishments. Any other sections are optional – for instance, you may wish to include a Skills section if you have valuable or rare skills that can set you apart for the committee.
2. Prioritize the content based on what your school values
Each of the top schools has its values and expectations from the prospective students. For example, some prefer admitting experienced professionals, whereas others may pay more attention to community engagements, voluntary work or athletic accomplishments. Figure out what matters most for your school – and revolve the resume content around these details. Prioritization also means leaving out irrelevant experiences. While an employer might appreciate your experience in McDonalds, admission officers wouldn’t be much interested.
3. Highlight your academic accomplishments
What all schools pay attention to is your education section. Degrees, academic achievements, honors, scholarships, GPA, and thesis – all this adds points to your candidacy. List the degrees starting from the most advanced ones, and leave the high school information out. Include achievements such as Dean’s list, honor societies, student awards and contests, and more. You might want to include some coursework (such as Federal Income Tax, International Law or Business Associations) if relevant. List accomplishments under each degree, or create a separate “Honors/Awards” section if there’s plenty of them.
4. Emphasize other academic engagements
Do you have journal articles published, have you receive a grant or maybe, you were doing research work in the university and beyond? If these academic activities are relevant for your target law specialization, include them on a resume. Some schools pay attention to your academic and research background, so adding these details can influence your chance of getting admitted.
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5. Focus on relevant employment
Assuming that you have work experience, be sure to focus on the most relevant jobs. Part-time summer jobs which have little to do with your future specialization in a law schools should be left out. If you lack paid employment, list work performed as part of your scholastic responsibilities. This may include doing a research for your professor, participating in student organizations (such as Duke Bar Association or ABA Law Students Division) or a one-month internship. Doing public service or volunteering in a law office or a non-profit organization can also count as valuable experience.
6. Keep the length reasonable
For most applicants, a one-page resume for law school will suffice. This length allows you to present professional and educational history comprehensively. Yet, if you have extensive work experience or were involved in lots of relevant student activities, go for a second page. The rule of thumb here is to avoid filling the resume with less important details such as high school awards or irrelevant part-time jobs. Keep the content highly relevant, and if the second page is absolutely necessary, use it.
7. Don’t use the resume for your job applications
Although both the law school and employers require a resume, the purpose and approach to writing will be different. As mentioned above, law schools pay attention to academic achievements and relevance of your professional and educational history. On the contrary, employers expect different things from job seekers. They want to see hard skills, communication abilities, and willingness to take initiative in the workplace. Thus, the structure of the document, writing style and the content you’ll include will be different in these two situations.
8. Use plain English
An essential ability of any lawyer is to communicate clearly and persuade. That’s exactly what you should do in your resume for a law school. Avoid jargon and abbreviations which may not be familiar to the readers. Don’t use sophisticated language for the sake of it – “Conceptualized the implementation of a new feature” when a simple “Added a new feature” could be used. Using plain language serves the communication purpose betters. It helps the reader understand your career history and responsibilities, even if it’s a field unfamiliar to them.
9. Place your awards and accomplishments above the fold
Admissions officers spend more time reviewing each resumes than the hiring managers do. Yet, they still can overlook your important accomplishment or a skill if you place them at the bottom of the resume. So, be sure to list the key information in the top third of the document. If it’s the set of skills that you expect to impress the committee with, create a Skills section under the summary. If you have plenty of school or work accomplishments, mention them either on a summary or in a separate section.
10. Add specific professional accomplishments
The descriptions of your past jobs shouldn’t consist of job duties only. You also need to mention at least a few specific achievements. Instead of writing “Generated new business”, say “Increased business with existing clients by 25%”. Such specific details show your ambition and orientation on results, which is important both in the workplace and in academia. Moreover, such achievements set you apart from other applicants whose experience and education is similar to yours.
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11. Don’t add social media on resume
Adding social media links to a professional resume makes sense in some cases. If you’re a social media manager or marketer who wants to boast the popularity of your personal Instagram page, it’s okay to add it. Yet, keep all social links out if you’re writing a resume for law school. It’s unprofessional and simply pointless.
Yet, omitting the link doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care of your online presence. Be sure to review all your online accounts critically and remove anything inappropriate or controversial, such as party pictures. Read our guide on how can internet help build career for more tips.
12. Have a professional review your resume
If you’re writing a resume for application for the first time, it will be helpful for you to get an external opinion about it. An external perspective is important for spotting mistakes or any other issues you might have overlooked. For instance, you can send a resume for review to our company that offers proficient resume help for college students. Our expert will critically evaluate your resume and tell what could be improved about it to maximize your chances for admission. This service is free of charge.
Example of a resume for law school
To get an idea of what looks good on a resume for school application, take a look at the example below:
As you see, this applicant uses a brief summary to introduce themselves. They list education in the first place, listing academic achievements under each degree. They also list relevant courses to highlight their extensive training in the relevant field.
In Work Experience section, each bullet point starts with a strong action verb and is very detailed in terms of responsibility. Note that the resume uses a conservative black and white format, no gimmicks.
Bonus: How to succeed in law school?
Your study in a law school can be an extremely rewarding experience if you approach the studying process right. To become an effective student, follow the recommendations below:
1. Read all the assigned materials
More importantly, do the reading on time. Law schools have extensive curriculum, so if you delay the reading for a week or two, you’ll find it very tough to catch up with your classmates. Find a distraction-free location for reading – if you’re being interrupted all the time, it’ll take you longer to read and concentrate. Take notes as you read – it helps you prioritize the information and remember more.
2. Revise before class
Revise the notes you’ve taken as you read textbooks or during the previous lectures. This will help your brain focus even before the lecture begins. As a result, you’ll feel more concentrated and involved in the discussion during the lecture. And being actively involved helps you understand better and grasp new concepts more quickly.
3. Pay attention and take notes
At times, lectures can be boring. Yet, procrastinating and surfing the web isn’t the most effective way to spend the lecture time. Pay attention to what the professor is saying and ask questions at once if something isn’t clear. Take notes of the key concepts, books and learning strategies the tutor recommends. Taking recommendations from your professor will help you study effectively.
4. Treat networking seriously
Studying in a law school isn’t all about classes. It’s also a tremendous opportunity to build your professional network early on and establish your reputation. Take your time to get to know your peers, tutors and senior students better. Participate in extracurricular activities to expand your network and build connections. Once you graduate, you’ll find it easier to land a job or an internship if you know many professionals in your field.
5. Stay organized
The number of classes and written assignments can overwhelm. To stay on top of everything, get a planner or use an app. Keep track of your assignments, projects, exams, and other important activities. In this case, you won’t forget anything and will organize the learning process effectively. Thus, you’ll find it easier to get everything done on time and get higher grades.
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