“This seems like a no-brainer but be sure you’re providing updated contact information – full legal name, address, email, phone, and LinkedIn profile link,” Edlin said. “It helps save administrative time if we decide to extend an offer of employment.”
Similarly, “add a professional voicemail message that confirms who a caller has reached and clear your voicemail inbox regularly so employers can leave you messages,” Priddy said.
5. Boost Your LinkedIn Presence.
In parallel, “complete your LinkedIn profile and add it to the contact section of your resume,” said the University of Miami School of Law Career Development Office.
“Make sure [it includes] a banner image, a good headshot, an about section, and links to any articles you have published,” Edlin said. Similarly, “Be active on the platform by posting/liking content and recognizing the accomplishments of contacts. Try to acquire at least 500 contacts,” Edlin said. “It helps to paint a picture of who you are and stay on the radar of employers.”
[Learn more about how to network effectively and use LinkedIn to get ahead in our Essential Career Toolkit.]
6. Be Truthful.
“Do not include anything that you do not want to discuss in an interview,” said the University of Miami School of Law Career Development Office. Similarly, “do not overexaggerate your language skills – you may be asked a question in whatever language you claim fluency.”
The same holds true for hobbies. “Make sure that any hobbies or interests on your resume are truthful – interviewers will likely ask for details,” Priddy said. “Even if you get hired, it may cost you the job later,” Wippler added.
7. Do Not Assume Reader Knowledge.
“Don’t assume that everybody assumes you have technical skills – if you have them, make sure you point them out,” said Chris M. Smith, partner and co-head of DLA Piper’s New York real estate practice.
“If you’ve done anything that is a little bit different, make sure it shows on your resume,” Smith added. “And if you have a connection at the firm, have them try to put in a good word for you.”
8. Customize the Content.
“Customize your resume for different employers by highlighting experiences relevant to the particular job an employer is seeking to fill,” said the University of Miami School of Law Career Development Office. The same holds true for the cover letter.
“Add something to your cover letter that relates your application to the organization or the law firm in a way that stands out from the generic cover letter,” said Efrén Olivares, deputy legal director of the Immigrant Justice Project at Southern Poverty Law Center. “That’s going to make a difference, and it’ll send your resume to the top of the pile.”
For further customization, “include a two- to three-sentence summary at the top [of the resume] that directly aligns with the job posting,” Edlin said. “Customize this section using keywords in the job description in a way that makes it clear you are a strong candidate for the opportunity.”
9. Reach for “Power” Words.
“Replace generic words with power words and action verbs – ‘advised,’ ‘advocated,’ ‘resolved,’ ‘advanced,’ ‘enhanced,’ ‘maximized,’ ‘achieved,’” said the University of Miami School of Law Career Development Office.
“Oftentimes, your resume is being scanned by machine learning/natural language processing programs that have been programmed to search for keywords, so include keywords you’d find in the job you want,” Edlin said. “Even if your CV is being reviewed by a decision-maker, it may get a one- to two-minute scan, so leverage that time by including keywords that will stand out.”
10. Focus on Relevant Experience.
“When describing prior work experience, include details that highlight your ability to lead and work with a team, collaborate with others, and provide client service,” said Lauren Marsh, director of attorney recruiting at Akin Gump.
“Some students may assume they have no relevant skills if they did not work before attending law school – however, they should be sure to highlight the comparable experience they gained through internships or college activities,” Marsh said. “These are skills we highly value in our candidates, and an indicator they have developed skills that will enable them to be successful at the firm.”
Also, “Where you went to school is not as important to me as what you did there, how you engaged with the community, organizations, and leadership development,” said Jason Starr, litigation director of Human Rights Campaign. “A strong academic record [is important], but what else about you demonstrates a real passion and a real willingness to dig in?”
11. Be Clear About Your Licensing Status.
“Depending upon where you are in the process, you can indicate it in several different ways, and update your resume as you move from one category to the next,” said Shauna C. Bryce, who practiced law and served on a law firm hiring committee before starting Bryce Legal Career Counsel.
“If you’ve been admitted to practice, are active and in good standing, then your bullet point is simple – something like this: ‘Bar Admission: California.’ If you have not yet applied to take the bar exam but are eligible to take it: ‘Eligible for July 2021 California bar exam.’”
“If you’ve submitted your application to sit for the exam but have not yet sat for the exam: ‘Candidate for July 2021 California bar exam.’ If you have sat for the exam but have not yet received the results: ‘Candidate for July 2021 California bar exam (results pending).’ If you have passed the exam, but not yet been sworn in: ‘California (admission pending).’
[Log in to Bloomberg Law to read the full article: Ask the Hiring Attorney: How do I show my bar status on my resume?]