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Organization and presentation of content is a key component of an effective resume. Remember that a resume is not only intended to provide the reader with a comprehensive presentation of your background, but also with an easy- to-read navigational tool that allows him/her to never lose sight of major accomplishments. Below you will find suggestions on how you can make your resume even more effective. Objectives Gone are the days of "objectives," a sentence or two at the beginning of a resume that states what the job seeker is looking for in a position. The reason objectives are not favored is that they break the golden rule: Show employers what you can do for them. Objectives are also fairly useless. If your resume and cover letter are well written, your objective should be clear. Finally, objectives are limiting. By describing one particular type of position, you may be excluding yourself from other positions within the same law firm or company that would also match your interests and skills. Instead of an objective, more and more legal job seekers are employing summary sections in their resumes. When employers receive upwards of 100 resumes per day for advertised positions, they don't have much time to devote to each one. Rather than just informing the employer of what you are looking for, a brief and well-written summary will highlight your relevant strengths,
grab the employer's attention, and make him/her want to continue reading the rest of your resume
in more detail. Gpa
One of the most popular questions asked is whether or not GPA and/or class rank should be included on legal resumes. Obviously, if you have a fantastic GPA/class rank, you will want to highlight that. Likewise, if you have a horrible GPA/class rank, you will want to hide that. Most people, however, fall somewhere in between, and this is where the confusion comes in. Job applicants fear that if they don't include grade information, employers will think they did horribly. Conversely, they fear that if they include average grade information, employers will automatically disqualify them. Both of these thoughts are valid. As a general guideline, if you are a law student or a recent graduate and your law school GPA is above 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, it should be included. Typically a 3.0 represents a B, and therefore anything higher is considered good. There are other factors to consider, however. In order to figure out what's best to do in your situation, you need to factor in the other items on your resume, as well as what your particular GPA means to your particular school. More and more law schools are turning to unique grading systems that differ from the typical 4.0 scale. Even within the 4.0 scale, the curves can be drastically different. At one law school, a 3.6 could mean Top 10%, while at another, a 3.1 could mean Top 10%. For this reason, a GPA is not always the best indicator of your performance in law school. If you did well in school, the best and clearest way to indicate as such is through your class rank. If you see 3/184 or Top 15%, you automatically understand that this person excelled in his/her studies in comparison to his/her peers. If your GPA was only average, yet you won a few academic awards, excelled in moot court, and participated on a law journal, employers are going to assume that you did well in law school. Not including your GPA won't cause anyone to think you performed horribly, because it is clear that you excelled in certain areas. Therefore, if your GPA isn't very high, it is probably safe to exclude it. As an alternative to GPA, you can also list specific courses in which you received honors or high grades. Great work experience can also make up for a less-than-stellar GPA. Maybe you didn't do so well in the classroom, but you tore up the legal clinic you participated in, and you come highly recommended from the firm you worked at as a summer law clerk. In that case, you might want to forgo the GPA in favor of fleshing out your Experience section as much as possible.
Make sure you're consistent! The consistency factor is one thing that can work for or against you in shaping the assumption that employers will make regarding your GPA.
EDUCATION New York Law School, New York, New York Juris Doctor University of
Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland Master of Fine Arts GPA: 3.8/4.0 Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA Bachelor of Arts GPA: 3.5/4.0 The fact that the bachelor's and master's GPAs are listed, but the law school GPA is not, leads one to believe that this student did terribly in law school. Otherwise, why wouldn't it be included? Keeping in mind the consistency factor, you don't want employers to think that you omitted your GPA because it was bad. Normally, your old college courses go on your transcript along with the course equivalences if there are any. Your new school gives you a new GPA from scratch. If you're applying to jobs, they will likely want to see transcripts from both schools. However, you should not have any problem indicating the GPA from the law school you actually graduated from. Experience
Experience doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of a paid position. When you begin evaluating your experience, make sure you take into account each and every aspect of your background that has contributed to your accumulation of knowledge or skill. Don't be afraid to elaborate! While you don't want your resume to read like you think the person viewing it is uneducated, you also don't want to assume that the person reading your resume has insight into what you've done. There are zillions of jobs in the world, and no two are exactly alike. Two people given the same title and job description are still going to contribute their own uniqueness to the position.
We recommend using para-bullet format where we
briefly sum up your position in paragraph format, then use bullets for your most marketable attributes - results of the duties listed in the paragraph. This strategy separates the duties from the results and really highlights your key accomplishments, making them easy to find when the resume is quickly scanned. Employers have
little time and patience for reviewing resumes, so make sure they can get as much as possible out of yours very quickly. Formatting We
recommend a more professional design or look-and-feel to the document to provide a more executive impression. A lot can be done with the formatting and design to improve first visual impression while still maintaining a conservative appearance. Employers expect you to have a more pulled- together, slick presentation of yourself because they expect you to give a professional presentation to clients and others with whom you would be dealing at your target level. Visual impression is the first impression so make it good.
Give as much detail as you need to ensure that the person reading your resume will understand your achievements for what they are.
Consistency is key If you spell a word in a certain way, or present information in a certain way, make sure that you spell the word and present the information in the exact same way throughout the entire document. Speaking of spacing, I thought that the overall spacing between sections, headings, and positions needed fixing. I usually start with 8 point between all sections, schools listed, and positions listed. I use a much smaller sized space (2 to 4 point) under the section headers. You can then adjust as you go. Just remember, if you change the spacing between 2 positions, do it all over. Formatting of resume has to be consistent.