In addition to those sections of the resume that are discussed in other articles on this site, there are additional items and/or categories you may want to include in your resume. Bar admissions, community service activities, volunteer work, publications, presentations/lectures, and references are among the things you might consider adding. When deciding whether or not to include supplemental information, ask yourself how relevant it is to the position you are seeking. Make sure to keep in mind that you want everything you list on your resume to illustrate one or more of these attributes:
1) Leadership 2) Responsibility 3) Skill 4) Achievement
If you can't think of any reason to put something on your resume other than the mere fact that you did it, it shouldn't be there.
Legal resumes often feature a section that indicates a candidate's bar status. If you've been practicing a while, this is a no-brainer. Simply list the state(s) in which you are licensed, followed by the month and year of admission.
Massachusetts State Bar, October 2000
Pennsylvania State Bar, October 1999
If you are a new law school graduate applying for jobs, you will want to indicate which state's bar exam you plan on taking and when you plan on taking it:
Sitting for July 2003 New York State Bar Examination
Once you've taken the bar exam, you can indicate that as such:
Sat for July 2003 New York Bar Examination; awaiting results
If you are applying to jobs after passing the bar, but before being fully admitted, you can convey your status as follows:
Passed July 2003 New York Bar Examination; admission pending
Finally, you can also indicate if you have been admitted to practice in certain courts.
Community Service/Volunteer Work
This is a section that can drastically vary in importance and length depending on the job-seeker. If you have volunteered a day or two at a soup kitchen or walked dogs at an animal shelter, this section is unnecessary (unless you lack experience). Rather than create an entire section for this type of work, you should place it in your Education section (if you participated in these projects during school) or add it to an Activities section, if you include it at all.
If you have done extensive community work and/or you are planning to pursue a career in public interest law, you will want to focus on this section more heavily. You may want to include it in your Experience section, particularly if you don't have much work experience. Or you can create a separate category in which to highlight your work in the community.
Publications are more important in some fields than in others. If you are looking for an academic position in particular, you will want to emphasize your publications as much as possible. Intellectual property is another field that values publication. In general, publishing an article on a particular topic helps define you as an expert in that field. Also, if you are a recent graduate, a publication will help vouch for your research and writing skills.
If you meet any of the following criteria, you should consider creating a separate Publications section in your resume:
- You have published more than two works;
- You are looking for a position in a particular field, and you have published on topics pertaining to this field; or
- You lack experience and need to fill up your resume as much as possible.
If you are looking for an insurance position and you published an article on copyright law in 1980, that publication is not going to be of much importance. Whereas, if you've published frequently on the topic of insurance law, you will want to create a publications section that prominently displays that information.
If publications play less of a role in your particular situation, you should still include them, but you may not need to give them much space on your resume. If you published a note or comment in a law review or a journal you worked on, for instance, you can include the publication in the Education section underneath the journal name. Or if you authored an article as part of a particular position, you may want to include it as part of your job description:
Remember to stick to relevant and/or impressive publications. If you published something that doesn't directly relate to law, but that would still be deemed impressive, such as an article in a known magazine or a book, then go ahead and include it. If you wrote a poem that's posted on your friend's website, however, it doesn't belong on your resume.
If you have given presentations and/or lectures on topics in the legal profession, including this information on your resume will help to establish you as an expert in a particular field. In addition, it will show that you are a confident public speaker.
Depending on the number of presentations or lectures you've given, you can either combine these with your publications in a dual "Publications/Presentations" section or, if you have an extensive list, you can summarize and/or quantify your presentations.
It is recommended that you not include references on your resume. As a courtesy to your references, you should wait to provide their names and contact information until the interview stage-at which point you can inform them of who will be calling and give them some background information on the job you interviewed for. Although employers would rarely ever contact your references before speaking with you first, you don't want to run the risk of having your references caught off guard, as it may negatively affect the quality of the reference. If you want to mention a particular reference because you know that this person has a connection to the company/firm you are applying to, or is very renowned, include this person's name in your cover letter instead.
You also don't need to state "References available upon request" on your resume. It is assumed that you will be able to provide references if asked for them.