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How to Write an Outstanding Entry-Level Attorney Resume
By Hardeep Singh Arora
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A poorly drafted resume may prevent you from ever having the chance to demonstrate your interpersonal skills.

The following article provides tips to help recent law school graduates compose resumes for entry-level attorney jobs. Candidates for law jobs need to pay careful attention to how they design and edit their resumes. Additionally, any candidate applying for an entry-level attorney job must consider whether he or she wants to create a chronological, functional, or corporate resume.

Your resume is a marketing tool, not your autobiography. Neither is it a passport to a new job. Your resume is purely a way of making you visible as a valuable asset to a hiring law firm, corporation, or other prospective employer. Therefore, your resume should be so attractively worded and designed that it immediately captures the reader's attention and sets you apart as a competent professional. But before you can boost your image, highlight your achievements, or sell your assets, you must first understand the basics of entry-level attorney resumes.

Your resume introduces you to the people who might eventually hire you. Your resume makes your first impression on a prospective employer. Though you may be intelligent, articulate, and charming in person, a poorly drafted resume may prevent you from ever having the chance to demonstrate your interpersonal skills. While few attorneys have ever been hired solely based on their resumes, a well-written, strategically organized resume can go a long way toward helping you land an interview.

A resume that is concise and straightforward will usually be the one that gets noticed.

Resume styles have changed dramatically over the years. The all-purpose or one-size-fits-all resume is slowly heading toward extinction. The generic resume is being replaced by the targeted resume, a brief and focused resume customized for a specific employment goal. No longer do recruiters have the time or patience to read several pages detailing your life's story. Time is a precious commodity in today's world, and the resume that is concise and straightforward will usually be the one that gets noticed.

However, do not make the mistake of assuming that writing a brief resume means you can take less care in drafting it. Creating a winning resume takes time and thought, and if you are willing to put in the effort, the rewards are well worth it. Think of your resume as a marketing tool for a high-quality, in-demand product: you. You want to sell your skills to a prospective employer.

There are three commonly used and accepted formats for entry-level attorney resumes:
  1. Chronological: This is the resume style most attorneys use and most recruiters expect. This format stresses dates and employment history in reverse order, beginning with the most recent information. It emphasizes firm names and job titles and includes a brief synopsis of each position and its primary responsibilities.

  2. Functional: The farther you are from the perfect attorney, the more you will need to depart from the chronological format. The functional format includes firm names, job titles, and dates but organizes work experience differently by highlighting accomplishments or competencies.

  3. Corporate: Resumes in this format are sometimes called hybrid resumes because they blend the best parts of the traditional chronological format with certain elements of the functional resume.

Your resume's primary purpose is to help get you an interview. The rest is purely up to you and the employer. If you both feel that you are perfect for the job and the job is perfect for you, chances are you will be hired.

On the Net

Resume Sample — Entry-Level Management

Resume Types: Chronological, Functional, Combination, Targeted

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