Dos and Don'ts of a Law School Resume

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Some schools require that applicants submit a law school resume, but even if not requested, you should most likely send one anyway. Why? Because a resume can give you an added chance to show the admissions officers that you’re prepared to come into their school and make a difference.

Indeed, this short summary of your professional and personal qualifications can end up being a very important component of your file, so you want to dedicate some time to putting forth the best law school resume you can.

What follows are some tips for preparing your law school resume, namely what you should and shouldn’t do.

What You Should and Shouldn't Do

1. DO set aside a couple hours to sit down and think about all the things you’d like to include on your law school resume. Start by asking yourself these questions for information-gathering purposes.

2. DO organize your resume using the sections Education, Honors & Awards, Employment, and Skills & Achievements. 

3. DO emphasize activities, hobbies, interests, or experiences that demonstrate personal drive, responsibility, determination, dedication, language proficiency, compassion, extensive travel (especially international), cultural experiences, and community involvement.

4. DO proofread your resume several times and ask someone you trust to do so as well.

5. DO worry about presentation. For example, if you’re putting periods at the ends of bullet points, make sure you do so for each and every one.

For more tips on what you should be looking for besides spelling and grammar errors, see the Law School Resume Style Guide.

6. DON’T simply use a work resume that you’ve been using and updating for years. You need to gear your resume to law school admissions officers, who are looking for different things than potential employers are.

7. DON’T include “Objective” or “Summary of Qualifications” sections. These are great in work resumes, but they serve absolutely no purpose in a law school resume and only take up valuable space.

8. DON’T include activities from high school unless they are extremely significant, like winning a national debate competition or performing at a very high athletic level.

9. DON’T include activities you only did for a short time or a long list of insignificant summer jobs. You can sum up such things in just a sentence or so if you really want to include them.

10. DON’T go longer than two pages. For most law school applicants, one page is plenty, but if you’ve been out of school for a considerable amount of time or have an unusual number of significant life experiences, a second page is fine. Very few people should go to that third page, though.

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Fabio, Michelle. "Dos and Don'ts of a Law School Resume." ThoughtCo, Dec. 17, 2017, thoughtco.com/law-school-resume-dos-and-donts-2154731. Fabio, Michelle. (2017, December 17). Dos and Don'ts of a Law School Resume. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/law-school-resume-dos-and-donts-2154731 Fabio, Michelle. "Dos and Don'ts of a Law School Resume." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/law-school-resume-dos-and-donts-2154731 (accessed May 24, 2018).