HOW TO BUILD YOUR RESUME FOR LAW SCHOOL

 You might have heard that having a professional and updated resume is important for getting into a career, but did you know that a resume can help you get into the law school of your dreams as well? Don't freak out; it's easier than it sounds and I'm going to break it all down for you today. Starting with the basics, your resume needs to look organized and thoughtful. Having too little or too much information is equally erroneous. 

The purpose of a resume isn't to get into law school. Let's face it: a great resume isn't going to make up for a low GPA, a lacking LSAT score, or a poorly written personal statement. But the resume does play an important role in the application process. Your resume is the only picture that an admissions team gets to see how you spend your time and what your priorities and passions are, so make sure that you select experiences that best convey those things.

For me, I wanted to highlight my academics first and foremost because that was my focus throughout undergrad and I would be going straight into law school after graduating. So the very first thing on my resume is where I went to school, my GPA, and the academic awards I received.

 

HOW TO BUILD YOUR RESUME FOR LAW SCHOOL


Next I featured a paper I worked on for six months and eventually had the opportunity to present at an academic conference. This was definitely one of my biggest achievements of my college career, or ever honestly, so I definitely had it up at the top so it wouldn't be missed.

 

Hold up! I know not everybody going to law school has written a big research paper or did pretty well on all of their classes in college. Now hear me on this - that's okay. Like I said the point of a resume is to show off what you care about and what you focused on.

 

 If that was an art project, super cool. If you worked with your admissions team, awesome. If it was a bunch of internships, that's great. If it was volunteering, fantastic! Feature it, be proud of it, and own it. My thing was academics, but yours could be different and still be an absolutely stellar resume. Okay, back in we go. Because this was for law school and I intentionally had built up legally related experiences throughout the past few years, I decided not to make my next section the typical one as "past jobs" or something similar. 

 

Instead I explained my growth in experience like mock trial, an internship with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, even an elective class I took with a respected attorney, all of which will hopefully be subjects for future article.Actual law school admissions counselors say that the resume helps them determine whether or not somebody will be able to hack it in law school and if that is a place that they're going to thrive. 

One admissions counselor said that he looks for three things in a law school applicant's resume:

1) do they know how to communicate, 

2) are they interested in the legal profession, 

and 

3) have they demonstrated commitment to public service? So you can see I made a clear effort to demonstrate all of these things in my legal experience section. Below that is the relevant work experience section. 

 

One of the biggest commitments and a huge influence on my time at college was my involvement with Phonation. Basically my entire time as an undergrad was colored by calling alumni and parents of my friends to update them on what was happening at Wheaton and asking if they'd like to be a part of it by donating, or, once I got promoted, making sure other people did that correctly. I made a lot of friends, learned a ton about communication and teamwork, and I think became a better person as a result of my time there. So I put that experience and other non-law-related positions I held throughout college, paid and volunteer, in my resume as well. 

 

Below this I included your typical resume end notes like skills and other similar things which I don't think particularly hurts or helps. Here's what can hurt, though: apathy, scattered structure, poor grammar and spelling, and a lack of active verbs. Keep it easily readable, informative, and most important of all, reflective of you and the perspectives that you're bringing to the table. Many College students and graduates already have a resume and/or access to a Career Center that can help them create or improve one. 

 

Take advantage of the resources that you have. You can see in a side-by-side comparison that my job hunting resume and law school resume look similar, and most of the experiences listed on them are identical, but I did tailor the structure of details for the different audiences.

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