Resume Breakdown for Law Students and Recent Graduates

Law school is all about the kind of work you’ll do for internships, externships, and summer jobs. That means even 1L students need to focus on their resume, even if they’ve not had any real-world work experience in the past. So how can you maximize your resume to land those jobs? And how can you leverage those jobs on your resume as a recent law school graduate? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Summarize Your Career Goals

It’s helpful when looking for your first law job to summarize what you want to accomplish. Use this section to emphasize your skills and abilities and how you would like to use them to help a firm or other employer succeed. Be clear and concise, but demonstrate your career goals align with their long-term goals.

Focus on Education

Unlike a resume for other types of jobs, you want to focus on your law school experience. Where did you attend? What is their law school ranking? If it’s good, include it. What was your class ranking? This may also be worth mentioning. You also want to emphasize a legal specialization, especially as you apply with law firms or public interest groups that handle those specific things.

List Internships, Externships, Clinics, and Volunteer Work

Since you may not have traditional legal experience, you do want to highlight the law school experience that is most similar to working in a firm or for an employer. Specifically, add your 1L internship, 2L and 3L externships, summer jobs, law clinics, and any volunteer work you did while in school. Format these like you would any other type of experience on a resume.

Talk About Your Achievements and Awards

Throughout law school, you may have garnered various accolades. For example, if you were the president of the Student Bar Association, include that. If you received any awards, scholarships, or fellowships, be sure to list them.

List Memberships

Were you in any law school organization? These are a great resume builder. Not only will it give you additional items to list on your resume, but it also opens doors in future jobs. Others who were involved in similar organizations will see it and be more interested in talking to you about an open job at their firm.

Are you graduating from law school soon?

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