Building a Legal Resume that Stacks Up to the Best Candidates

May 26, 2023

Becoming a lawyer is a major accomplishment. Each day, you get to fight for the interests of people and their families needing legal guidance and expertise while simultaneously using your communication skills to write legal documents and negotiate optimal client outcomes.

But the path to becoming an attorney isn’t easy and the competition for lucrative lawyer jobs is fierce. Luckily, there are many ways you can make yourself stand out in the sea of applicants. One of these ways is crafting a compelling and professional resume that showcases your unique qualifications and experience.

Be sure to follow the tips below to create an effective resume that will capture the attention of hiring managers and help you secure the legal job of your dreams.

Include Relevant Skills and Experience

This may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many qualified job candidates never hear back from employers because they made the mistake of not tailoring their resume to the position they chose to pursue.

Before you apply for a position, carefully read the job description and understand the skills and qualifications required for the position. Edit your resume if needed to include the relevant experience and skills you possess that match the requirements of the job.

For example, if you’re applying for an associate attorney position and one of the responsibilities includes drafting legal documents, you’ll want to highlight your experience and skills related to legal writing and research. You may also want to include examples of specific legal documents you have drafted or cases you have worked on that demonstrate your writing ability.

By tailoring your resume to the specific position, you show the employer that you’ve made the effort to understand their needs and that you have the necessary skills and experience to excel in the role.

Include a Clear and Concise Opening Statement

As a lawyer, you’re expected to have above average communication and persuasion skills, which your resume should showcase.

An effective opening statement can set the tone for the rest of your resume and leave a positive first impression. It should be a brief summary of your qualifications, highlighting your strengths and what you can bring to the table. In addition to being concise, the opening statement should be tailored to the specific position you’re applying for, demonstrating that you have a clear understanding of the job expectations and can articulate how your experience and skills align with them.

Including a clear and concise opening statement in your legal resume is crucial for catching the attention of hiring managers and letting them know right off the bat who you are and the relevant skills you have to offer.

Use Action Verbs

Another aspect of crafting a compelling legal resume is using action verbs. No one wants to read a boring, passive resume that sounds like it was written by a robot. Using verbs like “orchestrated,” “devised” and “spearheaded” adds energy to your content and can help bring your accomplishments to life and show off your impressive legal skills.

Ditch the passive language and generic words like “worked” or “responsible for” and start using some action verbs to make your resume stand out.

Highlight Remarkable Achievements

Becoming an attorney or paralegal is an accomplishment in and of itself, but being able to showcase remarkable achievements can be of tremendous value when you’re striving to stand out from competing applicants.

Highlighting remarkable achievements on your resume shows you’re not just good on paper, but also a competent and successful legal professional who can deliver results. For example, if you’ve won a significant legal case, obtained a high settlement or received recognition for your work, make sure to include it on your resume.

These achievements can help a hiring manager visualize the value you can bring to their organization and give them confidence in your abilities.

Weave In Keywords

Including relevant keywords in your resume is important because many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes before they are even seen by a human. These systems are programmed to look for specific keywords related to the job description. Resumes that don’t contain these keywords may be automatically rejected.

Including relevant keywords in your resume increases your chance of getting past the initial screening process and having your application seen by a human recruiter or hiring manager.

For example, if you’re applying for a personal injury attorney or paralegal position, be sure to include keywords related to personal injury law such as “litigation,” “settlement negotiation,” “medical records” and “case management.”

Remember to use these and other keywords in a natural and relevant way rather than just stuffing your resume with unrelated terms in an attempt to manipulate the ATS.

Explore Legal Careers at the Dressie Law Firm in Atlanta

Are you interested in pursuing a legal career in Atlanta? Consider working with the Dressie Law Firm. Our team of dedicated attorneys and legal professionals is committed to providing exceptional service to our clients and creating a supportive and inclusive work environment for our employees.

Explore the exciting opportunities available at our firm and let us know if you have any questions. We’d love to hear from you.