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THE ULTIMATE RESUME WRITING GUIDE: FROM START TO FINISH

Updated: Jun 25



Writing a resume is simpler than you think. All you need to do is follow a format and keep certain tips in mind. A résumé is a window into a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and experiences, allowing recruiters to assess a candidate’s potential fit for a position. Writing an effective résumé is not as easy as it may seem. It requires careful consideration of various elements to increase your chances of standing out and securing an interview.


Whether you’re a recent graduate, a seasoned professional, or someone looking to make a career change, mastering the art of resume writing is essential. We’ll take you through a step-by-step guide to writing a resume. So, let’s dive into the essential components of a standout résumé and equip you with the skills to present your profile in the most effective way possible.


The Right Resume Format

Choosing the right resume format can be a game-changer as it defines the focus and structure of your resume. The chronological resume format is the most commonly used format and is ideal for lawyers across levels.  It highlights your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position which highlights your consistent work history and clear career progression. Once you’ve decided on a resume format, go over it section by section to make it the best it can be.


Keep your Contact Information Up to Date

Your contact information is the first thing that catches the hiring manager’s attention when reviewing your resume. The best spot to put your contact information is in the resume header. This enables for easy identification at the top of your resume, making it easily apparent to the hiring manager. Placing it here assures that it is one of the first elements they come across.


  1. Your Full Name: Display your full name prominently to establish your identity.

  2. Current Address (optional): Include your current address if it is relevant or if you are applying for a local position. However, remember that this is optional and can be omitted if preferred.

  3. Phone Number: Provide an active and reachable phone number where potential employers can contact you directly.

  4. Email Address: Ensure that your email address is professional and properly formatted. Avoid using unprofessional or outdated email addresses.

  5. LinkedIn Profile (or online portfolio): If relevant to the job position, include a link to your LinkedIn profile or online portfolio. This can provide additional insights into your professional background and achievements.


Create an Effective Summary (OPTIONAL)

Keep your summary concise and engaging, using powerful words and impactful language. Aim for not more than 3-5 sentences to maintain brevity while conveying your most relevant skills and experiences. Avoid writing your vision statement or aim.


Education

If you are not writing a summary then your resume will begin from the education section so make it most impactful. In case you are a beginner, please give prominence to your education section. Provide detailed information about your educational background. Use chronological order.


Ensure the accuracy of details in your education section, including the names of educational institutions, year of passing, and degrees earned. Tailor the level of detail to your specific circumstances, emphasizing educational accomplishments.


Work Experience

The work experience is the heart of your resume. After captivating the hiring manager with your resume summary, they will turn to this section to delve deeper into your professional background. It is crucial to showcase your work experience effectively and go beyond the basics.


Ensure that your work experience section includes the following essential elements:

  1. Job position: Clearly state the position you held in each role.

  2. Company: Mention the name of the company or organization you worked for.

  3. Dates of employment: Provide the duration of your employment, including the month and year.

  4. Location: Specify the location of the company (city, state, or country).


When writing the work experience section of your resume as a lawyer, it is essential to highlight your legal expertise and demonstrate how your skills transfer to the practice of law.


What to add in Work Experience in your resume? (for beginners and mid-level)

  1. Review your work background and identify skills such as legal research, writing, negotiation, client management, case analysis, and trial preparation. Highlight these skills as they demonstrate your aptitude for legal work.

  2. Emphasize any high-value or critical matters and deals you have worked on. Provide concise and specific details about your involvement, including the type of case or transaction, the parties involved, and the outcomes achieved. This demonstrates your ability to handle complex and significant legal matters.

  3. Highlight your experience in drafting legal documents such as contracts, agreements, briefs, memos, and motions. If applicable, mention any specific documents you have authored that have had a significant impact on a case or transaction.

  4. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements to provide a clear understanding of your impact. For example, mention the size of the deals you handled, the monetary value of cases won or settled, or the number of clients you represented. Quantifying your accomplishments adds credibility to your resume.


Internships

Mention the same way as work experience. This section is not required for lawyers with 4+ years of experience.


Certificates and Licences

Remember, including certifications, awards, or honours in your resume can demonstrate your dedication, expertise, and recognition in your field. Just ensure that they are presented clearly and concisely, focusing on their relevance and impact on your professional journey. It’s a wrap. Mission accomplished! You now understand how to optimise your resume.


Conclusion

You are now equipped to embark on the journey of enhancing each element of your resume to immediately captivate the hiring manager. Take the necessary time to carefully review and implement all the valuable insights and strategies we have shared with you. Before finalizing your resume, make sure to thoroughly proofread it for any errors or inconsistencies.


Now, it’s time to refine your resume and seize that coveted interview opportunity. Best of luck!

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