When you are busily gathering and preparing all of the documentation you’ll need to apply to law school, one element might not seem as obvious as the rest. In addition to your LSAT scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statement, you will need a law school resume. In the competitive world of law school admissions, your law school resume is a vital part of the application process to get into the law school of your choice. A law school resume is not exactly the same as a resume you would submit to a potential employer for a job, however.
In crafting your law school resume, keep your audience in mind – the admissions committee of the law school(s) to which you are applying. Admissions committees will spend more time looking at your law school resume than a potential employer would. They want to get a general sense of who you are and why you would succeed in their law school. All of the skills that you emphasize, your accomplishments, and your academic history should match what law schools are looking for in candidates. Be sure to highlight any special activities you participated in during undergraduate school, such as volunteer opportunities, professional responsibilities, and leadership positions.
When writing your law school resume, you do not want to include the standard “objective” or “summary of qualifications” headings. Your education and your GPA should be given top priority, with any academic honors you have achieved thus far. Only note your most relevant professional experience – not every job you’ve had since high school.
List your accomplishments, making sure to explain what you did in each role. Rather than saying you worked as a legal assistant, for example, note that you organized a specific event by ordering food and procuring space. Instead of noting that you managed day-to-day office tasks, note that you tracked office supply use through Excel spreadsheets. Be very specific.
The sections of your law school resume should have headings such as “Education,” “Experience,” and “Activities.” You could also include “Honors” if you have them, and “Interests.” As noted above, don’t include “Objective” or “Summary” sections – those should be self-evident in a law school resume.
The “Education” section of your law school resume should include degree, major(s), college name and location, and graduation date. You might also list your GPA, although that will be included in your transcript. Don’t include any high school information in your “Education” section as it is not necessary for consideration for law school.
Your resume should give the law school admissions committee a good sense of who you are as a person. There should also be a correlation between your resume and your personal statement. They should complement and reflect each other. Your positive character traits should be showcased, describing how you have displayed them in previous workplaces and situations. This is where your communication skills, commitment to public service and familiarity with the legal profession should all be expressed.
Some common mistakes that you can easily make when crafting your law school resume are:
Most career development experts note that a law school resume should be no longer than two pages. Be sure to review your law school’s application guidelines, however, to make sure that they permit resumes of this length – some may require them to be shorter, some longer. The law school resume is much broader than that of a career resume, and should emphasize your accomplishments as well as any significant post-high-school experiences. Take the necessary time to craft a well-rounded law school essay, as it is such an important part of the admissions process and can make the difference between the admissions committee choosing you or the next applicant.
The following is an example of a law school resume that includes academic experience and relevant employment showing qualities desirable in a law school candidate:
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