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Creating a Legal Resume

Resumes

Your resume is usually the first information about you that an employer will see.  Make certain it represents your qualifications in a relevant, updated, accurate and precise manner.  You should carefully review your resume for each job application and, if necessary, customize it for that job and employer.

 

Format

To ensure quality and consistency among all students, classes of 2017 and later will be required to follow the format shown in the sample resumes below.  Contact a CDO Counselor if your personal experience warrants an exception from this standard format.

 

Top Ten Starting Points

  1. Keep your resume to one page, unless you are applying for a public interest or government position.  For government and public interest, a typical resume may be two pages, but no more.
  2. "Objectives," "Summary of Qualifications" and similar sections are not typically included in legal resumes, but may be used if you are applying outside the legal field (for example, using your J.D. degree in a non-Bar licensed job).
  3. Organize information in reverse chronological order within each category.
  4. Do not use color or graphics on a legal resume.  Avoid multiple fonts or those that are difficult to read.  Keep it simple.  Focus on content.
  5. “Computer Skills” are likely not relevant to the job unless specifically requested by the employer.  If you include “Language Skills” be accurate.  Include hobbies or other information as space allows, but always consider how various audiences will react to items that may be controversial.
  6. Use active voice.  The first-person subject "I" is understood, so don't use pronouns in your descriptions.
  7. Remove any unnecessary words; be concise.
  8. Save your resume in pdf form before sending, and test email it to yourself to be sure it retains its format through transmittal.
  9. Do the “10 Second Test” – hand a printed version of your final resume to a friend for 10 seconds.  Take it back, ask them to recite what they remember, quickly.  See if you are making the quick first impression you want to make.
  10. PRINT IT TO PROOF IT.  A typo or other error on your resume is often fatal to a job search. Your eye will more easily see the mistakes if you review a printed version as opposed to a version on a computer screen.

 

Representing Grades and Rank on Resumes

  1. As a general rule, if your GPA is in the top half of the class, or starts with a “3,” include it.  Otherwise, you may want to consider leaving it off.  Employers will assume your grades were lower than top half if they see no mention of grades or rank.
  2. Include ONLY the exact GPA and ranking numbers as given by the Law School Registrar.  NEVER estimate or round up your rank or GPA.  NEVER use approximate numbers.  If you have any question, consult the Law School Registrar or a CDO Counselor.
  3. Never get grade or GPA information from the University Registrar; always use the specific GPA and ranking information you have been given by the Law School Registrar.
  4. Grade distribution (ranking information) lists are circulated and posted after all semester grades are released.
  5. List a specific numeric rank only if you receive one from the Law School Registrar ("Class Rank:  23/221").
  6. List a specific bracket only as assigned by the Law School Registrar:  top 10, 20, 25, 33, 50, or 75 percent.  
  7. The highest attainable GPA is 4.3.  If you list your GPA as x/y, then y is 4.3 ("GPA=2.72/4.3").

 

Sample Resumes

 

Examples of How to Handle Common Resume Entries:

  • Two addresses
  • GPA and Class Rank
  • Class rank close to a rank cutoff
  • Journal participation
  • Published journal note
  • Published article (non-law journal)
  • Study abroad
  • Double undergraduate major
  • Undergraduate Minor
  • Clinical experience referenced both in “Activities” and “Experience” sections
  • Different titles held at different times at the same employer
  • Non-professional experience

 

Additional helpful resources and articles

 

Counseling appointments

Schedule an individual appointment with your CDO Counselor to finalize your resume, cover letter and other application documents.  Symplicity makes it easy to schedule at your convenience, and you are advised to meet with your CDO Counselor each time you make significant resume revisions.  To schedule:

  • Log in to your Symplicity account:  https://law-uga-csm.symplicity.com/
  • Click “Calendar” – the top right tab
  • Click the “Request an Appointment” button on the lower left
  • You will receive an email from Symplicity when your appointment request is approved.
  • If you are unable to access your Symplicity account, please email ocs@uga.edu for assistance