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Legal Authority BLOG



By Gordon K. Sattro

When we are seeking to secure that next job, there a number of things that we consider, and many things that we do not.Transforming your resume into a “targeted resume” is without a doubt among the latter of the two, and that is what I want to discuss with you today.

All too often attorneys view their resume as something that is etched in stone. Many think that if their resume is up to date and has all of their experience it does not require any additional work. This could not be further from the truth.

When you are approaching your resume, don’t view it as a document that is merely informative.Rather, you need to view your resume as your “frontline” marketing tool. When you are drafting your resume, there a few steps that you must go through prior to having a finished product. Here are a few steps to having a fully revised and “targeted” resume:

1. Throw your old resume out. This may seem a bit brash, but what I mean to convey with this statement is that you cannot use your old resume any longer. Why you ask? Your old resume resulted in where you are now, you are on the job search and looking to secure employment, but it is undoubtedly taking longer than you anticipated. A lot of the wait you are experiencing is because you are using the wrong tool for the job. If you had a shovel that was dull and bent would you continue to use it?

2. Start from scratch. You now will have a blank document open on Microsoft Word, start writing. When you are first drafting a resume you cannot confine yourself to the page limits tied to a fully completed resume. Just start writing everything that you did while you were in your previous role and do not move on to your next portion of experience until you feel you have been as thorough as possible.

3. Take the information from above and make it effective! You have written at length what you have done in each role. Now is the time to take that information and reduce it down.More specifically, you are going to take the above document and repackage the information into an easily digestible format. The information that you listed is going to fall into one of two categories:

a. Narrative Portion: The narrative portion of your resume is a two to four line paragraph under each specific portion of experience that gives a general overview of your duties while you were in that specific position. An easy way to think about it is to look at your title at the company/firm. Were you an associate attorney? What portion of what you wrote above covers the general duties that one would expect an associate attorney to have? The experience that covers the general duties of an associate attorney, along with practice areas, will be placed here.

b. The Bullet Points: You have taken out all of the experience that is general and expected of an associate attorney, now the marketing aspect of your resume comes into play. There are three general categories of effective bullet points:

i. Award and Commendations: Did you receive recognition while you were at work? Have you received any awards that represent this recognition? These bullet points are your opportunity to illustrate how well accomplished you are and to display that your employers have recognized your hard work.

ii. Specific instances of accomplishment: Did you take on a case that was beyond your specialty and succeed? Did you take on a management role sooner than your peers normally would? Was there a notable settlement that you were able negotiate? These bullet points are best utilized to highlight specific accomplishments that show the breadth of your experience and your effectiveness as an attorney.

iii. Quantifiable facts and figures: How many cases have you first chaired? How many cases have you second chaired? How many operating agreements have you drafted and submitted? This is your opportunity to show what results you were able to achieve and display what kind of workload you have maintained in your past positions. This is among the most useful because a reader’s eye is drawn to figures. Use this bullet point as much as possible.

4. Finalize your resume!You have highlighted all that needs to be mentioned, you have filtered through all the information you have and now you have an experience section of your resume that truly “sells”. Go through each portion of experience, and the rest of your resume for that matter, to make certain all the peripheral information is accurate. Here are a few common mistakes in the resume to look out for:

a. Lack of consistency: Are all the hyphens equal length? Are all the dates abbreviated/written out? Is this consistent all the way through? Make certain that all of your formatting is consistent throughout your resume. Even the most miniscule mistake can hurt.

b. Lack of a LinkedIn URL: Do you include your LinkedIn URL in your resume? Well, you should. LinkedIn is here to stay and is used by MILLIONS of recruiters and industry leaders.Use it to your advantage and MAKE CERTAIN it mirrors your resume word for word.

c. Contact information: Is it complete? I have seen phone numbers left out and e-mail addresses that are inaccurate.Double check this area, and then check it one more time. This is how your potential employer contacts you.Don’t lead them to an invalid e-mail address.

With this process you will undoubtedly notice that you have a higher quality resume than you have ever had before. Now send it out and wait to hear back. We here at Legal Authority follow a very similar process to the above, but we do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. If you want to hear more about what you can do to improve your resume, visit Legal Authority and schedule your appointment with me today. Until we speak again, happy hunting.

All the best,

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