Why your Law School Resume is Different Than Your Job Resume

Law School Expert Blog

Your law school applications include submitting a resume. Many applicants make the mistake of overlooking this – they simply take their job resume and send it along. But the resume is a fabulous opportunity to really explain your activities and accomplishments to law schools, so take some time and re-work it before submitting it with your applications.

1. It’s about facts, not focus. You’re trying to show the law school how you’ve spent your time while highlighting various experiences, passions and interests rather than a long, clear focus on things that qualify you for a particular job.

2. It’s about your duties and accomplishments, not lessons learned. Instead of including statements like, “Learned customer service in a fast-paced environment,” as you might on a job resume, draft bullet point descriptions that show the time you put in. It’s actually pretty impressive to work while in school so include, “Worked 18-20 hours per week as a barista to pay for books and living expenses,” instead of writing yourself a letter of recommendation about what you learned.

3. It’s about effort, not prestige. I mean, if you have prestigious things to include on your resume, great, but don’t leave off the grunt work. Law schools want to know you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard; they want to hear that you haven’t kept yourself locked up in an ivory tower. Come to think of it, many employers would be impressed by this kind of work, too. Don’t hide it – shine it.

4. It’s about your passions, not punishment. Stop worrying about whether the person reading it will agree with your political or religious activities. Unless you’re associated with a hate group, include your activities that demonstrate your passions. Law schools want/need to seat a diverse class. They don’t punish people for their beliefs. If a school doesn’t want you because you’re a Log Cabin Republican, then – trust me – you don’t want that school.

6 Responses

  1. Ann,

    I’m a non-traditional applicant with a wide variety of experience, much of it in the academic world. My resume stretches to nearly 5 pages, which would seem to be 2-3 pages too long by most standards. I’ve structured it so that the experience I’ve deemed most relevant to law school admissions boards is first, but I’m still not sure whether it is acceptable to submit a resume of that length. I’ve followed the advice in your book to include all experience, and to offer details for each entry concerning duties and accomplishments. Using these guidelines I’m unsure how I could reduce the length of the document. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi Ann,
    For questions asking about suspensions, warnings, expulsions, etc from any academic institution, would I have to disclose anything from high school or does that question apply only to post secondary schools? I was suspended from high school but it was for a non-academic reason and there were no criminal charges filed.

  3. Hi Ann,

    Based on my work experience, my resume reads like a public policy resume rather than a law school resume. Any guidance on how to tie and tailor the professional experience to my desire to join the legal profession and demonstrate how I will be an asset to this field? Or will the personal statement be sufficient to draw those connections?

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