There are several important steps in becoming a professional paralegal. However, the one that is most often overlooked is constructing a resume. Resumes are important for almost any job you are pursuing, but they are especially important for paralegals due to the competitive nature of the field. Law firms only want to hire the best paralegals, which means your resume needs to distinguish you from the other candidates.
Fortunately, with the right tips, you can easily write a paralegal resume that will make you attractive to law firms and will help you secure the paralegal position you’ve been searching for.
Options for Formatting
Although all resumes should have the same basic content, there are actually three different formatting options you can choose from, which sometimes leads to confusion. These formats are chronological, functional and hybrid. Each format has its own strengths, so it’s a good idea to look at them each more closely.
Chronological resumes are the most common, and will list your education and work experience in the order they occurred. A functional resume focuses more on your skills than your work history. This is the right choice for new paralegals who have very little work experience. The third format is known as the hybrid format, which is a combination between the two. This can be useful if you have both impressive skills and a work history, but not in the paralegal field.
If you’re having trouble choosing the right resume format, it’s best to stick with chronological, as this is what hiring managers are most familiar with.
Information Your Resume Needs
For paralegal positions, law firms are generally looking for applicants with legal work experience, which experience should be front and center in your resume. However, make sure to only include relevant experience, particularly major accomplishments. Don’t fill out your resume with work experience that is not useful or relevant to paralegal work. If you’ve never had a paralegal job, this section should come after your education.
As important as your work experience is your education. You should be sure to include information about every school you attended, emphasizing your paralegal program. If you have earned a certificate from the American Bar Association (ABA), include it in this section. Law firms will be more likely to hire you if you have education dedicated to the paralegal profession.
Lastly, a section of your resume should be dedicated to any special skills that are relevant to paralegal work. This can include fluency in another language and familiarity with legal software.
Quick Resume Tips
For a successful resume, there are a few easy tips to follow. First, use direct language. If your resume is too flowery, managers will ignore it. Second, use standard fonts and formatting. Third, only include necessary information. Hiring managers will specifically be looking for relevant information, so make it easy for them to find. Finally, be sure to double and even triple check your resume for errors. Typos or incomplete information indicate carelessness.
Write a Good Paralegal Resume and Find a Job
Follow these tips for writing a paralegal resume and it will be easier for you to find employment in this field. A well-constructed resume will catch the eye of a hiring manager and may lead to an interview.