Checklist for Making Your Resume Stand Out

rt of your law school application will be your resume. Law schools want to admit well-rounded individuals. As important as your LSAT score and GPA are, showing that you have other interests, experiences, and leadership skills matters. Resume writing is shockingly hard. Providing detailed descriptions of your experience will take multiple drafts.

Don’t worry if you have no direct experience in the legal profession. It is very rare for an undergraduate to have any legal experience at all.  What you should have is experience volunteering, interning, or being a member of an organization that you are passionate about. If you have any paid work experience, be sure to include that. If you have been a server, or worked in retail, or cleaned houses, this is hard work!  Law school admissions staff recognize that. Do not sell your experience short.

A note on length:  For the most part, your resume should fill one page. However, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June 2023 decision, law schools are asking applicants to provide more information about themselves, so having a longer resume is one way you can do this. Some law schools will tell you how long your resume should be, so be aware that you may have to have multiple versions of your resume.

Resume Checklist:

NO TYPOS. It has to be perfect.  Have at least two people look over your resume before you submit it. Take advantage of the pre-law advisor and Career Center on your campus. 

OVERALL FORMAT IS EASY TO READ WITH THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WHITE SPACE.

Do not make your margins too extreme. Make sure there are blank lines between sections for ease of reading. Use font that is at least 11 point.  Use bullet points to help with design and ease of reading. 

If your content goes on to a second page, make sure that it is more than a stray line or two.  It should look like it is meant to go onto a second page. 

LOOKS GOOD ON A SCREEN.  You will be submitting your resume online, so it needs to look good on a screen, as well as on paper.  You can use color, but do not go nuts. 

CONTACT INFORMATION AT THE TOP MUST BE EYE-CATCHING AND PROFESSIONAL-LOOKING.  This top section must have your name, phone, and email address. You may include your mailing address, your LinkedIn URL, or other relevant website. DO NOT include a headshot. You can also put this at the top of your personal statement and other addendums. 

GRAMMAR IS CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT.  If you want periods at the end of all your bullet points, make sure have you have periods at the end of all your bullet points.  If you do not want periods, make sure there are none. Make sure all the verbs are past tense and parallel for the jobs, activities, or experiences that are in the past. 

USE ACTION VERBS AND PHRASES ADMISSIONS STAFF WANT TO SEE.  Here is a list of words that you should try to use in the descriptions of your experience: teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, research skills, collaboration, curiosity, empathy, emotional intelligence, effective communication, listening, flexibility, adaptability, and generosity.

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