Your Resume: Garbage in the Document Means Document in the garbage.

Let’s be clear on this: your legal resume should be concise and free of worthless information.  It’s not an autobiography and it’s not a timeline accounting for every moment of your life.  You need to weed out information that doesn’t help you get the job.

Use this test: if the information cannot help you get the job you are applying for, remove it from the resume.  Put another way, if it doesn’t help you, it’s hurting you by muddying the water and making the reader sift through more text to get to the applicable skills.

Here is some of the garbage we see on a regular basis:

Worthless positions.
Information about your first job when you were a sales clerk at Neiman Marcus, information about the non-legal internship you had during your 1L summer, etc. may very well help you  land your job, but think hard about why they are in your resume and how you represent these positions if you decide to keep them in your resume.  For example, if you were a sales clerk at a store and you can say that you were responsible for increasing sales by 20%, that may show that you have the ability to market products.  That, in turn, might mean that you will be able to market your practice and develop a book of business.  You must, however, strive to make this connection for the reader of your resume.

Personal information.
As we’ve said countless times on this blog, personal information (your marital status, information about your kids, your photo, etc.) has no place in a legal resume.  Remove them.

You had nine positions while you were in law school?  Group them together if possible and discuss them together.  You shouldn’t have a four-page resume if you are right out of law school.  Too much of the same (as in similar types of short-term jobs) create clutter.

Contact information overload.
There was a time when things were simpler.  You had an address and a phone number.  Your resume should have your address, phone number and only one email address (and that email address should sound like you are an adult – is NOT appropriate).  Multiple email addresses, links to LinkedIn profiles, Twitter handles or other social/online media are not appropriate on your legal resume.


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