Don’t Forget the “Hidden” Data In Your Legal Resume!


You’ve completed your resume and it’s ready to send out.  There are no typos and the bullet points clearly demonstrate the type of work you have done.  What could you possibly be missing?  You might have forgotten to include the “hidden data”.

The hidden data is anything that is obvious to you, but may not be obvious to the reader.  For example, if you are moving to another city, don’t assume that the reader has heard of your firm – no matter how large and impressive your firm might be in your geographic area.  Assume the reader isn’t familiar with firms, their expertise or any other ranking information.  Even in the same city, don’t forget that many attorneys are myopic on their own firm and know very little about other firms.  Help the reader by including a bullet point that does the research for them.  For example, your resume entry may look like this:

Mauer, Morneau & Blyleven, LLC                                                 Minneapolis, MN                Litigation Associate                                                                                 2008-Present

Associate at a national, 75-attorney full-service firm focusing on complex products liability, employment and commercial litigation matters……

In the example above, you have told the reader a little something about the firm from which they can make a more informed decision about your skills.  Another place you might want to add this hidden data is if your firm has a particular niche.  It’s appropriate to call out your firm’s ranking or awards if it demonstrates that you are working on sophisticated work.  For example, if your firm was ranked by a trade journal as having the “#1 Intellectual Property Litigation Group In America”, and you work in that group, you are doing yourself a disservice if you fail to include that in your resume.  It’s relevant to the reader and something that they may not know.

The same rule applies to any company that may be on your resume.  Unless the company is a household name (think Target or General Mills), plan on putting a bullet point explaining what the organization does/did.  Don’t make the reader resort to the internet to find out.

Finally, if you have anything that is international on your resume, be cognizant of the fact that many people don’t know which schools are prestigious if they are in another country.  Call out your schools ranking if it can help you!

In short, too many attorneys forget that the person who reads their resume is not in the trenches with them and may not be familiar with everything on their resume.  Help them out and include a little more detail!

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