Submitting an excellent application – including resume, cover letter, and all other materials – is the first step to securing your ideal job. Your resume must succinctly and cogently explain your skills, experience, and education in a manner that will appeal to legal employers and your cover letter must be specifically tailored to each employer.
Give careful and deliberate thought over your three years in law school to how you are building your resume. In deciding which activities to pursue, classes to take, and organizations to join while in law school, consider how each item will fit into the story that you intend to tell with your application materials. Think about taking classes that will give you legal experience as well as credit. When choosing your classes, check to see which clinics, drafting labs, externships, and bar association sections correspond with your classes of interest. Add Access to Justice Institute training and volunteer experience and you will have a well rounded legal resume. You don’t need to have a particular job-related reason for everything that you do, but it is important to remember that you are working with a limited amount of time as a student. Make sure that you are gathering the tools and experiences necessary to pursue the job and career that you want. Talk to CPD staff, clinic professors, class professors, mentors and other lawyers with a variety of practice and community experience to help you make a law school and career plan.
Self assessment can be invaluable in preparing your application materials as well as in targeting your job search. In addition, it can lay the foundation for drafting application materials that best reflect your accomplishments, demonstrate your skills, and translate these achievements into the legal context. Use our Self Assessment tool to consider what personal and professional attributes are most important to you. CPD staff can assist in brainstorming and serve as a sounding board for your ideas.
Brainstorming a list of all items that might be included on your resume or in your cover letter is another good place to start. Use our Skills and Experience Inventory to create your list.
The Center for Professional Development can assist you in this process by helping you refine your resume, providing guidance on how to craft a perfect cover letter, and giving tips in all other areas of the application process. We look forward to working with you.