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Broadening Your Resume When Job Experience is Scarce [By Mary Waldron] Many law students spend their entire college careers focusing on their studies and overall academic performances, which leaves them no time to hold down full-time jobs. Although this sacrifice pays off when students end up with records of high scholastic achievement upon graduation, full-time law students can find it difficult to put together resumes demonstrating strong, relevant experience and skills. However, we can help you find solutions to that problem. Too often, students overlook some of their greatest qualifications and skills simply because they were not derived from paid, full-time jobs.

Involvement in school-wide organizations,

If any part of your involvement with school or

an internship you held in the past is not

societies, and/or clubs can help you develop

community activities ties in with the interests

relevant to a desired job position, it still

many stellar attributes that employers will

of a potential employer, it would obviously

will have provided valid work experience

fall in love with. If you have served in any

be beneficial to mention that within your

that you can cite to demonstrate your

leadership positions within organizations,

resume and cover letter. For example, if you

familiarity with the professional world,

societies, and/or clubs, you have likely

are applying for an environmental law firm

social skills, compromising, and problem-

gained experience with team-building,

position and you volunteered with a chapter

solving. Along with internships, random

organization, coordination, collaboration,

of the Audubon Society last summer or were

part-time jobs that you may have taken

follow-through, and responsibility-all

involved with a similar organization at your

throughout school to earn extra money

skills and qualities you can mention on

school, your background and experience will

are also valid work experience that can be

your resume. You can also incorporate

give you a great advantage over others.

reflected upon in this manner. Of course, if you have two pages’ worth of very relevant

any experience with creating, planning, and carrying out school-wide activities

Internships are the prime example of paid

intern and full-time job experience, it may

or fundraisers. If you are still in school,

or unpaid experience that can develop

not be necessary to mention everything;

sharing your talents and dedication with

viable employment skills related to specific,

use your best judgment to decide how

your peers and faculty will help you to

desired job positions. As soon as you know

much of your background to mention.

build valuable personal and professional

what you want to do in terms of your career,

relationships that will last you for years to

you should start applying for relevant

While considering your collection of

come. And, based on these relationships,

internships and clerkships whenever you can

skills, be aware that you probably should

you will be able to develop a list of

afford the time. The real-world experience

avoid getting too personal. When I say

references that will come in handy.

and knowledge that one can acquire in

personal, I mean that you should not list any

such positions is invaluable to a young

experiences and/or attributes that reflect

Volunteer work also provides opportunities

law professional. (And you may even form

your personal information regarding those

for exercising your abilities to take initiative,

relationships with employers who can hire

two topics that most conversationalists aim

improve the community, and serve others.

you permanently or refer you to other jobs.)

to avoid: politics and religion. Although you may be able to showcase some great

During your free time or on weekends, try tutoring young children, organizing

Internships are unique because employers

qualities associated with positions you have

and conducting food drives, visiting and

often assign interns much of the same

held within your church or volunteer work

entertaining at nursing homes, and reading

work and many of the same kinds of

that you have done for political campaigns,

to children in hospitals. These kinds of work

projects that they would normally complete

those affiliations are best kept concealed,

will help you to develop strong skills as a

by themselves, giving students real insight

in order to protect you from the judgment

humanitarian and an individual. Simply put,

into what careers in certain areas will

or biases of an employer. What if your

people want to work with those who are nice,

entail. In addition to providing impressive

potential boss has a dislike for your religion

friendly, and understanding. If you have a

jewels for a resume, internship experience

or political affiliation? This is another

crummy personality and no mercy for others,

can be the deciding factor in whether or

example of what I usually call “job search

you will never make it in most professions.

not a law student wants to continue on

suicide.� Of course, you would overlook this

his or her chosen career path. Even if

if you were applying for a position within


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1. 800.973.1177

your church or associated with a particular

employers may even be turned off by your

for a position that would entail or loosely

political affiliation; just make sure that the

hobbies, which might spark images in

deal with travel, work with horses, and/or

information you provide is relevant.

their minds of you asking for three weeks

scrapbooking, for example, of course

off to fly to the Caribbean for a horseback

mentioning those hobbies would be relevant.

Like mentioning politics and religion, listing

riding and scrapbooking extravaganza. It

hobbies or interests can also be a risk, as

sounds extreme, but it is best to avoid giving

Reflect on all of the professional involvement

it can backfire. Hobbies such as traveling,

potential employers these kinds of ideas, if

that you have had throughout your life,

horseback riding, and scrapbooking are nice

you can help it.

extracting as many personal growth and

and all, but, really, most employers do not

learning experiences as you can. Take the

care what you like to do when you are not

The only case in which you might disregard

time to figure out what your greatest abilities

working. That is something to discuss when

this rule would be if you were applying

and accomplishments are, creating a list of

the two of you are making small talk after

for a job that specializes in a certain area

legitimate and outstanding experiences to

you’ve been hired. In some circumstances,

that interests you. If you were applying

mention on your resume.


Broadening Your Resume When Job Experience is Scarce  

Broadening the legal resume when legal job experience is scarce.