Putting Together a Professional Paralegal Resume

Error free, effective paralegal resumes can make the difference between hearing back or having your resume tossed.

First off, attention to detail is extremely important here. You are making a first impression. It really needs to be a good one. You will hear the saying "The devil is in the details" over the course of your legal career.

Details are everything.

Nothing gets on the nerves of attorneys faster than when a detail is missed.

There are two ways you might circulate your resume.

First, if you're responding to an employment listing through Craigslist you'll need to craft a great cover letter and produce a sharp resume. This is your one-to-one contact and it's often blind as you don't know who your potential employer may be. This is where a good first impression counts. 

Second, if you're using a recruiting agency for placement, a recruiter will guide you on how to improve your resume. They evaluate your resume for strengths and weaknesses and offer advice on how to shore up your curriculum vitae.

Recruiters are important connections to have because they know what employers (their customers) are looking for and they also know how to position you for the job. However, don't rely on any one means for gaining employment. In today's market, utilize recruiters if that's available in your area and stay on top of job listings through sites like Craigslist, Job.com, Monster.com and others.

And, don't forget about networking.

People like hiring candidates that come to them from other friends or colleagues. I've utilized all three methods above and consequently I've experienced very little down time when moving on to new positions.

Back to paralegal resumes...

The usual contact information applies and includes, name, address, phone number and email. Not all resumes offer a career objective, but that can be useful whether you're new or not. It helps to focus your resume.

Include your education, certifications, experience level, software knowledge, special skills (e.g., foreign languages spoken), hobbies or interests if space permits. Ideally you want to keep this to one page.

Unless you're a professional, such as a medical doctor or Ph.D, keep the resume to one page.

People reviewing resumes scan them. If something catches their eye they'll read further. But you'll lose their attention with a resume that goes on and on and on... There just isn't enough time to page through a multiple page resume when there are 100s more waiting to be reviewed.

Your resume should provide...

Accurate information, no fluff. Just the facts.
Error free. It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway... spelling mistakes dont or rather don't belong in a resume.
Clean, easy to read and concise.
One page whenever possible. Use your cover letter to elaborate.

A good, well-crafted resume can move you up the line of potential candidates for that interview you've been waiting for.

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