“I can win any process, but I am ready to work strictly from 9:00 to 18:00, and I will come to the interview only after the end of the working day.” This attitude will scare away most employers, even if the candidate has a good education and suitable work experience.
To spoil the impression, list several jobs on your resume, upload a scan of your passport photo, and send it with a note saying “please consider me.” At the interview, don’t pick up the phone and ask about the salary right away.
But that’s “bad advice.” And if you want to find a good job, read the expert advice on how to write a resume and what to say at a job interview.
By the way, we recommend you the best professional resume writers for law firms you can find them here.
Post-Quarantine Reality: Is there a demand for new hires?
Job search rules are becoming relevant again after the pandemic. The legal job market did suffer during the general quarantine period, but as it turned out, it was a temporary phenomenon.
Employers responded almost immediately to the end of the self-imposed quarantine: in June, the number of open “legal” vacancies increased immediately by 43% compared to May. Then the growth continued. Thus, in July the number of offers for lawyers increased by 19% compared to the previous month, and in August – another 7%.
1. Decide on a position
Don’t list several dissimilar positions on your resume. One document, one position. “A person doesn’t know what they want if they write ‘I’m looking for a partner, senior associate, attorney, head of the legal department and a junior associate, too, but at a normal salary.
2. Leave only the necessary facts
Resume should not turn into a stream of information from which the employer will have to “fish out” important details. For example, it looks rather absurd for a lawyer candidate’s resume to include the number of the military unit where he served. This is important for work in law enforcement and other government agencies, but not for a commercial organization.
In addition, the same facts may have different meaning for different positions. For example, an applicant for a full-time position in a non-legal company need not include media publications and comments. Moreover, “media savvy” in this case can be a disadvantage.
But potential employees of consulting firms, on the contrary, can safely specify it. However, a complete list of publications should not be given, it is better to limit the general words that they have, so as not to overload the resume.
3. Get your work experience in order
It’s often a bad idea to list 10 years of experience on a resume, as well as work outside the legal field. If a candidate has extensive legal experience, it’s important to take your time and tailor it to your chosen job, advises the head of one energy company’s legal department.
Most helpful to a potential employer will be information about the candidate’s specialty, the category of cases or tasks he or she has worked on recently. When describing experience, it is also important to pay attention to the results of the work.
If a lawyer writes about judicial work, the potential employer will be interested in how a particular case ended, that is, whether the court was won or not.
However, sometimes you can also talk about “non-legal” work. For example, if you have little experience in your specialty, or you want to emphasize certain responsibilities that you think might be a plus in a new position. But these points should not be described in detail. Write the necessary minimum.
4. Maintain confidentiality
We advise you not to include cases, client names, company names and amounts won in your portfolio unless this information is public. If you wish, feel free to include your salary.
It is perfectly acceptable to state your salary expectations in a bland way. A professional who can’t estimate his or her “worth” is either not market-oriented or has self-esteem problems.
5. Don’t specify a rigid work schedule
A “strictly 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.” work schedule is usually inconvenient for an employer, especially for a consulting firm. Legal work sometimes requires inclusion outside of normal business hours, so such a candidate will likely not be considered.
6. Shorten the length and simplify the wording
No one has time to read long resumes overloaded with wording. You should be able to talk about yourself briefly and meaningfully, so resumes of 10-15 pages are unacceptable. You get tired of reading them in the first pages.
It is best to limit yourself to one page. Complex words and phrases are better replaced by live forms, close to the conversational. And typical phrases from the category of “resolute”, “easy to learn” is better to be excluded altogether, adds the head of the legal department of an energy company.
7. Include a “business” photo
The photo should be business style – a neutral portrait in a good quality business suit. Other options are not appropriate, although they are often seen on resumes. Photographs are often perplexing. These are selfies in front of the mirror, in the garden with flowers, wedding photos, college graduation, New Year’s corporate party and a scan of a passport photo.
8. Check the details
Fonts should be consistent and formatting should be smooth. No spelling or punctuation errors. Many lawyers are perfectionists, so they react keenly to typos and “floating” formatting in documents, including resumes.
A lawyer’s job requires attention to detail as well as meticulousness; these qualities should be evident when writing a resume. Bold fonts, underlines, and exclamation points should be avoided. The resume should be quiet for perception, it is also a good idea to divide the information into blocks and thus give the document structure.
9. A cover letter is important
Writing a resume is only half the battle; a cover letter must be included in the body of the letter. Without it, the letter stands a good chance of ending up in the trash. A properly drafted cover letter is the best way to stand out from other job seekers. Here are three basic rules.
- Don’t try to embrace the immensity and send resumes to a hundred places at once by spamming, but choose a specific list of companies you would like to work for, analyze their websites, social media accounts, and write individual letters. It is advisable not to copy completely identical text, because such copying is usually always very noticeable: the addressee’s name is inserted in a different font or is not replaced at all.
- “Consider my resume” letters mostly stay in the mail. The letter is an opportunity to snag an employer, but 70% of candidates don’t take advantage of it. It is not uncommon for job seekers to take the trouble to retell their resume in a cover letter. This should not be done; it is important that the cover letter be concise and clearly state who you are and why you want to work for this particular company.
- In cover letters, it is important for the candidate not only to talk about himself or herself, but also to show how he or she can be useful to the company. It is also worth highlighting the implemented projects of the recipient company, for example “I have heard a lot about interesting projects of your firm, especially I remember a case when your team successfully defended company A in a dispute with company B.”