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Upgrading Your Resume for On-Campus Interviews (OCI)


Title: Upgrading Your Resume and Cover Letter Author: Christine Guard Last modified by: rmarsey Created Date: 9/29/2010 2:06:49 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Upgrading Your Resume for On-Campus Interviews (OCI)

Upgrading Your Resume for On-Campus Interviews
  • And Other Documents for an Application Packet

Presented by The Placement Office Elmer
Ignacio, Esq., Director eignacio_at_law.fsu.edu Beck
y Marsey, Assistant Director rmarsey_at_law.fsu.edu
Why Do I Need to Upgrade My Resume?
  • Your resume tells employers what you have learned
    and the type of experiences you have gained
  • Todays job market is very competitive
  • You will be competing with classmates and
    students from other schools that are credentialed
    and have varying backgrounds and levels of
  • The better your resume, the better your chances
    of succeeding in the employment search, not just
    during OCI

Why are resumes so important?
  • Your resume is your first impression with that
  • Most legal recruiters will spend less than 30
    seconds reviewing your resume
  • You want to make sure that you are portraying
    yourself in a manner that is positive, organized,
    concise, and persuasive
  • Your resume should be your absolute best work

Characteristics of a good resume
  • Concise and brief
  • One page
  • Arranged so that the high points can be absorbed
    in literally 20 seconds
  • Does not contain first person pronouns (i.e.
  • Free of grammatical, typographical, and spelling
  • All information provided is correct, including
    dates and titles

Resume Suggestions
  • Stick to standard Margins .7 to 1 inch
  • Use standard font sizes 10 to 12 point
  • List only one phone number
  • Be consistent with formatting
  • Do not overuse bold and italics
  • Include any and ALL legal / law related
  • List most recent education and work experiences
    first and work backward

Basic Format of the 2L / 3L Resume
  • The education section will be first
  • Under the appropriate educational institution
    highlight outstanding activities and academic
  • The Experience / Employment section should follow
  • Using Experience instead of Employment allows you
    to include clinical work, internships, and / or
    volunteer work

Education Section
  • List your law degree as Juris Doctor Candidate,
    May 200_ or Juris Doctor, expected May 200_
  • Do NOT estimate G.P.A. or Class Rank
  • Use 100-point scale for reporting G.P.A.
  • Include undergraduate academic achievements
  • Include any activities and organizations under
    the appropriate school
  • Transfer students should include the previous law

Should I include my G.P.A. or other grade
  • If grades are an important hiring criterion to a
    particular employer and you do not have top
    grades, they will likely not select you for an
    interview with or without them being listed.
  • Generally, you want to include information that
    works to your advantage.
  • Some employers will assume the worst if no grade
    information is provided.
  • If your grades have shown consistent improvement,
    you may want to highlight that by breaking them
    down by academic year.
  • If you have significant work experience or other
    qualifications to set you apart from others, then
    an employer may very well select you for an
    interview without any grade information.

Listing G.P.A.
  • Use only your G.P.A. received from the Law School
    Registrars Office.
  • Do NOT calculate your own GPA.
  • Report your G.P.A. in the 100-point scale
  • Do NOT report G.P.A. using the 4.0-scale used by
    main campus
  • When obtaining transcripts for OCI purposes, use
    only the unofficial transcripts obtained from the
    Law School Registrars Office. Do NOT use
    transcripts obtained through Blackboard.
  • To obtain your official G.P.A. and an unofficial
    transcript, submit a records request

Class Rank and G.P.A.
  • 2L Information
  • You will only have Class Rank and GPA

Class Rank and G.P.A.
  • 3L Information

3Ls (non-transfers) Have Both Sets 3Ls (non-transfers) Have Both Sets
Class Rank GPA Upper Level Rank Upper-Level GPA
Includes your first year grades. DOES NOT INCLUDE your first year grades.
DOES NOT INCLUDE transfer students INCLUDES transfer students
Class Rank and G.P.A.
  • 3L Information
  • Listing Credentials on Resumes and
  • Job Applications
  • OPTION 1
  • List only Class Rank GPA

Class Rank and G.P.A.
  • 3L Information
  • Listing Credentials on Resumes and
  • Job Applications
  • OPTION 2
  • Include your Upper-Level Rank and Upper-Level
  • If you choose this option, you MUST also indicate
    your Class Rank and GPA

Class Rank and G.P.A.
  • Transfer Student Information
  • Indicate your rank and GPA from your previous law
    school under that law school on your resume.
  • Any subsequent rank and GPA you receive from
    Florida State University College of Law should be
    indicated as your Upper-Level Rank and
    Upper-Level GPA under FSU Law on your resume

Experience Section
  • Include ALL legal experience
  • Include non-legal experience
  • List your most recent position / experience first

Tips for Including Non-Legal Jobs
  • When listing non-legal positions, highlight your
    transferable skills
  • Key transferable skills include
  • Writing
  • Research
  • Leadership
  • Communication / Client Contact

Action Words
  • When writing your descriptions for internships,
    externships, volunteer positions, or previous
    employment, try to use action words
  • Vary your usage
  • Use a thesaurus
  • Do not Research and write everything!
  • Analyze
  • Formulate
  • Develop
  • Prepare

A Sample of Action Verbs
  • Achieved
  • Analyzed
  • Authored
  • Chaired
  • Clarified
  • Communicated
  • Coordinated
  • Counseled
  • Demonstrated
  • Delegated
  • Developed
  • Established
  • Evaluated
  • Examined
  • Formulated
  • Implemented
  • Managed
  • Mediated
  • Negotiated
  • Operated
  • Organized
  • Performed
  • Planned
  • Presented
  • Prioritized
  • Provided
  • Reduced
  • Researched
  • Revised
  • Scheduled
  • Solved
  • Supervised
  • Trained
  • Translated
  • Verified
  • Wrote

Sample Resumes
Example of how to list previous law school if you
are a transfer student.
If you did well in your undergraduate degree, it
may be to your advantage to showcase this.
In this example, the student separated legal
experience from previous work experience. This
is not necessary, but may be advantageous if your
legal experience gets lost among other work
Adding community involvement and / or interests
can be advantageous by providing a source of
additional topics of conversation. Hobbies
should be interesting, and not weird.
Great grades in only certain classes. Listed
these on the resume.
This student was published prior to law school.
Any publications are great to include on a
Example of how to list GPA and Class Rank
Book Award listed.
Example of how to list two degrees.
Student has foreign language skills. This is
important to include. Be sure not to overstate
your abilities. Typical levels listed include
Native, fluent, proficient, conversational. Be
prepared to speak in the language if asked!
Unsure if you should include it?
  • Avoid activities that might portray you as a
    "party animal" or non-academic type.
  • If you were the social chairman for an
    organization, you might want to use a different
  • That does not mean that you should always leave
    off things like membership in a fraternity or
  • Carefully consider what value including your
    activities might add.
  • If you had a leadership position within your
    fraternity or sorority, this might demonstrate
    leadership skills, commitment, etc.
  • Consider when and when not to include political
    allegiances or membership in politically
    sensitive organizations.
  • You have no idea of the personal likes and
    dislikes of the readers of your resume.

Writing Sample
  • The four types of legal writing
  • Application Analysis. This includes memos,
    briefs, judicial opinions, and law school exams.
  • Critical Analysis. Includes seminar papers and
    law review articles and case notes.
  • Legal Drafting. Includes contracts,
    interrogatories, and pleadings.
  • Legal Correspondence. Includes letters to
    clients and other attorneys.
  • Most employers expect to see an application
    analysis, as this is what the attorney or law
    student is going to be asked to do in his or her
  • Items produced during your first-year legal
    writing courses are excellent examples of
    self-edited work.

Writing Sample cont.
  • Employers expect about 5-10 pages of your best
  • Legal employers would rather see legal analysis
    something like a memo or brief is preferred over
    a research paper, and something on a legal topic
    is preferable to a non-legal paper.
  • If you use an excerpt, indicate it is an excerpt.
  • Make certain you use a cover sheet or other
    method to indicate that it is your writing
  • Obtain approval before using materials from a
    previous employer!

TIP You do not need to submit a writing sample
to an employer unless it has been requested.
However, you should bring copies of your writing
sample to all interviews.
Cover Letter
  • For OCI, you will only submit a cover letter if
    requested by the employer.
  • Keep the letter to one page.
  • During a regular job search, a personal,
    well-crafted cover letter should accompany each
    resume you send to an employer. Unless it is not
  • A cover letter offers you an opportunity to make
    a positive first impression on the firm or
    organization. It should be error free!
  • Mention any pertinent information about yourself
    not available in your resume.

Cover Letter cont.
  • Always address the cover letter to a specific
    personnever send a letter to whom it may
  • For OCI purposes, you may address the cover
    letter to the contact listed in Symplicity.
  • Do not use passive voice
  • Do not waste time with puffery about the firm's
    overall strength, prestige, or size.
  • The letter should establish logical reasons for
    sending your resume to a particular employer
    (your experience, geographical considerations,
    personal contact, etc.) and state your interest
    in and qualifications for the particular type of

Cover Letter The Breakdown
  • First Paragraph
  • Introduce yourself.
  • Tell why you are writing, name the position for
    which you are applying, and tell how you heard of
    this opening.
  • Many OCI employers will want to know why you are
    interested in a particular location. The first
    paragraph can be a great place to demonstrate any
    ties or particular interest for a specific area.
  • Examples
  • "Having been raised in Seattle, I intend to
    return to the Northwest to practice law after I
  • "I spent four years as an undergraduate at
    Georgetown, and I intend to practice law in
    Washington, D.C. ,following my graduation."
  • Having visited Atlanta numerous times, I am
    attracted to both the professional and personal
    opportunities that your city offers.

Cover Letter The Breakdown
  • Second and Third Paragraphs
  • State your skills and establish your value.
    Answer What can you do for the employer?
  • Supplement, not replicate, the information on
    your resume.
  • Establish traits which an employer expects from
    an employable law student
  • Excellent legal writing and research skills.
  • Mention skills that you dont have on your
    resume. (i.e. ability to work under deadline
    pressure outgoing ambitious).
  • Explain how your non-legal skills translate into
    the legal profession.
  • For example, if you have worked in retail, you
    might say that your "customer service experience
    has prepared you for the challenge of dealing
    with attorneys and clients with diverse
    backgrounds and goals.
  • Unique qualifications may come from work
    experience, an academic experience as an
    undergraduate, or in another graduate school or
    from an extracurricular activity.

Cover Letter The Breakdown
  • Final Paragraph
  • Assert your method of follow up.
  • Have an appropriate closing to pave the way for
    the interview by giving your telephone number or
    by offering some similar suggestion for an
    immediate and favorable reply.
  • Let the employer know if you will be in that area
    or that you will call to arrange for an interview
    and that your resume is enclosed.
  • Thank the employer for their time.

  • Use the header and format from your resume
  • Have 3-4 listed
  • For OCI purposes, submit only when requested
  • References may include professors, previous
    employers, current employers, contacts from
    volunteer positions that can speak to your work
    ethic and ability
  • As a courtesy, ask and notify anyone you list as
    a reference.
  • Have available at your interview

References An Example
Sample Reference List and Resume. Notice the
student used the same header for both.
Make sure to list complete contact information
for each reference.
Commonly Asked Questions
  • Should I include information about my high school
    or activities I did in high school?
  • Generally you should remove high school
    experiences from your resume.
  • Should I include my LSAT scores on my resume?
  • No, you should not include LSAT scores. At this
    stage, your academic achievements will be most
    relevant to the employer.
  • Should I include an objective on my resume?
  • No, listing an object is a common space water.
  • Should I include my computer skills on my resume?
  • It is universally assumed that all law students
    have and will graduate with skills in word
    processing and on-line research. The exception
    is if you have advanced computer skills, that are
    directly relevant to the position you are
    seeking. For example, advanced research
    certificate in WestLaw or Lexis.

Commonly Asked Questions
  • Should I include the tag line References and
    writing sample available upon request?
  • No, this statement takes up valuable resume
  • Should I include my permanent home address?
  • Often times if your permanent address can show
    ties to the area, it may be beneficial to include
    on the resume.
  • I was invited to a Journal, but did not join,
    should I place this on my resume?
  • It is of questionable benefit and can only lead
    to the question, why didnt you join.
  • Can Pro Bono experience be placed on the resume?
  • It can be placed on your resume, particularly if
    you have no other legal experience. Just
    indicate it appropriately.

  • For individual questions regarding your resume,
    or to have your resume reviewed, please contact
    the Placement Office.
  • Placement Office
  • 850.644.4495
  • Elmer Ignacio, Esq., Director
  • eignacio_at_law.fsu.edu
  • Becky Marsey, Assistant Director
  • rmarsey_at_law.fsu.edu
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