SAMPLE RESUME FORMAT FOR A PARALEGAL YOUR FULL NAME Your address Your telephone number(s) EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND PARALEGAL CERTIFICATE/SCHOOL - Location - Date of Certificate. If nationally certified, list that first. COLLEGE'S NAME - Degree and date Honors, organization, etc. - Put all college related information here. OTHER PERTINENT EDUCATION - Graduate school or law-related education only. EMPLOYMENT BACKGROUND Dates of employment - MOST CURRENT EMPLOYER Title. Job description Dates of employment - SECOND MOST CURRENT EMPLOYER Title. Job description COMPUTER SKILLS List the systems and programs, including Westlaw, Lexis, etc. that you can use. If you have no computer skills, omit this section. PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS List associations and organizations to which you belong that are important to your paralegal career. PERSONAL This is an optional section in which some people like to list their age, marital status, hobbies, etc. This is where you should state your fluency in other languages. INSTRUCTIONS FOR ASSEMBLING RESUMES We offer the following rules for your consideration in putting together your resume: 1. Make sure you include month and year in all dates. These are very important! 2. Your description of school activities should not be all-inclusive; rather, it should highlight your most outstanding accomplishments. If you do not have many, do not make any up and do not try to fill the space with unimportant information because this will only highlight your lack of accomplishments. Honors, scholarships and awards should be listed, as should any law-related activities (Pre-law Society, e.g.). Be brief in describing your school activities. Unless they are truly outstanding or relate closely to law, they need not be included. Do not list your high school education. 3. Include your college class rank if known and good; likewise for G.P.A. State the area of your major. 4. The description of your professional work experience is the most important part of your resume. You should describe your areas of practice, the types of matters you worked on and the specific tasks you performed EMPLOYER BY EMPLOYER WITH THE DATES FOR EACH. For example, if you were in litigation, you might state that you worked on product liability, medical malpractice and worker's compensation cases and that your responsibilities included drafting pleadings, summarizing depositions, cite checking, indexing files and trial notebook preparation. The broader your job, the lengthier your description will be. Please be certain that you give a full description for each employer because often where you did something is as meaningful as what you did. 5. If you worked on contract assignments, list this employment as "CONTRACT PARALEGAL". Do not list the name of any agency through whom you have worked. You should state the name of law firms and corporations for whom you have worked on a contract basis and the dates you worked for each firm or corporation, as well as a job description. 6. Unless you had a "career" before you became a paralegal, or you had a unique and impressive job, or you had a job related to law or your current area of practice, do not give a description of your pre-paralegal jobs. If you decide that you need to describe your pre- paralegal jobs, be as brief as possible. The more attention you give to non-paralegal experience, the more you detract from the experience in which the prospective employer is interested. 7. You may need to add additional headings depending on your background. For example, if you have been published a number of times, you may want a "Publications" heading. 8. Do not state an objective. Because your resume may be sent to different types of organizations who have different objectives in retaining you, you run the risk of shutting doors because of a perceived disparity in purpose. This type of information, when necessary, is best conveyed in a cover letter. 9. Make sure you keep your resume current. By showing a date of compilation in the bottom corner, you can explain very recent changes without causing alarm. Major changes, such as a change of employment, warrant the revision of your resume immediately. 10. Do not list references on your resume. You might need to rely on different references for different opportunities (for example, if you worked in the corporate and energy sections at firm XYZ but only listed a corporate reference on your resume, you will need to change it or add to it to give another reference if an opportunity in the energy area arises). 11. None of these rules is hard and fast. You will have to decide how best to portray your accomplishments. We suggest this format, however, because the majority of lawyer and paralegal resumes follow it and it is generally acceptable to all firms and law departments. Something more unusual may distract the reader from the information. Remember when you are deciding what to include that your audience is most likely going to be a lawyer or legal administrator with some experience, and he or she is reviewing your resume because they are considering you for a paralegal position. Therefore, you want your resume to convey as much as possible about your paralegal abilities, including names and dates. For this reason, your non-paralegal background should not take over your resume. 12. Your resume does not have to be typeset or printed. Any high quality typewriter or letter quality printer will suffice. PROOFREAD YOUR RESUME CAREFULLY. Typos and inaccuracies can cost you an opportunity. 13. If you do not want your current employer notified of your search or want your search to remain confidential for any reason, put a simple statement to that effect at the bottom of your resume. Many resumes state "Please do not contact my present employer without my consent" or "Please keep my resume and inquiry confidential." If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please call us.
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