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Spring Cleaning Advice: Tidy Up Those Law School Résumés

Spring has sprung – or so I’m told. (I’ll have to take the word of others for that, since here in Boston we’re anticipating yet more snow this week!) And while you’re taking some time to do spring cleaning in other areas of your life, why not do some tidying for your law school résumé?

When you’re applying to law school, the purpose of the résumé is to present a more well-rounded picture of yourself. Schools should get a sense of your academic abilities from your letters of recommendation and a sense of your personality from your personal statement; the résumé is your chance to give them a better idea of your background.

Here’s what to clean off your law school résumé:

1. An objective – Objectives in general have fallen into disfavor, but they’re especially redundant on the résumé included with your law school application. It’s understood that your objective is to get into law school – no need to point that out.

2. Information from high school – Unless you won a Nobel Prize or an Olympic gold medal in high school, your information from high school is no longer relevant.

3. A second page – Unless you graduated at least seven years ago or so, you should keep your résumé to no more than one page. Admissions officers have a very limited amount of time to spend on each application, so keep your résumé brief so that the information you’re including can really sparkle.

Here’s what you can keep, as long as you give it a little shine*:

1. Summaries of your less glamorous jobs – When you’re applying for internships or for jobs, you might not include that you were a waitress or lifeguard for a summer. On your law school résumé, however, including those jobs can present a fuller picture of you. Leaving less prestigious jobs on your résumé can help explain what you were doing with all of your time while in college, as well as showing that you’re not too proud to do a little grunt work.

2. Relevant coursework – If you don’t have much to include on a résumé, you can include relevant courses that you took in college. Think outside the box here – you’re not limited to noting law-related courses. If you took a course that helped hone your writing or research skills, you can include that course as well.

While your résumé is unlikely to get you in to law school – your GPA and LSAT score are king there, followed by your personal statement – it is important to make sure your résumé is as polished as possible. If you’re unsure about anything else that you might include on your résumé, drop us a comment and we’ll tell you what we think!

*Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of things that should be on your law school résumé; instead, it’s a list of things you might not know you can include.