Online resume critiques have become more and more common, and there are even a few that focus on legal resumes. Unfortunately, most of the comments we’ve seen are not worthwhile.
We look at dozens of attorney resumes each day. The purpose of a resume is to provide enough information about who you are and what you personally have done or accomplished. The goal is to create interest in your candidacy to get an interview where you can provide more detail. In order to do this, the information on your resume must be clear and concise.
For the purposes of this post I’d like to focus on one particular error that we see all too regularly. We see everyone from first year associates to General Counsels of F500 companies make this mistake!
What does this mean on a resume?
You represent the client.
Consider the following resume bullet points:
Represented refers to your client. What our clients want to know is something descriptive about your client. Energy company, clients, and public and private companies are all too vague.
We know that client confidentiality is an issue, but please give your reader enough detail!
Something along the lines of closely held distribution utility, privately held solar and wind development company, multi-state transmission and distribution electric and gas utility, or national interstate pipeline will allow your reader to better understand what issues were involved.
What you have actually done or accomplished?
The word represented is not the best to show what you’ve actually done or accomplished. Use a verb that has some more substantive meaning.
If you “represented energy companies in regulatory proceedings,” wouldn’t it be much more useful to the person reading your resume to know:
The next time you’re working on your resume, read it as though you’re the person hiring.
If you’re looking for someone to come in and lead your state regulatory group and you receive the two following bullet points on a resume, which is more compelling?
These two individuals may have the exact same experience, but every single one of our clients will interview the second person, first.
They may pass on the first person altogether.