Your resume structure is usually dependent on the type of resume format you choose. As a law student, it’s likely that you lack legal work experience. In that case, you can apply for entry-level jobs as a law student by formatting a functional resume.
A functional resume places primary focus on skills and personality qualities. With this resume type, you’ll be able to go into more depth about your passion to represent and fight for the public interest, explaining why your skills make you the ideal candidate for the role.
Regardless of the type of resume format you choose, your resume is still likely to have similar sections. These are:
- Resume Summary
- Work History
Your resume header section is usually the first part of your resume and contains all of your contact information. In this section, you can include:
- Your name
- Phone number
- Email address
This gives the hiring manager the chance to contact you with updates about your application. You can also include a link to any professional networking sites like LinkedIn. This is a great way of showing off your professional contacts and helps to provide the hiring manager or recruiter with more information.
Legal employers might also wish to know how engaged you are with updates in the legal industry.LinkedIn is a good place to showcase your engagement.
Your resume summary is your chance to grab the hiring manager’s attention. This section usually consists of two to three sentences that summarize why you’re the ideal candidate for an entry-level role. You can include brief explanations of your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, efforts in public service, and membership in student organizations.
Ultimately, your goal for this section is to encourage the hiring manager to keep reading. If you have experience in volunteer work, especially within public justice, then you can include this in your summary.
If you provide a striking resume summary, then you might encourage the hiring manager or employer to invite you to an interview to discuss your experience.
Your skills section might be the most important part of your resume if you choose a functional format over a chronological or combination. Your resume skills section should have a good mixture of both hard and soft skills. Here is a guide to hard skills and soft skills:
- Hard skills: Role-specific and usually the legal employer’s minimum expectation of candidates.
- Soft skills: Transferable across multiple industries, supporting candidates in their communication and collaborative activities
If you’re struggling to think of terms that sum up your knowledge of the legal profession, then think about including these skills as bullet points in your legal resume:
- Legal research
- Attention to detail
- Working effectively under pressure
- Time management
Your experience section is important to show your potential employer that you have enough industry experience to give you the right hard skills. You can include information from law internships, brief work experience in law firms, and any examples that might be relevant to the job description.
You should list your previous job titles in reverse chronological order. You can do this by starting from the most recent example and working backward. This gives the hiring manager the most up-to-date information.
You can also include any experience you have in a college or law school-arranged moot court. This shows the employer that you are familiar with how to navigate a court environment.
Below each job title, you should also include your previous employer’s company name, location and the date you started and finished.
You can also include part-time roles, as long as they’re relevant to your career objectives and have contributed to your hard and soft skills.
Your education section is very important to show the hiring manager that you have all the specialist industry academic knowledge to work in a legal profession. You should include the title of your bachelor’s degree, law school and your graduation date.
Having a law degree is the minimum expectation of intake, so providing this information is critical. If you have additional achievements such as making the Dean’s List or you graduated cum laude, you can also feature this information under this heading.
You should also include your college GPA under this section so that the hiring manager can assess your performance.