Does the look and feel of your legal resume make a difference? The answer is yes! You can consider your resume to be your calling card. In many cases, it creates the first impression that a business contact, recruiter, or prospective employer will have of you. And, as they say, first impressions are lasting impressions.
This example legal resume includes an eye-catching resume design with a deep brown marble-looking background for key sections. This gives the resume, written for a licensed lawyer targeting corporate counsel positions, a high-level, powerful, sophisticated look. When you choose the design and colors for your resume, you should always make strategic choices in alignment with both your personal brand and the expectations of the industry and profession you are applying for.
The color brown conveys brand traits such as stability, reliability, and practicality. A deep brown such as that used in this legal resume can convey a premium and rich brand as well. These are all traits that are highly valued in the legal profession.
A deep green or deep blue would have worked equally well for this resume. Imagine, though, if we had chosen a lime green or neon pink, or a pastel color. These colors all convey brand traits that are not in alignment with the law profession, so they would create the wrong impression, and probably not in a good way.
Writing a legal resume isn’t all that different from writing any resume. Like any resume, you need to make sure it is properly focused. While this might seem obvious–focus on your law background and qualifications–it isn’t quite that straight cut. Lawyers work in all sorts of professions, including as a corporate counsel such as this example legal resume is targeting. Other common jobs for lawyers include human resources management roles or government affairs.
If you decide to use your law degree to practice law in a law firm or in private practice, you will need to make sure your resume is properly targeted for that goal. For example, is your career focus on criminal law, civil law, intellectual property law, real estate law, probate law, employment and labor law, or some other specialty?
Each of these law specialties will have its own set of qualifications that you should emphasize in your legal resume. For example, you will want to include qualifications such as the following:
- The types of clients you have worked with
- The # of clients you have worked with
- Negotiations you have conducted
- Transactions and deals you have worked on
- Experience with jury proceedings and trials
- Experience dealing with regulators or government agencies
- Types of legal documents you have worked on
- Types of legal research or discovery you’ve worked on
- Bar associations you belong to
As you write your resume be conscious of the fact that your resume is likely to be entered into an applicant tracking system (ATS). For this reason, you should make sure your resume is keyword optimized and also structured in an ATS-friendly way.