How do you increase the chances that the resume you submit will end up in the “interview” pile? That was the topic of session 2 of the LCL/MBA-sponsored seminar series, Managing Your Work Search. Mandie LeBeau, Esq., Director of Career Services of New England Law/Boston gave excellent resume and cover letter tips for job seekers. Bearing in mind that your resume delivers that powerful “first impression” to the prospective employer, among her many suggestions, beginning with the most basic, but often overlooked at your peril are: 1) Be sure spelling, grammar, syntax, and construction is perfect. An error says you’re careless and may result in automatic discard. 2) Be totally honest. Fact-checking is increasingly routine in the screening process. 3) Be concise; your resume will likely get only a 30-45 second glance, so your selling points should be quickly identifiable. Limit length to 1 page for 5 or fewer years of post-law school experience, and not more than 2 pages for more than 5 years. 4) Be conservative in font (Times New Roman), format (bullets), and paper (plain & ivory). 5) Write a one-page cover letter (in the same font and paper) specific to each job to which you apply, which addresses the employer’s needs, what you can do for them, the relevant skills you possess, and reasons for your interest in being part of their organization. 6) Create an additional page (consistent paper and font) with a minimum of 3 references (with names, titles, company, and contact info) who have agreed in advance to serve as your reference.
These tips are the bare bones of a much more detailed and to-the-point package of information provided by Ms. LeBeau.
If you are interested in participating in the next Managing Your Work Search series, please watch at this site or the MBA site for start date and registration information.
A recent compilation of “The 25 Best Books About Addiction” reminded me of my appreciation for biographies and autobiographies about individuals’ journeys into alcoholism/addiction (and preferably from there to recovery). Some of the books on that list are Heather King’s memoir, Parched and neuroscientist Marc Lewis’ Memoirs of an Addicted Brain (neither of which I’ve yet read), as well as Drinking: A Love Story by the late journalist Caroline Knapp, which I did read years ago. (Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, which I saw as a performance piece, is very entertaining if not chock full of addiction information.) I also recently enjoyed Augusten Burroughs’ memoir, Dry, and I know there are several more in the back of my memory. If you have other favorites, please email me (see Contact page) and at some point I’ll post a more comprehensive list of memoirs.
Jeff Fortgang, PhD
Is there anyone out there who enjoys looking for a job? Anyone who doesn’t feel a bit alone, or overwhelmed by it? If you answered yes, we know you’re trying to put a brave face on it. But if you’re a lawyer seeking employment, you may be interested in knowing that you don’t have to go it alone. LCL and the MBA have teamed up to offer an instructive and supportive program to help you manage your work search and avoid succumbing to the ego-deflating blows it can sometimes deliver. Tricia Hennessey, JD, of the Hennessey Consulting Group, was guest speaker at the 1st session of this 8-session series begun on September 5th at MBA Headquarters. She got the group off to a good start by posing questions participants need to be able to answer with clarity, for their own sake as well to be comfortably prepared for “the interview.” Questions pertaining to experience, skills, preferences, sources of inspiration – all of which add up to the self-knowledge that provides a good foundation upon which to build (or continue) a career. Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first 4 hours sharpening the ax.” Dwelling on these questions, using tools such as the Myers-Briggs Inventory (you can Google it) helps you sharpen the ax by providing clarity, purpose, direction, and ultimately confidence as you seek your next niche in the market place. More than just information, though, this series requires accountability, so participants commit themselves every week to the accomplishment of achievable goals, for report back at the next session. That incentive, plus the exchange of experience, information, tips, contacts, and resources is synergistic and helps keep the momentum going!
(We regret to say that this series is now closed to new participants, but will be offered again in the spring. For more information, www.lclma.org, or www.MBA.org )