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 2012 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.