When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

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Anonymous User
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When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:18 am

Is it preferable to skimp on details of some jobs in order to include everything you've done? I've participated in several different relevant activities in law school (multiple clinics/summer associate jobs, publication, upcoming clerkship) and I'd like the reader to see all those, but it's impossible to fit them all on one page with multiple bullets under each one.

Do clerks, when reading applications, focus more on the title and less on what you said you did?

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Re: When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:Is it preferable to skimp on details of some jobs in order to include everything you've done? I've participated in several different relevant activities in law school (multiple clinics/summer associate jobs, publication, upcoming clerkship) and I'd like the reader to see all those, but it's impossible to fit them all on one page with multiple bullets under each one.

Do clerks, when reading applications, focus more on the title and less on what you said you did?


My resume says, "Activities:" then lists, separated by commas, the things I did in law school like journal, clubs, etc. It takes up two lines. Maybe you could consider squeezing some of the stuff you're treating as actual jobs into that sort of format? Clinics, being an RA, and the upcoming clerkship might be good candidates, though you might want to emphasize the latter by giving it its own spot.

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Re: When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:50 am

I considered doing that. I was afraid that those sections are more likely to be skimmed over to get to the "meat" of things, and I feel like my clinical experience have really helped me build substantive skills I'd like to emphasize.
But I understand that some things have to be sacrificed to get everything on a page...

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:47 pm

I would definitely not lump clinic and the upcoming clerkship into activities - I don't think you really need any bullets under the upcoming clerkship (everyone you're applying for a clerkship with knows what a clerkship is), but I think it's definitely worth providing some details about what you did in a clinic. However, I also think it's possible to describe what you did in the various jobs/clinic without bullet points if they basically fit on one line, e.g.

Summer Associate, Law Firm X, City Y, State
Researched and wrote legal memoranda in support of litigation, drafted motions and responsive pleadings.

(rather than:
Summer Associate, Law Firm X, City Y, State
• Performed legal research
• Wrote legal memoranda
• Drafted motions
• Drafted responsive pleadings)

You may not have meant this literally, but I'm not sure what bullets you'd need under a publication, either.

Finally, I am also one of the few people who will say that if you absolutely can't fit everything you need onto 1 page, go to 2 pages. (It never hurt me, but there are a lot of people here who disagree with that, just to be clear, so you may not want to take that advice.) But if you're getting just a couple of lines on the second page, I'd say you're better off messing with fonts/spacing to stay on one page. (For instance: in the past, I have shrunk the lines between my paragraphs - if your resume is in 11 pt font, select the blank line between a section and make it 6 pt font - it will still be obvious white space, but it garners a little more space for the rest.)

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Postby Myself » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:32 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

lolwat
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Re: When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby lolwat » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:54 pm

There are a LOT of things you can do to stay on one page... A. Nony Mouse and ajax adonis basically hit on some things you can do.

I personally have a few work entries with no description below them of the work I performed... I think I will add something to my clerkship one because some of the experience is somewhat specialized. For example, if you worked in CDCA/NDCA/EDTX with a judge that had a subtantial patent docket, you would put that in the description, but if it was an otherwise pretty vanilla clerkship, I would think 99.9% of judges/attorneys get it if you just list your position ("Law Clerk" or "Judicial Law Clerk" or whatever) without having to describe what you did. I think this is probably OK to put for your Summer Associate position too. I mean, everyone does fairly similar things there too right?

I do really agree with this, though:

Finally, I am also one of the few people who will say that if you absolutely can't fit everything you need onto 1 page, go to 2 pages. (It never hurt me, but there are a lot of people here who disagree with that, just to be clear, so you may not want to take that advice.)


Here's the thing, you're either a rising 3L, a 3L, or a fairly recent graduate. If you've honestly done enough law-related stuff to have a fairly substantive 2 pages, go for it! Don't be a douche about it, though. I saw a 2-page resume where there was literally like 15 bullet points under their Law School because they separated out 10 of the same award for different classes. Yeah, we get it, you got the top grade in 10 classes, but you could have listed that on 2-3 lines on your resume.

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Re: When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:50 am

Thanks all. This was super helpful ( but I of course welcome any more)

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Re: When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:34 pm

I would caution against going two pages on the CV, personally. I have multiple non-law grad degrees and fairly substantial work experience and my judge commented DURING my interview that he was very glad to see I fit it all into a 1-page CV because if he could keep his CV to one page after a very esteemed and lengthy legal career, he thought it outlandish that a 24-year-old would need more space than he did.

If you're crunched, only enumerate the things that are substantial enough and related enough to warrant specific explanations and just include others under "activities" for the relevant degree. I have one of my clinics separately listed b/c, as you said, it's much more relevant to certain jobs, but most of my activities are just grouped under "activities."

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Re: When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do clerks, when reading applications, focus more on the title and less on what you said you did?

Will depend on the person reading your resume.

I'm a staff attorney, and I just review internship applications, so take this with a grain of salt. I would rather see a lot of things on the resume rather than more detail for a few. I dislike seeing bullet points for temporary / non-full-time work experience. Usually I have a pretty good impression of what a job entails from the title and employer. I can ask questions about what you did during the interview. Bullet points rarely pique my interest, and sometimes they give me a bad impression of the applicant because it looks like the applicant is bolstering otherwise routine experiences (e.g., "participated in negotiations with a Fortune 100 company" during a summer internship says to me "carried a box to the conference room and kept my mouth shut").

The greater variety of things you list on your resume, the more opportunities there will be for someone's interest to be piqued.

lolwat
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Re: When shortening a resume for clerkship applications

Postby lolwat » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I would caution against going two pages on the CV, personally. I have multiple non-law grad degrees and fairly substantial work experience and my judge commented DURING my interview that he was very glad to see I fit it all into a 1-page CV because if he could keep his CV to one page after a very esteemed and lengthy legal career, he thought it outlandish that a 24-year-old would need more space than he did.

If you're crunched, only enumerate the things that are substantial enough and related enough to warrant specific explanations and just include others under "activities" for the relevant degree. I have one of my clinics separately listed b/c, as you said, it's much more relevant to certain jobs, but most of my activities are just grouped under "activities."


I think the point is that it's really case-by-case. For example, if the judge went from law school to clerkship to biglaw to federal judge, then it's easy to see why his resume can be confined on one page: he only needs three "experience" entries for his entire legal career, on top of the fact that he doesn't really need to list more than maybe 2-3 honors/activities for his LS because he's been out so long. On the other hand, if the judge went from law school to D.Ct. clerkship to COA clerkship to SCOTUS clerkship to biglaw to USAO to lit boutique to state judge to district judge to COA judge, and published LR articles while he was in private practice, then it takes a LOT more creativity to confine his resume to one page (likely a separate "clerkships" section rather than listing them all as individual employment, and likely not giving much detail into any other particular entry). Not saying it's impossible, but it takes a lot more effort.

Your multiple non-law degrees and substantial work experience can generally be cut pretty short (as their relevancy to any legal job you're applying to is likely minimal, and you would probably have a separate resume if your non-law degree and other work experience were relevant), so I'm not terribly surprised that you might be able to limit it to one page.




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