Questions About Softs

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Fish127
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Questions About Softs

Postby Fish127 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:45 am

So after this summer I'll have about two years of UG left, and thus far I don't really have much in the way of softs. I'm aware that numbers are really what matter, but at the same time I'm aware that it will look strange if I don't have anything to put in that column. I did work a full time job in my family's restaurant for about five years after high school, but a good chunk of that time was spent basically working for free, and I'm not sure if I can list that without being able to show documentation of the time. I worked 5-8 hours a day, 7 days a week, but I was only paid for 3-5 hours, 3,4 days a week. My questions:

1) Any advice on the sort of things that I can do over the next 2-3 years to have something half way decent to show on my application?

2) Will I be able to say that I worked full time for 5 years, or will they only accept what I can show them off of my tax returns and pay stubs and such?

3) How would I go about tracking community service hours? Do I document that myself or do I have whoever's organizing the event sign a form or something? I would feel like kind of a scumbag going up to somebody running a soup kitchen and saying "sign this form so that my perspective law school thinks that I care about people!"

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cron1834
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby cron1834 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:53 am

Who has been telling you that anyone cares about any of this? Pay stubs? Hours forms? This is all bullshit. Outside of HYS and NU, this is all literally irrelevant.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:54 am

you can put your restaurant time.

do something that you like, and do it well. it can be anything.

they won't ask for prior year tax returns. if you worked full time then it's ok to say you did; if you're really worried make sure you have someone to corroborate what you're claiming and you'll be fine.

documentation isn't going to matter as long as your honest. again, if you're really worried just ask someone to corroborate if necessary but in general schools don't have the time or the desire to double check resumes. if you volunteer 10 hours one month and 30 the next it's ok to say "4-5 hours / week" on your resume.

ETA: poster above does not mean that H/Y/NU will ask for documentation, only that they're the only schools that will care about your non-numerical qualifications. Having literally NOTHING might hurt you and having EXCELLENT (olympic gold etc.) might help. You can't "force" the latter, so just make sure you're not in the former camp and you'll be fine.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:57 am

Also,

Just because adcoms don't tend to care about work experience doesn't mean that it's irrelevant. Employers will care a great deal more in that they will value someone with actual full time, post-grad work experience more than someone without it (other things being similar).

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cron1834
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby cron1834 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:25 am

Pneumonia wrote:ETA: poster above does not mean that H/Y/NU will ask for documentation, only that they're the only schools that will care about your non-numerical qualifications.


Indeed. The alternative would be :lol:

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:10 am

i cannot imagine any school would ever ask for pay stubs, and they'll only ask for tax info if you apply for need-based financial aid or federal student loans.

as for full-time/part-time, i have never seen a resume that specifies whether the work is full-time or part-time. just list the job and describe your responsibilities and achievements.

p.s. i have a feeling that 5-year restaurant experience could actually set you apart in a good way if you can write well about it.

tpfennin
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby tpfennin » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:41 am

^i agree I think the five years you worked in the restaurant industry could make a very compelling story if told properly.

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redsox
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby redsox » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:54 am

iamgeorgebush wrote:as for full-time/part-time, i have never seen a resume that specifies whether the work is full-time or part-time. just list the job and describe your responsibilities and achievements.


Yeah but law school applications ask for hours. But do people actually list non-professional jobs? Also, I listed nothing (literally nothing) in the extracurricular/volunteer section and it doesn't appear to have hurt me this cycle...though I'm a couple years out of school, not K-JD.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:34 am

Why wouldn't people list non-professional jobs, if that's what they've done? Law schools generally want to see everything you've done, it's more comprehensive than applying for a specific legal job.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:41 pm

redsox wrote:
iamgeorgebush wrote:as for full-time/part-time, i have never seen a resume that specifies whether the work is full-time or part-time. just list the job and describe your responsibilities and achievements.


Yeah but law school applications ask for hours. But do people actually list non-professional jobs? Also, I listed nothing (literally nothing) in the extracurricular/volunteer section and it doesn't appear to have hurt me this cycle...though I'm a couple years out of school, not K-JD.

first, most schools (at least most T14 schools) do NOT ask for hours. some do (u. chicago comes to mind), but most don't.

second, op said that s/he did put in full-time hours; it's just that s/he didn't get paid for full-time hours. iirc, the schools that do ask for hours ask for hours worked, not hours paid.

third, just b/c a job isn't "professional" doesn't mean that it doesn't have value. consider the student who works full-time as a waitress in UG to pay her own way through college. that shit is way more impressive than interning at a law firm over the summer, even if the former is "non-professional" and the latter is "professional."

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redsox
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby redsox » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:05 pm

iamgeorgebush wrote:
redsox wrote:
iamgeorgebush wrote:as for full-time/part-time, i have never seen a resume that specifies whether the work is full-time or part-time. just list the job and describe your responsibilities and achievements.


Yeah but law school applications ask for hours. But do people actually list non-professional jobs? Also, I listed nothing (literally nothing) in the extracurricular/volunteer section and it doesn't appear to have hurt me this cycle...though I'm a couple years out of school, not K-JD.

first, most schools (at least most T14 schools) do NOT ask for hours. some do (u. chicago comes to mind), but most don't.

second, op said that s/he did put in full-time hours; it's just that s/he didn't get paid for full-time hours. iirc, the schools that do ask for hours ask for hours worked, not hours paid.

third, just b/c a job isn't "professional" doesn't mean that it doesn't have value. consider the student who works full-time as a waitress in UG to pay her own way through college. that shit is way more impressive than interning at a law firm over the summer, even if the former is "non-professional" and the latter is "professional."


Yeah, I don't really remember which schools asked for what...I did the majority of my applications on my phone, and just answering the questions took most of my concentration. Usually wasn't aware of which school I was applying to after a few minutes. And I'm not interested in debating the merits of various kinds of work...or what's "impressive"...because that's ridiculous. Just not sure that something being "impressive" means it belongs on a professional resume. It would be even more "impressive" if your waitress was also a single mother, but she wouldn't list that.

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redsox
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby redsox » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:10 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Why wouldn't people list non-professional jobs, if that's what they've done? Law schools generally want to see everything you've done, it's more comprehensive than applying for a specific legal job.


It makes sense in that situation, it just didn't occur to me to list mine. Was really just curious if other people did. I mean, I was a lifeguard at a water park in college. I guess I would've felt a little silly writing that on my applications or putting it on my resume.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:51 pm

redsox wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Why wouldn't people list non-professional jobs, if that's what they've done? Law schools generally want to see everything you've done, it's more comprehensive than applying for a specific legal job.


It makes sense in that situation, it just didn't occur to me to list mine. Was really just curious if other people did. I mean, I was a lifeguard at a water park in college. I guess I would've felt a little silly writing that on my applications or putting it on my resume.


Why?

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby iamgeorgebush » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:33 pm

redsox wrote:
iamgeorgebush wrote:
redsox wrote:
iamgeorgebush wrote:as for full-time/part-time, i have never seen a resume that specifies whether the work is full-time or part-time. just list the job and describe your responsibilities and achievements.


Yeah but law school applications ask for hours. But do people actually list non-professional jobs? Also, I listed nothing (literally nothing) in the extracurricular/volunteer section and it doesn't appear to have hurt me this cycle...though I'm a couple years out of school, not K-JD.

first, most schools (at least most T14 schools) do NOT ask for hours. some do (u. chicago comes to mind), but most don't.

second, op said that s/he did put in full-time hours; it's just that s/he didn't get paid for full-time hours. iirc, the schools that do ask for hours ask for hours worked, not hours paid.

third, just b/c a job isn't "professional" doesn't mean that it doesn't have value. consider the student who works full-time as a waitress in UG to pay her own way through college. that shit is way more impressive than interning at a law firm over the summer, even if the former is "non-professional" and the latter is "professional."


Yeah, I don't really remember which schools asked for what...I did the majority of my applications on my phone, and just answering the questions took most of my concentration. Usually wasn't aware of which school I was applying to after a few minutes. And I'm not interested in debating the merits of various kinds of work...or what's "impressive"...because that's ridiculous. Just not sure that something being "impressive" means it belongs on a professional resume. It would be even more "impressive" if your waitress was also a single mother, but she wouldn't list that.

since when do law school resumes need to be "professional" resumes (whatever that means)? you're applying to law SCHOOL, not a law job.

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Iroh
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Re: Questions About Softs

Postby Iroh » Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:53 pm

Fish127 wrote:So after this summer I'll have about two years of UG left, and thus far I don't really have much in the way of softs. I'm aware that numbers are really what matter, but at the same time I'm aware that it will look strange if I don't have anything to put in that column. I did work a full time job in my family's restaurant for about five years after high school, but a good chunk of that time was spent basically working for free, and I'm not sure if I can list that without being able to show documentation of the time. I worked 5-8 hours a day, 7 days a week, but I was only paid for 3-5 hours, 3,4 days a week. My questions:

1) Any advice on the sort of things that I can do over the next 2-3 years to have something half way decent to show on my application?

2) Will I be able to say that I worked full time for 5 years, or will they only accept what I can show them off of my tax returns and pay stubs and such?

3) How would I go about tracking community service hours? Do I document that myself or do I have whoever's organizing the event sign a form or something? I would feel like kind of a scumbag going up to somebody running a soup kitchen and saying "sign this form so that my perspective law school thinks that I care about people!"


As others have said, just keep track of your hours and be honest, and you'll be fine. I remember some law school said that they randomly check a number of their apps each year to see if they were truthful or not, which I guess means calling up a supervisor and making sure that you actually did volunteer at X.

I think doing some consistent volunteer work for the next few years(assuming you actually enjoy it, and don't just grimace through it every second) would be a good soft to have. It's always great to have something to talk about in interviews, especially if it allows you to make a connection with the interviewer.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying you HAVE to do this to have a successful cycle, but it wouldn't hurt.




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