A resume is the most important document for your job search. It provides an employer with a brief description of your educational and professional background. It should be clear, concise, interesting to read, and pleasing to the eye. The manner in which you state your accomplishments, experiences, and qualities is as important as the details themselves. Active, energetic phrases that attract the reader's attention will make the difference between an impressive resume and a merely average one. While we encourage you to exhibit some creativity when writing your resume, keep in mind that there are some generally accepted guidelines that you should follow.There are many different acceptable resume styles and formats. Most legal employers prefer a traditional-style resume. However, within a conventional format your resume can be as unique as you are and should be designed to express your individual achievements and qualifications. First impressions are important, and the first impression a prospective employer has of you is your resume. Remember that the contents and style of your resume will determine whether an employer considers you for possible employment. Above all, your resume should be completely error-free.
Employers want to see a cover letter in which you introduce yourself and explain why your particular combination of skills, experience, and interests uniquely qualifies you for a position with them. A thoughtfully written letter tailored to a specific employer will give you a competitive edge in a tight job market and represents a potential employer's first impression of your writing ability. It demonstrates your attention to detail, organization and research skills, and your ability to communicate in clear and concise language. You should include a cover letter with your resume in any employment inquiry (on-campus interviews and job fairs being the exceptions). Like a resume, a cover letter ought to be direct, persuasive, descriptive, and attractive.
If you are seeking work with small to midsize employers, public service organizations, and employers outside of your current geographic area, you may want to launch a targeted mailing campaign. Tailor your resume to the position(s) you are seeking and compose a cover letter discussing your interest in and outlining what you can do for the prospective company, firm, or agency. Do not send blanket cover letters, as employers will probably assume they are part of a mass-mailing campaign and that you have no real interest in them. Focus your search and address your letter to someone in the organization by name, rather than just a generic letter to the Recruiting Coordinator or Hiring Attorney. Refer to Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams in the CSO eResource Library for an excellent discussion of the targeted mailing campaign.