A Format for Composing an Effective Resume
I suggest you draft what I refer to as a "six-bullet" resume. In response to my request, a client of mine edited his resume, eliminating obvious references to himself and gave me permission to post it as this attachment. First go to the second page of the resume and note that each entry under "Chronological Work Experience" and "Education" has no more than two lines. This is likely to be substantially different from your resume and others that have come across my desk where most of the text is included under the names of employers and schools. What's the difference?
What this individual initially did was envision the position he wants in the field he wants to be in. He then compiled a list of the six (in this case, five) primary qualifications he has for such a position. The next step was taking the text from his previous resume under Chronological Work Experience and Education and placing it under the relevant Qualification bullet. As you draft such a resume, you will become aware that much in your background and experience you never thought to include is now appropriate for inclusion; for example, your managerial experience in a family owned business needed by two partners in a small law firm or your volunteer experiences, college activities, or actions you took in support of family members.
A resume should NOT be a generic or ''one page fits all'' document which can be altered, resulting in a different version for every type of employer or opening. This sounds good, but is not really an effective way to package yourself. Consider the difficulty of developing an effective plan to market an undefined product to the entire range of customers. Suppose, for example, an auto manufacturer tried to develop a vehicle that could serve as a mini-van, a sports car, a luxury sedan, a pick-up truck, and a tractor all in one and tried to sell it to every American.
A resume should also NOT eliminate all references to involvement in social issues (gay rights, abused women, the sick, or the poor) because it might hurt your chances of being hired. The implication by students and lawyers who do this is that they might become a partner if they don't express their values and beliefs for seven years, a sure-fire route to dissatisfaction. Here the approach is your resume reflects who you are as you search for a position consistent with your personal and professional goals, values and beliefs.
There are two uses for a resume in this format. The first, of course, is to impress the readers who will eventually read it that you have not only the commitment to what they do but that you are qualified. The second is not as obvious. When you complete the exercise of setting out your six qualifications, you are now ready with "talking notes" about your qualifications for any conversations with lawyers (or others) you encounter in your "promotional campaign".
(Keep in mind, however, that if you are planning to start out on your own as a sole practitioner, or independent contractor, you will not need a resume. You should be drafting a promotional brochure setting out your experience and qualifications to encourage potential clients to retain you.)
Such a resume is likely to be looked at seriously by those who have an opening in your area or kept on file should they have an opening in the future. It might also be forwarded to another employer or organization looking for someone with commitment, competence, and experience in that area.
The "Six Bullet" Resume is part of our ongoing Career Planning Series with Ronald W. Fox, Esq.
Previous installments include:
Understanding Career Planning
Evaluating Experience and Skills
Narrowing Your Options
Finding Your Area of Practice Preference
Is Solo Practice Right for You?
How to Search for a Satisfying Position
Ronald W. Fox is the principal of Career Planning for Lawyers. Since 1990, he has provided individual guidance to law students and lawyers in transition helping them search for and locate positions consistent with their personal values and their professional goals.