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How to Create a Paralegal Resume that Gets You Noticed


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In this slideshow we reveal exactly how to create a well-structured, attractive paralegal resume that gets you noticed by hiring managers and helps you secure an interview. We go over the specific parts that can and should be included in your resume and give you clear examples of how to write them.

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How to Create a Paralegal Resume that Gets You Noticed

  1. 1. T H E C A R E E R R E S O U R C E F O R P A R A L E G A L S Creating a Paralegal Resume That Gets You Noticed
  2. 2. Paralegal Career Outlook & What It Means for Your Resume  Your resume is the first impression any potential boss will have of you. Unless you have a great resume, it might be the last.  Your resume is a very direct type of marketing. You are the product.  Don't be afraid to sell your knowledge, your expertise, and the extras that you bring to the table. Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  Paralegal and legal assistant positions are expected to increase by at least 18% by the year 2020.  Competition will be fierce, but jobs plentiful.  Inexperienced paralegals will have the hardest time breaking into the profession.
  3. 3. The Essential Parts of a Paralegal Resume Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  Your resume will have anywhere from two to four distinct sections.  Here's an overview of the possibilities:  Career Objective  Summary  Education  Work Experience  Special Skills  Honors, Achievements and Awards  Let’s look at each section in more detail in the next few slides.
  4. 4. Career Objective Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  This is your opportunity to briefly describe your career goals in general;  Or, if you are applying for a specific position, you can tailor your objective to meet the job.  Example: “Experienced Certified Paralegal with excellent office management and client relation skills seeking a position within a corporate legal department where a working knowledge of legal terminology, general law, and legal proceedings pertaining to the following case types will be fully utilized and expanded:”  You might then go on to list the types of legal cases you have participated in.
  5. 5. Summary Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  To highlight your pertinent skills and aptitudes, add them here in a small section at the top of the resume.  Example:  Goal-oriented, high energy individual able to meet deadlines.  Strong organizational and communication skills.  Equally effective working on self-managed projects and as a member of a team.  Excellent manager of people and projects.  Able to divide complex tasks into manageable steps and achieve results.
  6. 6. Work Experience Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  If you've ever had a job, you can list it here.  Additionally, if you completed a legal internship as part of your schooling, it's very important to feature it as part of your work experience.  Example: Paralegal Intern, Cabrini-Green Legal Aid, Chicago, Illinois 2012 ‒ present • Conduct client interviews for intake and discovery • Research case law for a variety of motions • Complete various aspects of discovery • Draft motions, petitions, and affidavits • Organize and maintain client records and case files Classroom Teacher, Urbana High School, Urbana, Illinois 2006 ‒ 2012 • Taught effective academic writing strategies, grades 9 ‒ 12 • Presented district-wide writing workshops to colleagues • Co-wrote Smithsonian award-winning grant • Coordinated large groups of community volunteers, student observers and student teachers • Wrote and published monthly union newsletter in print and online
  7. 7. Education Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  If you've attended college and received a degree, this is the appropriate place to note it.  Include the name of the school where you completed your paralegal studies coursework as well.  This section is a must – nearly every resume includes an education section, generally toward the top of the page.  Example: Wilbur Wright College, Chicago, Illinois Associate of Science, ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Program Graduated with Honors, June 2012 Relevant Coursework: • Civil Law • Litigation and Trial Practice • Administrative Law • Business Organizations • Real Property • Torts: Personal Injury Litigation • Legal Research • Legal Analysis and Writing
  8. 8. Special Skills & Core Strengths Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  Here's your chance to spotlight the things you're best at.  This might include things like knowing Power Point, or being a fluent in Spanish or Mandarin Chinese.  Example: • Working knowledge of all aspects of the discovery process • Demonstrated ability to conduct legal research using Lexis and Westlaw • Bi-lingual (English/Spanish) • Highly skilled at organizing and presenting information objectively • Hands-on experience with legal databases • Proficient in managing clerical duties pertinent to a law office
  9. 9. Honors, Achievements, and Awards Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  If you've won a scholarship, written a grant, taught workshops in alternative dispute resolution, or accomplished other great things, you'll want potential employers to know.  This section allows you to highlight those little extras that will make you stand out from the crowd.
  10. 10. A Closer Look at Education Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  Focus on the quality of your education.  List all the schools you've attended since high school, along with your major area of study, the date you graduated (month and year are fine) and any degrees or certificates you received upon graduation.  You may find it helpful to include a list of relevant coursework, so your prospective employer can get an idea of your knowledge base.  It's not necessary to add your college grade point average to your paralegal resume – but if your GPA was higher than 3.5, you may want to let that be known.
  11. 11. A Closer Look at Work Experience Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  Most employers are looking for paralegals and legal assistants with at least one year of experience.  Treat unpaid internships like jobs: list the dates you started and ended your internship, the name and location of the organization or firm you worked at, and your duties there.  Mention the skills you learned, and any projects you may have worked on.  When mentioning cases you were involved with, maintain strict confidentiality of information that shouldn't be made public.  If you've had other jobs that involved skills transferable to the legal profession, list those as well, and describe the duties that will carry over into your paralegal career  You’re not required to list all the jobs you've ever had. Stick to jobs where you displayed the attributes employers are looking for.
  12. 12. The Extras that Show Your Individuality Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  Remember your goal is to showcase the qualifications and life experiences that make you the best person for the job.  If you're skilled in the use of office software, presentation software, or specialized legal software, be sure to mention it by name.  And if you've learned how to accomplish tasks that most beginning paralegals can't do, like corporate formations or bankruptcy petitions, include that too.  Be careful about over-exaggerating the depth of your skills, though. Little white lies on the resume will come back to bite you in an interview.
  13. 13. Notes About Format Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice.  The law profession is essentially conservative, so keep your resume concise and classy.  Use a font that most people have on their computers: Times Roman or Arial are good choices.  Employers may be snowed with resumes when they post a job opening: make sure your resume is easy to read and error free.  Bullet points in your resume allow the reader to scan the highlights easily, and pick up on important points quickly.
  14. 14. Jumpstart your Paralegal Career! Go to now for more helpful career tips and advice. Thanks for viewing! Now, go to and take a look at all the incredible free information to help you launch your career and find success as a paralegal.