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Ways to Make Your Legal Resumes Stand Out to Law Firms

— June 26, 2020

When you ask yourself, what makes a resume stand out, you should know it is not only about the content, but the way it is organized.

Being a lawyer is a task that not every person finds surmountable. Even those with a degree in law often backpedal when it comes to representing themselves as someone who advises someone on real legal matters. So, what we are saying is that the very fact that you decided to apply for a position in a law firm is a bold move. Now, this article has been written as a pro bono act of advising you on how to represent yourself. Legal resumes are hard to write, as lawyers are people one finds almost impossible to impress. Hence, while it might be hard to defend people in the face of a court, it might be even harder to be hired to do it. Let us proceed with learning what a good resume for a law firm should look like.

Lawyers in Demand

Nowadays, one shall acknowledge the fact that lawyers are in demand. You should call your lawyer even if you got into a slight car accident, and you should keep silent until he or she arrives. The fact that good lawyers are such a scarcity today can be explained by how hard it is for a person with an education in law to get a proper job. It all starts with searching for the ways to make resumes stand out, as a good resume is where your journey to the heights of professional legal practice begins.

Less is More

It does not mean that you have to boil your resume down to a couple of sentences. If you have something to brag about, make sure that you do it slightly. However, keep it realistic. You should know that the legal hiring managers mostly skim the resumes, and they start reading only those that capture their attention from the onset. Hiring experts claim that your resume must be concise because they tend to reject every resume that does not offer any practical value. Therefore, infuse it with only vital information as this is the first element on the list of things that make a resume stand out.

Let’s Talk Education

OKC law school courtroom; image by David Veksler, via Un
OKC law school courtroom; image by David Veksler, via Un

One of the primordial questions that all the legal applicants ask themselves when searching for ways to make your resume stand out is what they should mention first: their education or their work experience? Of course, experience matters more than your education. Nonetheless, make sure that this is some experience to talk about in your law firm resume. If you graduated from, let’s say, Stanford, and your professional experience boils down to one month as a junior associate in a local law firm, you should probably mention your education first. When talking about things that stand out on a resume, make a straight call and mention your education first, if your experience is not sufficient enough.

Language Matters

You can make a resume stand out by merely using the right words, indicating what you have been doing. Stay focused and precise. If you researched something, mention it with a corresponding verb. Say that you researched, solicited, negotiated, analyzed, and so on and so forth. If you want to know more about how to make a resume stand out, you can have a look at the ones of your friends, but be sure not to copy them. Craft one of your own because this is what real professionals do. You will find a lot of interesting information there pertaining to your employment law resume.

Customize Your Resumes

Finding a proper job in law can be a tall order. People do not understand that if they look for making a resume stand out, they have to customize it to a specific vacancy. Your resume must be tailored for a particular position. For example, you cannot expect to apply to five different companies and expect them to hire you while sending a uniform resume file. Here are a couple of tips on how to make a resume stand out by individualizing it.

Scrutinize the Requirements.

You cannot craft a resume without actually knowing what the employer expects from you. Hence, make sure that you know what they would like you to do.

Read More About the Company.

If you apply for a job at a specific company, you have to know them well. Adding a cover letter or a brief professional summary in which you would specify why this company is the best choice for you can help you make your resume stand out.

Follow these two tips, and you will be able to render your resume more personalized, which is one of the best ways to make a resume stand out. If you want, for example, to be a lawyer for a medical company or run a company that protects the HIPAA rights of people, you cannot expect to succeed with your application if your resume is all filled-up with solely criminal cases. Therefore, get some research behind your back in the area of law in which you would like to work.

Simplified Navigation

When you ask yourself, what makes a resume stand out, you should know it is not only about the content, but the way it is organized. If you want a bona fide incredible resume, make it easy for your readers to read. Choose the simplest layout there is and fill it with the information that you have processed through the Triple Filter Test of Aristotle. That is, when you are done filling up, ask yourself three questions:

1. Is everything that I wrote here is true?

2. Is everything that I wrote here is benevolent?

3. Is everything that I wrote here is useful and necessary?


If you are looking for ways to make your resume stand out, you need to know that making resumes stand out is not a one-time action. It requires time, and sometimes your file needs to be tailored personally for every position that you apply for. Being a lawyer is not easy, and becoming a lawyer is even harder. Those are the professionals who do not like vapid words and pay attention to those that bear meaning only. Hence, if you want to make your resume stand out, follow our tips and always analyze the content in your file. 

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