5 Tips To Make Your Resume Stand Out From A Stack Of Resumes
Six seconds. That’s the average time it takes for a recruiter to go through your resume.
You might say there’s no way one could read through an entire resume in a matter of six seconds, and I’d say you’re absolutely right.
However, Recruiters don’t read through resumes not at first, we scan. We’re scanning for specific keywords, and if we don’t see them, we’re onto the next, and fast!
I’m going to show you how to get more than six seconds and, more importantly, how to get a response.
Of course, this is assuming you fit the criteria of the opening you’re applying to. If the firm is looking for Construction Litigation experience and your background is Transactional Real Estate, then no matter how great your resume is, it’s very unlikely that you're going to receive a response.
This brings me to my first tip.
1. Keyword research.
Time to put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter and employer. Make a list of all the keywords they may be searching for when looking at a resume.
Best way to do this? Look at their job posting! It’s right there in black and white, all the keywords they’ll be looking for while scanning your resume.
Now that you have your trusty list ready to go, sprinkle these keywords throughout your resume wherever relevant.
The most important keyword of all along with placement brings us to tip #2.
2. Replace your objective with your title and main practice area
Do you have an objective at the top of your resume? That’s great! Delete it! Seriously though, most everyone’s objective is the same BS spiel “to secure a challenging position where I can utilize my blah blah blah." For that reason, the objective gets ignored 99.9999% of the time.
The top of your resume is prime real estate. Here’s where you need to show the recruiter that they've finally found who they’ve been looking for all this time: you!
The best way to accomplish this is with a BIG, BOLD title and main practice area. Now you have their attention!
For example, if you’re an Insurance Defense Associate Attorney, your title would be:
Insurance Defense Attorney
IN BIG, BOLD, BLACK LETTERS.
3. Trade paragraphs for bullets
No one wants to read a run-on paragraph to see if you have the experience that they’re looking for. Make it stupid easy for people to read your resume.
The best way to do this is with clear, concise bullet points that illustrate your responsibilities as they pertain to the job you’re applying to. If the firm is looking for first-party property experience, then include that in one of your bullet points.
If they are also looking for premises liability you guessed it add that as one of your bullet points as well.
4. Take down the red flag
The most common red flags are jumpiness and relatively large history gaps in-between jobs. If you’ve jumped around a bit or have large gaps in-between jobs, you should address them with a short and sweet explanation. Perhaps, one position was temporary or you left rather soon due to relocation.
If you have a good reason, you should include it.
Another BIG red flag is poor spelling and grammar. You're an Attorney for Pete's sake :) This will definitely be a factor in whether or not you'll be moving forward.
These red flags can and will prevent you from moving forward. If you have an explanation, write a concise one-liner at the bottom of that job's bullet points.
Some examples:
  • Left due to relocation.
  • Temp position.
  • Had a baby and took time off.
  • Left to care for a family member.
5. Extra tips to improve your resume:
  • Header: Lose the full address. City and state will do just fine. We just want to make sure you are within a reasonable commuting distance before reaching out.
  • Header: Always include your email, phone number and your full name
  • History: No need to go back further than 10 years
  • Resume length: Try and keep your resume down to one-two pages. If you can keep it on one page by adjusting the font size, structure, or word count then go for it. If you can’t, try to get it down to two pages.
  • Credentials: Be sure to add education, degrees, relevant certificates, languages, and anything else that can be of value.
  • Key achievements: This is a great opportunity to brag a little about your professional accolades as it relates to each job (think awards, promotions, new business brought in, new initiatives, broken records, presidents club). Limit to three and keep them at one sentence per bullet point.
  • Dates: When adding dates to your employment history, month/ year is all you need. No need to include the day. But do make sure you include the month and date for each firm.
Free Resume Template For Attorneys
Feel free to use this free resume template that we put together for you in a Word doc. The structure is in place; all you need to do is just fill in the details.
DOWNLOAD RESUME TEMPLATE
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