In an earlier post, we discussed the first two essential parts of the resume for paralegals: the career objective and education. This time, we will talk about the latter parts of the resume, which many consider the Achilles heel of a graduate resume – experience and skills. It is understandable why many job seekers dread the reaction employers have when they reach those parts of the application, as there’s not much there.
The paralegal job race is not a field full of fresh graduates, as there are also practicing paralegals looking to move onto better firms. Every single legal firm will agree that working experience is a significant factor when choosing applicants. That does not mean that graduates should bow their heads and quietly leave the room when an experienced paralegal shows up. There are ways for a graduate to look good in the two parts of the resume where they are weakest.
The first thing graduates need to realize is that experience does not necessarily mean employment. There are different ways for current students to gather experience in the field without actually having to work for anyone. The most common example of this is the internship program, along with legal aid offices or similar offices that offer simple legal services at reduced fees.
The important thing to remember when crafting this part of the resume is to write in detail. Never get bogged down by unnecessary elements of the experience, but mention things such as duties, and responsibilities you had during your time there.
This portion of the resume serves one purpose: tell employers what an applicant can do on day one.
This section of the resume is where applicants can highlight special talents they possess that does not fit with any of the other parts. Skills do not necessarily have to be about abilities within the traditional definition, as well.
Graduates can use their familiarity with technology and communication to their advantage. In a world where networking is more important than ever, employers might see the proficiency in mobilizing contacts through social media as an asset to swing an applicant towards employment.
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