Draft your Résumé
Your résumé should cover the following topics:
- Academic Awards
- Work Experience
- Volunteer/Extracurricular Experience
It is a good idea to organize your résumé under similar headings. The order of the headings will depend on your evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Pay attention to chronology. An interviewer generally wants to determine from your résumé what you have been doing over the last several years. Explain gaps.
- Make your résumé factual – use action verbs to explain what you have done. This is particularly important when explaining work experience and volunteer/extracurricular experiences. For instance:
“work experience – supervised team of 12 sales associates”
“work experience – management skills used”
- Consider what you are trying to convey about yourself when determining what work or other experience to describe. Focus on important information that demonstrates your strengths.
- Keep your résumé concise so that it captures the pertinent information. Generally speaking, good résumés from law students who do not have extensive work histories or publication records are about two pages long. You do not need to produce a one-page résumé. If you have extensive work experience or publications, it is appropriate to have a longer résumé. Again, you have to focus on your strengths.
- Review your résumé for typos. You are providing the law firm with a writing sample and mistakes will certainly be noticed.
Assemble Supporting Documentation
- Make sure you include all your post-secondary academic transcripts in your application.
- Make sure your academic transcripts are organized in a logical fashion. Make sure they are easy to read.
- If you have attended an educational program outside Canada, you may want to include a guide to the grading scheme so that it is comprehensible to the individual reviewing your application.
- Many firms, including Blakes, do not require references or reference letters.
- You may choose to include a reference letter where the letter highlights a strength or explains a weakness in your application.
- If you have a reference letter, read it over to determine whether it is helpful. Some reference letters are not helpful where they are written in a manner that indicates the writer was not enthusiastic about a candidate. As well, a reference from a professor who writes reference letters for many students does not help in distinguishing you from other candidates.