- Studying Law at Yale
- Our Faculty
Centers & Workshops
- Centers & Workshops
- Paul Tsai China Center
- Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency (CRIT)
- Cultural Cognition Project
- Debating Law and Religion Series
- Global Health Justice Partnership
- Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights
- Human Rights Workshop: Current Issues & Events
- Information Society Project
- John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Public Policy
- The Justice Collaboratory
- Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization
- Law, Economics & Organization Workshop
- Legal History Forum
- Legal Theory Workshop
- The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program
- Middle East Legal Studies Seminar
- The Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund
- Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights
- Robina Foundation Human Rights Fellowship Initiative
- The Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy
- Yale Center for Law and Philosophy
- Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
- Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges
- Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law
- Yale Law School Center for Private Law
- Yale Law School Latin American Legal Studies
- Quinnipiac-Yale Dispute Resolution Workshop
- Bert Wasserman Workshop in Law and Finance
- Workshop on Chinese Legal Reform
- Student Life
- YLS Today
- Info For
Resume Advice & Samples
At the initial application stage, send an employer just your resume and cover letter, unless the employer specifically requests additional materials. When applying via email, convert your documents into PDF to avoid conversion problems. Ideally you should attach only one PDF file that includes both your resume and cover letter in one document.
In most cases, your resume is your first contact with a potential employer. It shows not only your experience thus far but also your accomplishments. Resumes should be concise, accurate, error-free, well organized, clear, easy to read, and visually pleasing. Keep in mind that the reader of your resume will probably spend no more than 30 seconds reviewing it. To be effective, it must be brief while still offering enough information to interest the employer. Most law student resumes should be one page in length.
The first step in the resume drafting process is to attend CDO’s resume advice program and to reflect on your target audience. Are you writing to a law firm, small nonprofit organization, large government agency, or judge? Find out as much as you can about the types of projects in which you would be involved if hired. Based on that information, determine which skills you should highlight. For example, are your writing and research skills most important, or your communication and negotiation skills? You may choose to have a few resumes geared toward different types of employers.
Legal resumes are structured with 3-4 sections, each of which is briefly discussed below. Students are encouraged to refer to Chapter 4 of the Introduction to Career Development Guide for a more detailed discussion on each of these sections, and review the sample legal resumes. After drafting your legal resume, please schedule an appointment with a CDO counselor to discuss your draft and any questions you may have.
Heading: The heading should include your name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address at the top of your resume.
Education: List your degrees in reverse chronological order. Include in the education section honors and activities under the appropriate school entry. Keep in mind that the honors category is reserved for the activities that you were chosen to participate in through some type of selection process.
Experience: The experience section should list in reverse chronological order, all relevant employment. The name of the employer should be listed first, followed by the location, and dates of employment. Volunteer or unpaid employment may be included in this section along with paid employment. Feel free to include work performed as part of your scholastic experiences in your experience section, including legal clinic experience, research for a professor, a pro bono project, and extensive work for a student organization. Use action verbs in your job descriptions. For example, state “researched and wrote memoranda on issues of jurisdiction and venue,” not “involved in assisting attorneys in the researching and writing of…” Provide enough description so the potential employer learns something about the projects you worked on and the skills you developed.
Additional Sections: Following the experience section, many students include an “interests” section listing a few special interests that may matter to an employer. It is not mandatory; however, if you have interests that are not already reflected in your application, then you may wish to include it. If you have a particular language ability that may be relevant to an employer, you can include a “skills” or “languages” section with that information.
Additional CDO Resources