9 Biggest Law School Application Resume Mistakes

9 Biggest Law School Application Resume Mistakes

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Hi everyone, you’re watching the Spivey
Consulting Group Law School Admissions YouTube channel, and I’m Danielle Early.
I’m from the Spivey Consulting Group, and I am a former admissions officer at
Harvard Law School, and I’m here to talk about the biggest mistakes you can make
on your law school application resume. So why do schools ask for a resume? Well,
they want to understand what you’ve been doing, what your qualifications are, what
your skills are, and what your experiences are. They do ask for similar
information on their applications – some schools do, not everybody – but this is
your place to put it together in a way that tells your story. Mistake number one
is not putting enough time into your resume. Take the time to put everything
down on paper and then step away from it. Come back to it, see if you’ve made any
grammatical mistakes, if you forgot to put anything in – you want to make sure
that it’s as good as it possibly can be when you’re submitting it, so don’t leave
it to the last thing that you’re working on.
Number two is thinking that the length actually matters. You don’t want a resume
that’s more than two pages, but there is not a hard and fast rule that it must be
one page or that a two-page resume is better. It’s really about the content.
Length frankly never impressed me. You want to think about, what are the things
that you need to tell them about? Don’t squish it all onto one page just to make
it one page, and don’t add fluff just to make it look like it’s more impressive
than it was. The people reading it know the difference. Number three is
formatting. There’s the ability to obsess over formatting and not pay enough
attention to it, so that would all be one mistake. Make sure that your formatting
is clean, it’s easy to skim for the admissions reader, but don’t take so much time where you’re thinking that there’s going to be a difference in your
decision based on the font that you actually use. So another mistake is
leaving important information off of the resume. Remember that all the things that
you include don’t have to be related to law, so if you’ve had a job that you
spent doing while you were in college and you were working full time in
college, absolutely you should be including that, no matter what that job
was. Remember you’re applying to an academic institution where there’s a
community there. They want to see that you’ve been involved in a community
before, so don’t think that you should leave off all of your extracurricular
activities from when you were in college. Another mistake is including unnecessary
information. So, for example, if your GPA is below the median of the schools that
you’re applying to, then you’re not really benefitting yourself by including
it. You can leave that off and save the space for something else. You don’t need
to include information from when you were in high school.
You should probably leave that off of your resume at this point in time. And
lastly, don’t include unnecessary skills. There’s probably nobody graduating from
college right now who doesn’t know how to use Microsoft Office, so probably not
something that you need to include when you’re writing the bullets of the
different activities and things that you’ve been involved in. Make sure that
you’re thoughtful about it – don’t use jargon that only people in
your own industry know, make sure that it’s accessible to whoever is reading it.
Don’t exaggerate, but definitely make sure that you showcase what you’ve done
and what you’ve learned. Also make sure that your bullets are focused on you and
what you did at that company or in that organization. You don’t need to spend the
time explaining the company or selling the company to anybody else.
Of course you want to make sure that you don’t have any simple mistakes on the
resume. Make sure that you’ve proofread it, make sure that you have a consistent
formatting and that your grammar is right. Lastly, one size doesn’t fit all. So
you’re going to create a resume that will work for most schools, but before
you submit it to every school, make sure that you’ve gone through and read the
instructions on every school’s application, because you might find that
one school wants to know how many hours per week you spent in the different
activities that you’ve listed on your resume, another school may want them
separated out into a different format, jobs that you got paid for versus jobs
that were unpaid or internships. You want to make sure that you’re showing them
that you’ve actually read their directions and that you’re
detail-oriented. The last mistake about the resume actually isn’t about the
resume, it’s about your personal statement. Don’t treat your personal
statement as a prose rendition of your resume – you’ve already done a great job
of telling them the broad information about yourself, now you can go deep into
something with your personal statement, so don’t feel like it needs to be a copy
of what’s on your resume. Thanks for watching! If you found this helpful, click
the like button below. Also subscribe to our channel. We’ll be
sending out more information and giving more advice on lots of different topics
for law school admissions from former admissions officers from Harvard and
Yale and Columbia and Penn and others. If you’ve got ideas about other things that
we could talk about in our videos, put a comment below. If you need more
personalized advice, definitely reach out to us, and we offer free consultations.
Send us an email at [email protected]

5 thoughts on “9 Biggest Law School Application Resume Mistakes

  • ProGreen - Duty Lawns - Beau Duty Post author

    Great information thanks for uploading!

  • Murtaza Khomusi Post author

    Super helpful, love your thought leadership in this space.

  • Emily Odermatt Post author

    If I had an activity that continued from high school through college (volunteerism), is this okay to put on the resume?

  • Miss Myoozikal Post author

    Great advice! Thank you! I’m a music production major applying to law school, I’m assuming I should include some of my musical skills as long as I don’t use jargon? Do you think this is appropriate?

  • Emma Lynch Post author

    Ms. Early,
    Thank you for all of your advice across multiple videos and topics! We really appreciate the time, effort, and date you provide to make the best choices more accessible.

    I do have a follow-up question about adding GPA on the resume, which you touched on in the video. If an applicant's degree-granting institution's GPA is markedly higher than the LSAC GPA, would it be worth placing in the resume alongside any University honors? I fall into a situation where, for some schools, my LSAC GPA would fall below the median. However, my university GPA would be above the median for the school.

    Thank you for your time and insight!

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