List your present address and a phone number and email address where employers can reach you.
If you are a current student, use your HLS email address.
You may decide to include a permanent address in addition to your address while you are at school, to signal ties to a geographic area.
You may decide to include personal pronouns in your header, such as after your name or in the address line. Examples: Alex Washington (she/her/hers); Diego Álvarez [line break] 123 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 · firstname.lastname@example.org · (123) 456-7890 · they/them.
Do not include a job objective here or elsewhere on your resume; your career objectives and plans should be expressed in your cover letter.
Unless you are more than about five years out of law school, your “Education” section should generally precede your “Experience” section.
For current law students, indicate the degree you expect to earn and your anticipated date of graduation. Examples: J.D., May 2025; LL.M., May 2023.
List all advanced degrees, starting with your law or most recent degree and working back to college.
Your “Education” section should also reflect whether you transferred as an undergraduate or law student, studied abroad, or enrolled in a joint degree program.
Because they are Latin phrases, magna, summa, and cum laude should always appear in italicized, lowercase letters. Example: B.S. magna cum laude in Physics.
Consider whether inserting a “Relevant Coursework” subsection under your law school entry could add value to your resume. Listing several courses can demonstrate interest in a particular issue area, especially where substantive relevant experience is not clear from other parts of your resume.
Honors & Activities
Include two separate subsections for each educational degree: “Honors” and “Activities.”
At most, include three to five entries per subsection; listing too many can detract from the most relevant activities or honors.
Be sure to include a brief explanation of any awards or distinctions that are not familiar to most readers.
The “Honors” subsection should list any notable awards or distinctions you received, such as Dean’s List or Phi Beta Kappa. Note that honors such as Dean’s List may seem redundant if you also graduated with Latin honors.
In the “Activities” subsection, indicate any relevant or personally meaningful student organization memberships, reading groups, elected offices, activities, or sports in which you have participated.
Do not include your undergraduate grade point average unless it is specifically requested by an employer or not well-reflected in honors received. An impressive GPA is often self-evident if, for example, you graduated magna cum laude.
Public service employers are rarely interested in how you perform on tests. LSAT and other standardized test scores should not appear on your resume.
Thesis and/or Publications
Especially if your topic is relevant to your career interests, you may want to include a separate “Thesis” subsection under the appropriate educational degree and indicate the title of your thesis in italics.
Any notes or articles you have written or are writing for a journal or other publication should go under a separate “Publications” section, in Bluebook format. When appropriate, include a notation such as: (publication pending) or (forthcoming, spring 2023).
List your work, internship, and/or significant volunteer experiences in reverse chronological order, with your most recent experience listed first.
Clinical work during law school, internships, and part-time work may be included under your “Experience” section. Volunteer work is equally valuable experience and need not be singled out under a separate heading on your resume. On the other hand, if you have a significant number of work experiences, you may want to create a separate heading such as “Community Service” and group your volunteer work there, as a way of breaking up your resume sections.
Not sure how to characterize past military service on a resume? Review these application tips specific to student veterans. Do not feel compelled to list every job you have held before or during law school, as your resume should be designed to highlight your most significant and relevant experiences.
When deciding which experiences to include and exclude, remain mindful of any significant gaps in time you may create. These gaps may raise questions for some employers. Feel free to speak to an OPIA adviser about creative ways to mitigate or describe such gaps.
Descriptions are important in this section, since they capture the essence of your experience and any recognition and accomplishments. Paint a dynamic picture of the type of work you did and the extent of your responsibilities without exaggeration. Adding detail is a plus. For example, if you worked at a legal services center, list the type of clients with whom you worked and the types of cases you handled.
Use longer descriptions to accentuate those work experiences most critical to your current search. Employers will assume that the longer the description, the more priority you give to the experience.
Break descriptions into shorter phrases, as these are more easily scanned than full sentences. Try to start each segment with an action verb. Examples: Drafted Congressional testimony. Launched summer intern program. Advised 50 first-year students on course selection.
Try to omit passive verbs, particularly any form of “to be.” Phrases such as “was responsible for running” should become “Ran,” for example.
If you have held more than one job with the same employer, enter both jobs under one header, putting the title of each job in italics.
Clearly delineate dates on your resume. Place these flush with the right hand margin of the page.
Refer to the dates of summer or semester-long jobs as Summer 20__, Fall 20__, Spring 20__.
In most cases, specifying the exact months of your employment is not necessary. If you worked at an organization from March 2019 to May 2021, for example, simply list 2019 – 2021.
Skills and Interests/Personal
If you have skills in languages other than English, consider noting these in a “Skills and Interests” or “Languages and Interests” section. Take care not to under-rate (by leaving some out) or over-rate (by claiming more fluency than you currently have) your language skills. Keep in mind that you may be asked to demonstrate them during an interview, if they are important for the role.
Adding a line about your outside hobbies or interests can be invaluable for interviews, giving an interviewer additional topics of conversation. Be prepared to talk a little about your passion for the things included in this section.
Technology skills in basic programs such as the Microsoft Office suite or legal research tools like LexisNexis or Westlaw will not distinguish you from other law student candidates, so there is no need to include these. However, consider noting your proficiency in specific tools – GIS mapping, coding, or social media analytics, to name a few – where it could be relevant for particular employers.
It is unnecessary to add “References will be furnished upon request” at the end of your resume, as employers will ask you to provide your references separately, and this line occupies valuable space on your resume.
A references sheet should be formatted with the same header as your resume. Unless an employer specifies otherwise, include three or four references’ names, titles, email addresses, organization names, organization addresses, and phone numbers. It is also useful to include a line or two about how each reference knows you. See sample reference sheet.
Give careful consideration to which references you will use for different employers, as some contacts may be more helpful for one position than another.
Before you list someone as a reference, be sure ask their permission, let them know the type of work you are pursuing, and, if necessary, refresh their memory about your work.
If interviewing in person, bring an extra hardcopy of your references sheet (and your resume) and be prepared to offer it if the interviewer mentions references.