Admissions Question: October 27
October 27, 2013
Q: What should be on my resume?
First, let me say that there isn’t any specific thing that an admissions committee is expecting to see on a resume. For example, we do not expect that you have worked in a law firm or have 150 hours of community service. We simply would like knowledge of your various pursuits other than school. This gives us a good idea of the experiences you will be bringing to law school and can highlight things about you that might be different from other applicants.
Just like a resume you would submit for a job application, a resume for law school should list your educational background, such as where you went to school, the degree you received, and the date you graduated. Like a job resume, it should also list work experience including dates employed, your title, the name of company or organization of employment, and your main responsibilities in that position. It should also list school activities, volunteer work, and honors or awards. What is different with a law school resume is that it can be longer and more descriptive than job resumes. You won’t be limited to one page with a law school resume. You can also include things that might be a bit more personal such as personal hobbies & interests. You will still want your resume to look and sound professional while also giving a comprehensive view of what you have been doing with your life outside of the classroom.
If you have been out of college for a long time and have a great degree of life and work experience, you can be judicious about how much description you choose to include. Summarizing duties for past employment, or simply listing dates/title/organization for your volunteer work may suffice.
Keep in mind that activities from high school or before are not necessary to list on your resume unless they were particularly impressive (e.g. valedictorian) or lifelong pursuits (e.g. 15 years of violin playing). Also note that acronyms for most things should be spelled out or some student groups explained. For example, many committee members will not know that CCWS means “Clark County Women’s Shelter” or that the BluesSparrows are a campus a cappella group.
In general, admissions committees are interested in knowing how you have spent your time and the resume is a way to highlight that in a descriptive, yet succinct, way.