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Effective Resume


Effective Cover Letters Opening Paragraphs Where There s No Job Posted (continued) Start with a Recent Salient Issue Affecting the Employer: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Effective Resume

Effective Resume Cover Letter Writing Techniques
  • Matthew Pascocello, Esq., Assistant Director
  • Office of Career Professional Development
  • American University
  • Washington College of Law

Resume ObjectiveYour Goal To match your skills,
experience, and interests to the job description
as best as possible.
  • Its like identifying the Question Presentedand
    the Answering it effectively.
  • In doing this, youll serve the dual purpose of
    drafting a strong resume while controlling your

I. Self Evaluation
  • Inventory Your Career (and Life) Accomplishments,
    Highlights, Successes.
  • Identify Legal (employment law) Law-Related
    (human resources) Areas of Expertise
  • Identify Competencies and Transferable Soft
  • Dont Forget YouInventory your Interests,
    Passions Values
  • Identify Employer Objections Actual/Perceived
  • Try to Match this (Realistically) to

II. Employer Evaluation
  • Answer the Question WIIFM?!
  • Uncover Employer HOT BUTTONS
  • Know the Industry Trends (How?)
  • Understand What They are Looking For and How they
    Get Interpret that Information
  • What ARE they (legal employers) looking for?
  • Where DO the get that information?

III. Some Fundamentals
  • Overall.a Marketing Document.Not a Full
    Disclosure Employment Application.
  • 1-2 Pages MAX. Addendum or Deal Sheets can be
  • Quality Bond Paper, with Matching Envelope and
    Cover Letter Stock. Otherwise via PDF.
  • Not too much boldface, underlining or jazzy
  • Font SizeNot Below 10pt
  • Basically, needs to be aesthetically pleasing. Be
    careful of MS templates.

  • Local v. Current Address
  • Normal email address
  • Should you lead with a Career Objective?
  • Summary of Qualifications

  • Does this go first?
  • Answer depends.
  • Certificate Program, CLE, audited Courses
  • LL.M.
  • Law School
  • Graduate School
  • Undergraduate School
  • --Study Abroad

EDUCATIONSection (continued)
  • Under each academic institution, consider
  • Honors
  • Awards / Scholarships quantify
  • Activities.
  • GPA. Whether to include depends on audience
    receiving the resume.
  • Relevant Courses
  • Double Major
  • Thesis

  • 1. Further qualify your professional experiences
    using additional headingseg, Legal Experience
    Non Legal Management Experience
  • 2. Include both paid and un-paid
    positionsClinics, Internships, and Volunteer
    experiences can all be appropriate.
  • 3. Heading Format Employers Name bold, City
  • Job Title italics, Dates (spelled-out
    flush right)
  • 4. Description. Think Career Highlights and

EXPERIENCESection (continued)
  • Accomplishments can include
  • 1. Your Successes
  • Cases you won or favorably settled
  • Improvements you suggested and that were adopted
  • Business you assisted in, or were directly
    responsible for, increasing or developing
  • Work product you produced and which had positive
  • Money you saved your firm or client

EXPERIENCESection (continued)
  • Accomplishments can include
  • 2. Acquired Expertise
  • Number of court appearances, appellate briefs
  • Litigation management and oversight
  • Legal research and writing prowess
  • Specialty software expertise

EXPERIENCESection (continued)
  • Accomplishments can include
  • 3. Specialty Areas of Law
  • Mastery of certain federal regulations or an Act
  • Substantive area of law.
  • 4. Professional Awards
  • From Federal Agency, Bar Associations,
    Professional Associations, Educational

EXPERIENCESection (continued)
  • Job Description Summary
  • Be Results Oriented
  • Format Either bullet points or narrative.
  • Bottom Line DEMONSTRATE your Knowledge, Skills,

  • Should Include
  • Publications
  • Language Skills
  • Personal Interests Travel
  • Special Skills, Licenses, and Affiliations (e.g.,
    CPA, Bars, CFP)
  • Leadership Community Service

Rubber Meets the Road (Resumes) Formats
  • Reverse Chronologicalmost recent to least recent
  • Functionalcan be an effective method of focusing
    readers attention on select accomplishments and
    expertise as well as hiding gaps.
  • Hybridnot used enough. Here, you can list your
    employment in reverse chronological order and
    further subcategorize your acquired skills

Rubber Meets the Road (Resumes/Cover Letters)
Qualifications Summary
  • Real Estate Attorney
  • Highly experienced negotiator and drafter of more
    than 100 real estate transactional documents
    dealing with property acquisition, financing,
    management, and disposition.
  • Litigator
  • Successful litigator, and litigation manager, of
    more that 100 commercial cases involving large,
    complex real estate and related transactions, the
    vast majority of which were either settled
    favorably or resulted in favorable verdicts.

Rubber Meets the Road (Resumes/Cover Letters)
  • Negotiated favorable multimillion dollar
    settlement of state environmental regulatory
    claims arising from alleged contamination from
    major oil terminal.
  • Lead attorney for project team of engineers,
    architects, and planners for all development
    aspects of an 8,000-employee office park complex,
    resulting in special commendation.

Rubber Meets the Road (Resumes/Cover Letters)
Target Marketing
  • Know Write to Your Targets
  • Job Announcement
  • Organizational Structure
  • Major Interests, Concerns, Client base
  • Economic Trends
  • Be sure to
  • Incorporate buzz words and industry terms
  • Tie in your relevant skills and accomplishments

Effective Cover Letters
  • Cover Letters are not mere wrapping paper for a
  • Writing Samples (persuasiveness, responsiveness,
    passion, relevance)
  • Demonstrate ability to Follow Directions
  • Weed out Mass Mailers (lazy or desperate
  • Show Efficiency (or not) in Writing Style (2pp)

Effective Cover Letters
  • Different Types
  • The email with Attached Cover Letter
  • The email as a Cover Letter
  • Simple Transmittal Letter (when not required)
  • Brief Outline Letter (when not sure)
  • Targeted Mailer to Similar Employers
  • For a Particular Job Announcement

Effective Cover Letters
  • Proper Format
  • Appropriate Stationery
  • Nice Header with complete contact information
  • Business Letter Format Layout
  • Proper Mailing Address Recipient Title
  • Opening Salutation with a colon

Effective Cover Letters
  • AnatomyThree essential elements
  • Opening ParagraphKiller. No Enclosed please
  • Body(next 2-3 paragraphs) ties your background
    experience, skills interest/motivations (just
    like Slide 1)
  • Conclusionsummary and call to action

Effective Cover Letters
  • Opening Paragraph Responding to a Posting
  • Dear Ms. Miller I am a recent cum laude graduate
    of American University Washington College of Law
    with a demonstrated academic and professional
    commitment to representing victims of domestic
    violence. My clinical experience successfully
    representing asylum seekers and management skills
    in the non-profit arena make me an ideal
    candidate for the Public Advocate position with
    the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

Effective Cover Letters
  • Opening Paragraphs Where Theres No Job Posted
  • Mentioning a Mutual Acquaintance Dear Mr.
    Jones Ms. Harrison Smith, my former supervisor
    at Ketchum Howe, recommended I contact you
    concerning a position with your firm. Ms. Smith
    oversaw my work in the firms international
    trade department, where I managed all phases of
    the annual review process for several major
    clients, and thought that my background and
    skills might be a good fit with your firms trade

Effective Cover Letters
  • Opening Paragraphs Where Theres No Job Posted
  • Start with a Recent Salient Issue Affecting the
    Employer I was very interested to read a
    recent article in the Legal Times about your
    representation of Small Corp. Upon further
    research, I learned that your firm specializes in
    bringing small companies public. As a corporate
    practitioner in New York, Ive represented
    several small and large high tech companies in
    the IPO stage and am seeking to put my skills to
    work in a firm such as yours.

Effective Cover Letters
  •  Opening Paragraphs Where Theres No Job Posted
  • Begin With a Key Work or Academic Achievement
    While employed as an Associate with Dewey Billem
    Howe, I worked side-by side with two senior
    partners in the corporate division, assisting in
    all aspects of closing several multi-million
    dollar leverage lease financings of commercial
    jet aircraft. The complex and time-sensitive
    transactions were each completed in a timely
    manner to the complete satisfaction of a very
    demanding client...

Effective Cover Letters
  • Paragraph 2 Why Should the Reader Meet with
  • Discuss specifics about yourself that will make
    the reader feel that it would be worth her while
    to actually meet with you.
  • Dont Parrot Your Resume here
  • Dont List What Youre Good at Without Proof
  • Show your interest or ties with the City you are
  • Dont make excuses for grades instead, show
    upward trend success in relevant coursework
    work experience that compensates competing
    demands for your time

Effective Cover Letters
  • Paragraph 3 What Do You Want to Happen Next?
  • The call to action I would welcome the
    opportunity to meet with you at your earliest
    convenience. Please feel free to contact me at
    either my work or home phone to arrange an
  • I will call you early next week to confirm that
    you received this letter and to see if you would
    like to schedule an appointment for us to meet
  • What ever action you propose FOLLOW UP!

Effective Resume Cover Letter Writing Techniques
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  • Questions?
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