Monday, January 11, 2010

Readers Request: Resumes and Cover Letters

I’ve wanted to have reader suggested posts for some time (also known as reader assisted writer’s block removal) and I’ve been spurned into action from a recent comment from longtime reader EM:

I've been following your blog for a long time now and as I'm applying for jobs, this post made me wonder, how would Namby write his resume? I'm looking for impressive ways to state that as an associate, I have concentrated my work on gchatting and random internet searches.
So my hope is that I can have a useful post for serious job hunters in need of a laugh.

Cover Letters
Here’s a confession: I hate writing positive things about me. I like making fun of myself or using my successes or failures as a way to make others laugh. I don’t like writing an unmitigated stream of positive bullshit because I don’t like bragging (I do like it when others brag about me though).

That said, I would find a positive story about yourself that highlights your awesomeness as a lawyer. If you are a law student you’re screwed you have an uphill road to climb and will need to show a prospective employer that you are (1) a quick learner, (2) can handle doing extreme amounts of mindless bitch work like law review and (3) will take any amount of pay just to call yourself an employed attorney.

I was unemployed for nearly a year after law school. Thus, clearly I am an expert. Or a colossal failure.

If you worked on it, it is part of your job responsibilities. If its part of your job responsibilities, you can put it on your resume. If it is on your resume, it is likely bullshit. A few examples:
Resume says: Researched and collaborated on multiple litigation projections including labor and employment, intellectual property, insurance coverage and multiple other issues.
What you did: gChatted with your employed friends who work in labor law, IP law, insurance coverage and other practice areas.

Resume Says: Prepared pleadings, motions and all other necessary litigation documents for filing with the Court.
What you did: Copy, collate and staple.

Resume says: Job responsibilities included all aspects of the litigation process including settlement negotiation and trial work.
What you did: Coffee. Cream. Two Sugars.

Resume says: Drafted dispositive motions and supporting briefs.
What you did: Spell check, copy, collate and staple.

Resume Says: Handled client intake.
What you did: Chased the ambulance. Caught the ambulance.
Resumes are about focusing the truth. The truth is you are awesome and the reader of your resume should be focused on giving you a job.

EM, I hope this post has given you the vital insight you were seeking. With job tips like these, you will soon be a successful professional like me. Making millions and millions of Yen.