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Legal Candidates Must Avoid General Statements on Job Applications

Posted on March 01, 2019 by Law Dawgs | Candidate Services
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If your legal resume or cover letter includes the bullet point, “excellent team player,” you might want to consider tweaking it. This is a general statement that may do little to convince a hiring manager that you’re the right candidate for the job. The reality is that while general statements are easy to craft and include in a legal application, they often do not get you hired. This truth applies to all types of legal opportunities – from lawyer positions to paralegal openings to legal support staff member jobs.

What’s Wrong with Generalities?

Consider, for a moment, a job post for a legal office manager. The post specifically asks that the candidate applying for the position have supervisory experience. Now, imagine that a candidate applying for this job submits a cover letter and resume that states:

  • Proven supervisor of staff members

At first glance, this appears normal and it directly responds to the job post in question. But, does it really tell an employer anything?

The answer is not really. Granted, the general statement says that the candidate has supervised people in the past – but that’s it. The statement lacks details and it will leave an employer asking for more.

This, in a nutshell, is the problem with all generalized information on legal applications. Generalities do little to sell a person. They may communicate a little nugget about a person’s experience, but nuggets will not get a candidate hired.

Go with Examples Instead

Please note that, in most legal hiring pyramids, an attorney will be perched at the top. Now, also know that attorneys love facts and details. They work with them on a daily basis to support things like arguments, transactions, case briefs, etc. If this is so, then candidates should give them what they like when submitting a legal application.

Rather than general statements, potential employees should opt for examples. These are facts about past experiences that truly breakdown, in detail, the information that a candidate wants to generalize. Let’s go back to our example above. Rather than a bullet point expressing that a person is a “proven supervisor of staff members,” consider a cover letter that sates:

  • While an office manager at Bob & Johnson, I supervised a team of five administrators, two legal support personnel members, and one paralegal. In this supervision, I was responsible for generating performance logs on all team members, once a month, for partners of the firm.

Now this bullet has some teeth. It goes beyond generalities and shows things like:

  • How many people the candidate supervised,
  • Tasks associated with this supervision, and
  • Persons of the firm that the manager reported to.

All of these are factual examples that sell the candidate. They go above and beyond simply “responding” to the post for the position. They provide clear details about past experiences that hiring lawyers love to hear.

Note that candidates do not have to provide examples on every bit of information contained in a resume or cover letter. This would lead to lengthy applications that hiring personnel do not like. Keep matters brief but do offer details on critical requirements of a job.

LAW DAWGS has been in the business of helping place candidates in awarding legal positions for almost three decades now. We know a bit about resumes and cover letters and we strive to pass this knowledge onto you. Always know that you can contact us with application questions. We’re here to help. Please also visit our job portal to view the openings that we are currently looking to fill.

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