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6 Legal Resume Mistakes that Spell Hiring D-O-O-M

Posted on May 25, 2016 by Law Dawgs | Resumes
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The following, via JobMob, are excerpts from actual resumes submitted to recruiting managers:

  • Hobbies: “enjoy cooking Chinese and Italians”
  • Skills: “Strong Work Ethic, Attention to Detail, Team Player, Self Motivated, Attention to Detail”
  • Achievements: “Nominated for prom queen”
  • Hobbies: “sitting on the levee at night watching alligators”
  • Achievements: “Planned new corporate facility at $3 million over budget”

Granted, some resume mistakes are not as egregious as these.  However, the recruiting specialists at LAW DAWGS have reviewed thousand of resumes over the company’s past 25 years of operation, and we can honestly say resume mistakes unfortunately abound. According to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, as highlighted by Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, approximately 58% of resumes submitted for jobs have some form of typo or mistake.

Don’t fall into the majority when it comes to blunders and resume submissions. The following provides six common resume mistakes that certainly lead to hiring doom. Avoid them at all cost when applying for that next legal or corporate position.

1. Using the Same Resume for Every Employer

This technique is often referred to as the “one-size-fits-all” approach to resume submission – where a candidate will send the same exact resume to every position applied for. It doesn’t work. Employers want to know why a candidate is qualified for their specific opening; and, they want that candidate to show them why his skills and experience are a perfect fit for the organization. Avoid the one-size-fits-all approach by tailoring your resume to match the specific requirements found within a job post.

2. Providing Erroneous Contact Information

Believe it or not, contact information is often taken for granted on resumes. Don’t let it go unchecked. The reality is that candidates often move while job hunting. They may also change phone numbers and email addresses. Always check your resume to ensure you have the correct contact information. If it’s wrong, an employer can’t contact you if interested.

3. Ignoring Accomplishments

Many candidates have a natural inclination to simply list their respective duties when describing past jobs. For example:

  • Filed court pleadings; or,
  • Assisted firm in e-discovery efforts.

Highlighting duties communicate what you’ve done in a specific role. But, employers are more interested in learning what you’ve accomplished in a role. Rather than speak in terms of duties, express yourself in terms of accomplishments. For example:

  • Successfully assisted senior partner and associate in drafting and filing court pleadings in all aspects of civil litigation.
  • Worked with a team of attorneys and paralegals in conducting both hard copy review and electronic review of documents pertaining to a class action matter.

4. Failing to Proofread

A resume can’t contain typos or errors in grammar. If present, they suggest to employers that a candidate: doesn’t care about a position, lacks attention to detail, or is a poor writer. Take the time to proofread every resume you submit. If you can’t find a single typo, give your resume to a colleague to make sure none exist.

5. Insisting on Creative Formatting

The content of a resume means far more than its style. Candidates want to ensure their resumes are formatted in a simple and traditional style. These are easier to read and have less chance to annoy and get ignored.

6. Lying

There is a popular urge to inflate or flat-out lie when listing qualifications, experiences and education. Don’t do it. Embellishing does not impress hiring managers. If caught lying, there goes that opportunity. Be honest and proud of your background. This translates into self-confidence, which goes much farther than spreading false information.

Your resume is a powerful marketing tool and there is no room for mistakes when it comes to maximizing this power. Keep the doom out of your application process and avoid the about pitfalls at all costs. For further assistance on this topic, please see our Legal Resume Tips to learn more on how to create the perfect legal resume.   


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