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Resumes and Other Application Materials

Resumes

Format: Your resume should look neat, traditional, and easy to read. We suggest either a left-justified or an indented style format, depending on your personal preference and how much information you plan to include on your resume. If providing hard copies of your resume to employers, it should be printed on high-quality resume paper.

Content: Review our suggestions for what to include in your resume, and speak to a counselor about any questions that you have.

Cover Letters

Format: When sending an application by mail, always format your cover letter in a business letter format and print the letter on resume paper. When emailing applications, you can either put the cover letter in the body of the email (in which case there is no special formatting) or attach your resume as a document (in which case the letter should be formatted as if it were going by mail).

Content: Review our suggestions for what to include in a cover letter. Students applying to public sector positions may wish to review the public sector cover letter advice provided by the Office of Public Service.

Transcript

Format: An unofficial transcript will be sufficient for almost all employers. Request a transcript from the Law School Registrar, which you can then copy for mailed applications or scan into a PDF for emailed applications.

GPA: When you request your transcript, you will have the option to include or exclude your GPA. This decision should be consistent with whether or not your GPA is included on your resume.

Reference List

Format: Copy the header (e.g., name and contact info) from your resume onto your Reference List for a uniform look across your application documents. Then type "References" in bold type and list the names and contact info for your references. When providing your reference list in hard copy, it should be printed on resume paper.

Content: The references presented should have some relation to your work and study experience and not be solely social acquaintances. At least one, and perhaps two, of the references should be a member of the law school faculty (1L students should establish relationships with their Lawyering and/or small section professors to help this process). Undergraduate professors and prior supervisors can also be excellent references. Courtesy and common sense dictate that you request references' permission before using their names, so that they will not be caught off guard when an inquiry is made. It is a good idea to furnish your references with an updated copy of your resume to refresh their memories and to keep yourself and your job search fresh in their minds.

Writing Sample

Length: Generally, 5-10 pages, double-spaced. If the sample you'd like to use is too long, you should shorten it. If, for example, you tackle two related, but distinct, issues in the writing, you can eliminate the discussion of one of the issues completely.

What To Choose: 1Ls will generally use their best piece of writing from their Lawyering course. After their 1L summer, students often have a writing sample from their job that they will use in future job searches. When using a document originally written for an employer, you will need to ask your supervising attorney for permission to use it as a writing sample and redact any information that might compromise client confidentiality. If you have additional questions about what to choose as a writing sample, review this information or speak to a counselor.

Cover Page: You should present your writing sample with a cover page that again utilizes the header from your resume. The cover page should provide a brief discussion of the context in which the writing sample was written and, if applicable, note which sections were left out of the sample for the sake of brevity. The cover page should be printed on resume paper while the writing sample itself can be on regular copy paper.

Thank You Notes & Follow Up

When To Send & To Whom: Within one or two days following your interview, you should send a brief, but cordial, thank you note to the recruiting coordinator or your principal interviewer. You do not need to send a thank you note to every lawyer with whom you spoke. If you do choose to send more than one, each letter should be different. Either email or regular mail is appropriate. Thank you notes for on-campus or job fair (screening) interviews are not necessary.

Content: Thank the interviewer for extending the time and courtesy to interview you. Express your continued interest in the organization, and provide any pertinent personal information about you which was not covered during the interview. Do not send any note unless it is very, very carefully proofread.

If You Haven't Heard: If you do not hear about the status of your candidacy for an offer within a week after the interviewer indicated you would be notified, contact the recruiting administrator to inquire about whether they need any further information and when you might expect to receive a response. If you overlooked asking the “when will I hear from you?” question at the interview, you might contact the employer after two weeks have elapsed. You want to be sure that your file has not “fallen through the cracks,” and you want to get your continued interest in the position on record.