Top 10 Law School Applicant Resume Mistakes

Resumes are not usually one of the major factors that admissions committees consider. A resume usually provides consistency and reinforcement to the application. But if your resume is flawed, it can hurt your chances for admission. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

1. Typos or formatting mistakes. As example, there is no comma between months and years. Make sure that you proofread the resume multiple times and have someone else look at it too.

2. Inconsistency. Whatever format you decide on, be consistent. Do your best to have the consistency flow between sections. Make sure that the information is presented in the same order (title, institution, city, state, dates).

3. An excessively long resume. Remove insignificant activities such as things you did for only one day such as community service events that were not sustained involvements.

4. Exaggerations or untruths. If you lie or exaggerate, you will likely be caught. Lawyers have an uncanny ability to smell BS. If you are admitted and the falsehood is later discovered, it could spell disaster.

5. Descriptions in the first person. Scan your resume looking for the words “I” or “we.” You should describe everything in third person. Think of your sentences as having the implied subject of “applicant.”

6. Using the wrong tense. Make sure to use past tense for things in the past, and present for all things you are currently doing.

7. Insignificant information. Make sure you are only including significant items. It’s not relevant that you helped build one house for Habitat for Humanity, or anything about your high school accomplishments.

8. Including “Objective” or “Summary of Qualifications” sections. These sections do not belong in an academic resume.

9. Having a clustered or unreadable format. Some people, in an attempt to keep the resume on one page, make the resume unreadable. Do not go below 10pt. font, or ½ margins.

10. Having an unprofessional email address. [email protected] reflects poorly on you. Use your university email account if possible.


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