Preparation for the Study of Law
Start a Resume and Keep It Updated
We recommend including a resume with each of your applications. Most admissions people find them useful, and it is a chance for you to present your qualifications and experiences on your terms. You will also find a resume useful for other purposes during your college career.
There is no rush freshman year, but do begin to put something together as a sophomore.
*IUB’s Career Development Center will give you an individual appointment for creating a resume. See their website at www.indiana.edu/~career/, email email@example.com, or call 812-855-5234. We urge you to take advantage of their services. They will give you expert guidance.
Below are websites with guides and templates for creating a general resume.
An internet search will provide even more:
IUB’s CDC guide to resumes:
University of Minnesota’s Resume Tutor:
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Career Center’s “Resume Writing Guide” https://www4.uwm.edu/cdc/prepare/resumes_letters_references.cfm.
Differences Between Law School and Job-Search Resumes
A resume for law schools need not be as formal as a “job-search” resume. For example, you do not need an “objective” or references (recommendation letters serve this latter purpose). A major difference is that (unless a length is specified by the law school, which is extremely rare), law school resumes can and often should be be more than one page.
Organize it in the way that maximizes your strengths--consider listing your most impressive credentials first.
For the "Education" section, if higher than your cumulative GPA, consider listing your GPA in the major, or, if you have an upward trend, for the last 3 or 4 semesters [e.g., “GPA since spring of sophomore year”; “Junior/senior GPA”]. You can also list "GPA without foreign language courses", or "...without science courses", as you will not be taking these subjects in law school. List minors and honors (these are NOT reported on the LSAC report); consider mentioning areas that you have studied in some depth even if you did not get a minor or other credential (e.g., “relevant coursework: 18 credits at the Kelley School of Business, including…”). Use common sense in deciding what to include. A HPPLC Prelaw Advisor would be happy to review your resume at any stage of its development—just send as an email attachment.
Anything that you have done in life outside the classroom is fair game for the resume--and these experiences do not have to be law-related. Remember, after admission officials decide that you could succeed academically at their school [and about 70% of applicants to a given school fall into this category], they then look for interesting people who have done a variety of interesting things in life as well as academically and professionally. Tell them. It helps to have more than numbers. Interesting hobbies, jobs, personal, memorable, unique experiences can distinguish you from someone with similar numbers who lacks such items. The personal statement and resume work together as vehicles to convey this aspect of what you would bring to a law school class. Show that you are a well-rounded, renaissance person. Even seemingly mundane activities may attract the attention of a like-minded admissions official (e.g.,your last section might be "Hobbies/Interests" -- such as bowling, cooking, avid reader, rock climbing, running marathons--whatever).
Format the resume for the official who may only take 15 seconds to skim it—that is, err on the side of having more categories in bold [e.g., "Professional Employment,” "Law-Related Employment" “Other Employment,” “Student Leadership,” “Volunteer Activities,” “Internships,” “Athletics,” “Honors,” “Publications,” “Skills,” “Hobbies/Interests,” etc.], as opposed to simply having one or two giant categories for “Activities” or “Employment”. This way, even if they do not read every word, they will get the idea that you are an active, well-rounded applicant. Make sure the most important and impressive points stand out and are easy to read quickly.