Although the field of paralegal is increasingly growing, so is the competition getting tougher with each new day. It is difficult to get started in this profession especially if you lack any prior work experience related to this field. A paralegal creates and fills documents to effectively interact with clients and attorneys. You will help in discovering, investigating, researching and all other areas of the law. You are expected to assist the attorney in whatever ways they need.
Writing tips for a paralegal resume
Your paralegal resume is the first impression any prospective employer will have of you and if you have a great resume, then it will not be the last. A poorly written resume goes without say that this will be the last impression you will make on your potential employer. Your resume is a direct marketing tool and the recruiter is the consumer, and you are the product. Do not be afraid of selling your expertise, knowledge and all the extras that you come with. However, for you to make a good sale you need to roll your sleeves up and start to work with all those analytic skills you developed as you studied your paralegal course and come up with a good resume.
Important parts of a paralegal resume
Your resume should contain from two to four different sections. Whether you have been working for years or you have never had a single job, one of the sections will always be about your education. For the other sections, you will choose the ones to include and how to title them so that they may catch the recruiter’s eye.
This is important for several reasons. It is usually the first paragraph after you have provided your personal information. It lets the potential employer know your career goals and makes them want to continue to read the resume. If you are applying for a specific area, tailor your objective to meet the job requirements.
This is a vital part of the resume especially for new paralegals that have just completed their education. If you are an entry level paralegal with very limited experience at work, this is the section you should focus a lot in. Write down your paralegal degree, your major, the college from which you graduated. Indicate the courses you did that are related to the job for which you are applying. Generally, most law firms are looking for employees who have skills in legal researching and writing and law office management.
You are allowed to write down your leadership and academic achievements in this section. If you were in any student and academic organizations, list them down. Emphasize your leadership roles and highlight your duties and achievements while you served in those leadership roles. If you were simply a participant of an organization but you did not hold any leadership roles, mention your contributions as a member.
Most employers usually prefer hiring someone who has experience. If you are new, you can indicate your internship program. If you are an experienced paralegal, list the jobs you have done in a chronological order starting from the most recent job. When describing the duties and responsibilities you held, use active verbs. For instance, “created and maintained clients billing systems.”
This is the section where you can write about your other special skills that you have not mentioned in the other parts of the resume. Most employers expect a paralegal to be at least proficient in word processing and be able to prepare spreadsheets using excel. Are you able to work using other software such as LiveNote, CaseMap or Abacus Law? If yes, do not fail to include them. Employers always want new employees who are technologically competent to make their offices more efficient.
The law profession is a conservative one, it is not like writing a server resume or a child care resume, so always keep your resume brief and to the point. Use a font that is easy to read on most computers. Employers are usually swarmed with resumes when they post a job opening so ensure yours is free of errors and easy to read. Use bullets as frequently as possible, they allow the recruiter to easily scan your resume and pick the important points fast.
Paralegal resume sample #1
321 Super Street
Lakeview, NJ 10671
Looking for a position as a paralegal in a general law office.
Ten years experience as a paralegal offering support to three attorneys. Exceptional research, analytical and investigative skills. A self motivated professional with a proven record of drafting legal documents and editing the same documents.
July 2010-Present: Paralegal, J&M & Associates, Newpark, N.J.
• Helped with production of documents and trial preparation
• Created a customer online billing system
• Offered administrative and legal support for civil litigation firm
• In charge of training and supervising trainees
July 2005 -June 2008: Paralegal, Kate & Steve Firm , N.J.
• Prepared billings for clients
• Helped with filling pleadings
• Drafted legal memoranda
• Prepared client bills
• Helped by arranging meetings with clients
Microsoft Word, CaseMap, Concordance, Excel, Westlaw, PowerPoint
Affiliated to the American Alliance of Paralegals
Took part in the pro bono program that was started by J &M Associates
June 2006: New Jersey University, N.J.
Associate degree in Legal Studies
Cleverland College – Diploma in criminal studies
High west High school- Diploma
Paralegal Job Description
A paralegal specializes in one area of the law carrying out several duties of legal work. Although they are not qualified solicitors, they do work that is similar to that of a solicitor. These work ranges from legal secretarial and administrative tasks to research and provision of legal information to clients. They perform different tasks and there is no day that is similar to the other in the day of a paralegal.
Paralegal Job Duties
As a paralegal, you job duties depend on where you work and your responsibility levels. Government offices, law firms and corporations mainly rely on paralegals to create, arrange for research and prepare for court sessions. Paralegals are not permitted to represent clients or advise them but they perform the many duties that are the same with attorneys. As a paralegal, you should help attorneys in investigating cases, finding relevant legal articles and judicial decisions for cases. You will also assist in the preparation of legal documents such as motions, agreements and contracts. Organize and analyze information to come up with reports, offer administrative support for attorneys in court and at the offices. You are also supposed to provide quotes to clients, interview clients and witnesses and give clients legal information.