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I'm a little out of my usual field here. My youngest sister is applying to law school. She has asked me to look at her resume.

Despite my best efforts she is committed to a 2 page resume.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Does anyone have experience with law school applications they would like to share?

MichaelM's picture

Hi Will,
While not specific to law school, I faced similar issues when applying to grad schools for a doctoral program. A few things to keep in mind:

1. Guidance in the applications: do the applications spell out any requirements? Does it say to simply list former work experiences or does it ask for additional info? She should look on the application form itself, as well as reading through the front matter of the application.

2. From 1 page to 2 pages: I had a two-pager when I applied to grad school (Columbia, NYU, Rutgers, and a few other schools). While my new one-pager is far superior for job searches, my two-pager included a great deal more information: more like an academic-CV that included articles I’d published, seminars I’d organized, a long list of professional organizations, etc. While a recruiter would roll her/his eyes at much of that, some larger research institutions expect it. She may want to call the departments to which she is interested in applying and ask what type of information they prefer to see on a resume. Ask if they want a CV or a BRIEF career history (i.e. academic code for one-pager). A great question to ask is if they prefer the candidate to list their professional affiliations and research interests; I have found that departments that say “yes” to this question come to expect longer resumes.

3. Selling is selling: In the end, she is selling herself and the core of Mark and Mike’s resume message applies … the purpose of the resume is to get her an interview (or direct admission if applicable). Which makes her look like a better candidate? Bottom line: my two-pager was similar to my one-pager. It simply included a lot of that dreaded white space and a few additional sections. As Mike and Mark have noted, a long list of great accomplishments starting with action verbs is a MUST! She should rely on the law school’s directions and her judgment when adding anything beyond that.

Hope this helps,
Mike