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When law students need to draft or brush up their resume for the springtime job hunt, often one of the big issues students encounter is making their resume stand out from their peers.
Unless you're in the top 10 percent or quarter of your class, or have earned yourself some academic distinctions or other awards, it's pretty much up to you to set yourself apart. And if you're confused on how to go about doing that in your resume, read on below for three useful tips, but be prepared to work, because each requires you to actually do something.
1. Do Something Good for Your Community
Join a volunteer organization that gets you out in the community doing valuable community service.
It is best if you find something, or some organization, in the legal field, like a bar association or legal aid organization. Even if you can only commit a couple hours a month, there are volunteer opportunities out there, you just need to go find them, and do them, and keep doing them.
2. Do Something Good for Your Career
Getting additional professional certifications and joining professional membership associations, particularly ones that cater to professionals in niche spaces, can actually help quite a bit. If you want to do drone law, getting a license to fly one will likely make you a more appealing candidate to a firm in that niche than a candidate without one (assuming all other things equal).
Just being a member of a professional organization and getting a line on your resume may not do much on its own, but if you actually attend the group's events, or engage in other ways, it can certainly pay off in other ways. Getting to know the community you seek to be a part of, and networking, can actually make your resume stand out because the person seeing it might only be doing so because of a personal referral, or because you're part of the same association.
3. Do Something Extra for Your Education
If you want to set yourself apart from your law school peers, you may want to engage in additional career-related training sessions. One example would include taking the online trainings for popular discovery review software, or popular case management systems, as well as advanced trainings in online legal research. While a firm may not use the exact software you trained in, the skills you'll learn are certainly transferable. Other relevant courses may be offered by your school, other nearby schools, or professional associations, or even online.