- On December 1, 2019
I read with interest this Fast Company post on 10 resume tips to impress a recruiter in 7 seconds. Those are mighty specific statistics, so I had to take a read. I think the post is pretty accurate. Let’s go through them.
- Include your address only if it works in your favor. True. In the past it was weird not include an address, but nowadays most people do not include theirs. If you live relatively close to the potential employer, yes, list your home town so you can knock out concerns of a bad commute/annoying requests for telecommuting.
- Name drop. True. If you represented top companies as clients, go ahead and name them! That shows you likely have good judgment and communicate well because these top companies will not tolerate bad service.
- Use your performance reviews. True. Especially if you are a junior lawyer or work at a notoriously selective company, then go ahead and say you are consistently ranked in the top 10% of your level (or whatever the case is). Distinctions and awards can set you apart and answer the implicit question whether you are any good, which is kind of hard to tell for lawyers who are still lock step in their career.
- Don’t go overboard with keywords. Meh. Just describe what you do in a way that makes sense. I recommend you use the same words as the job description so you don’t get screened out by a robot or an inexperienced HR person who would not know that “commercial” and “contracts” or “antitrust” and “competition” are the same.
- Have a normal email address. True. Don’t use any cute or inappropriate email handles. Another tip, this one from me: make sure your profile picture attached to your personal email address is appropriate.
- List quality skills over a quantity of them. True. My recommendation is to keep your bullet points to 3-5 under any employer. Don’t list what you do in the order of how you do them. Instead, list the key ones the potential employer cares about.
- Choose to share social accounts strategically. Obviously. If you want to include a link to an account, LinkedIn and maybe a legal-related blog are ok. Nothing else.
- Use hobbies to your advantage. Yes, if there’s room. In that case, list activities that illustrate positive skills that could benefit the job, e.g., marathons/triathlons, Olympic sports (yes, I have some amazing candidates), and some pro bono work. I don’t think listing common activities for lawyers like reading, cooking, or drinking wine is worth the space.
- Don’t describe things generically. True. Do not say you are “hardworking” or “business-savvy.” Instead, your bullets should directly illustrate those points, e.g., you counsel the C-suite, or act as lead counsel for the fastest-growing product in the company.
- Keep a log of your accomplishments/compliments. Technically I’m not sure how as a recruiter I would know whether you keep one. But, yes, I advocate keeping an “I love me” file handy so you can update your resume with specifics. The file is also helpful when you have to self-evaluate for your performance review.
All in all, they got it right! I do review resumes in ten seconds or less. Good resumes are easy to skim, impart essential content with specifics, and do not raise any red flags.