As law students are preparing their resumes to apply for summer opportunities, the Education section plays a very important part. For current students and recent grads, the Education section always comes first. Education and experiences in legal academia is what is important to recruiters and assists them in knowing how you can contribute to their firm or agency. Since your education will play a large role in your candidacy for the position, that section of your resume needs to contain many important details. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Listing your law degree – Indicate the degree you expect to earn as J.D. Candidate or Juris Doctor Candidate. Never use Juris Doctorate. Use consistency in denoting degree titles (either spelled out or abbreviated) throughout your Education section.
- Other degrees – Include any joint degree programs, advanced degrees, undergraduate degree, and study abroad to the Education section. Always list them in the order in which they were received, starting with the most recent. If you have earned two degrees from the same institution list them separately.
- Honors, Leadership, and Activities: List separate sub-sections for each educational degree. Include two to five entries, too many detract from the relevant and important activities. Be sure to list awards and distinctions. Italicize Latin phrases but use lower case letters, for example: summa cum laude.
- Grade Point and Rank: Since Mizzou Law school does not operate on a 4.00 scale, we always list the GPA and the Rank together. When denoting the rank, be sure and put the number of students in the class. For example, Rank: 45/136 will let the employer know that you are in the top third of the class. If your GPA is somewhere in the bottom half of the class, you may use your judgment or ask the CDO for advice about whether/how to list your GPA. If you have excelled in moot court or participate on a law journal, you may prefer to list the more positive credentials instead and address GPA after the employer has gotten to know you on paper first, and only if the employer asks for it. You may also list specific courses in which you excelled.
- Community Colleges and High School: Normally we would not add an Associate degree unless you majored in something that is legally relevant. For instance if you received a degree in paralegal studies and utilized the degree to assist you in continuing your education with the goal of becoming a lawyer, then including the information is important as it shows perseverance and dedication. We would normally not include high school on a legal resume unless you know that the specific person to whom you are writing would find the information significant.
- Elaboration: If you participated in an organization, intensive course or program that is unique to your school, be sure to elaborate. For instance if you participated in one of the clinics or pro bono month activities, be sure to list it on your resume.
Once your resume is prepared, utilize your resources and have a member of the Career Development Office review your resume.