Resume

7 Tips for What You Should (And Shouldn’t) Do at Your Callback

Not only did you make it through the hectic OCI season with some excellent interview experience, but employers are now inviting you back for additional interviews. Great job! Now is the time to be excited! It is also the time to plan. You hit it off with the on-campus interviewer and now you must plan for the next round of interviewers at the callback. Keep in mind some of these dos and don’ts for the callback, courtesy of the hiring director at an AmLaw 100 firm:

1. Wear a suit-even if the firm insists it’s a relaxed, casual place. This applies to both men and women. Don’t get fooled by the “business casual” stuff. According to this hiring director, go for business formal — though pants suits are perfectly fine for women these days. She also advises: “Iron your shirt or blouse and steam out the wrinkles in your suit. Use a lint brush.” Unsure about something you are wearing? Best to not wear it.

2. Do not wear perfume or cologne. Take a shower and use deodorant — that’s enough. “I’ve been in offices a few hours after lawyers meet a candidate and sometimes you can still smell the cologne,” says this hiring director. You want to be remembered for your skills and great talent, not your scent.

3. Find out who’s interviewing you, then Google them. Don’t just read the employer bios. Google them, too. “Note any recent cases or clients [because] attorneys do love to talk about themselves.” The employer didn’t tell you who will be interviewing you? No sweat: Just call the recruiting department and ask! But be prepared for last minute changes.

4. When you show up, treat everyone nicely. “Be friendly and engaging to the receptionist or whoever is greeting you. This shows that you can work and interact with staff and attorneys alike.”

5. During the interview, ask questions, then more questions. ”Even if you’ve asked the same questions six times, ask them again.” And never ever say, “no I don’t have any questions.” Moreover, if the interviewer asks you a question, “don’t use one word answer; always elaborate.” You should also know your own resume-inside and out as you can potentially be asked questions about your activities, clubs, awards, classes, etc.

6. But don’t ask mundane questions. Save questions about salary, recruiting process, maternity/paternity leaves, reimbursement of travel expenses, retirement plans, etc. for the hiring director or coordinator. “Use your time wisely with the attorneys-talk about you, their practice, and their company.”

7. Send a brief thank-you note. You don’t need to pull out your monogrammed stationery. Email is now acceptable. But it’s always a good idea to include something about your discussion with the interviewers. “It shows they made an impression on you.”

Even if you decide to forgo a callback from the start, or you go to the callback, get an offer, then decide to cross the employer off your list, you should promptly and gracefully decline the invitation or offer with a call, followed by an email confirmation. (It’s also a nice touch to tell the employer where you end up.) ”You may want to work at the company [you've turned down] one day, and the recruiting director might remember that you didn’t return her call!”

The Legal Resume: Back to Basics

Can you believe it? Fall is right around the corner! Say goodbye to warm temperatures, flip-flops, and trips to the beach and say hello to new textbooks, cooler weather, and a bit of polish for your resume. Resume work already? Of course! Rising 2Ls and 3Ls: the summer and long-term job search begins as soon as you return to campus (if not before). In addition to starting to send out resumes on your own, you will begin bidding for Fall On-Campus Interviews and Resume Collects (if you have not already) and you will want your resume to earn you some call backs and second interviews. Incoming 1L students: you’ll realize quickly that the legal resume differs from the typical business resume. A legal resume has a unique structure and format, along with its own set of rules and guidelines. This subject and more will be explained in detail as you progress through the Professional Development class, so no need worry about drafting your legal resume just yet.

As you begin the new job search, as well as throughout your career, keep in mind these important general tips for your application materials:

Focus on the employer’s needs
The legal resume is a unique marketing and sales tool that summarizes who you are and what you have to offer. It communicates strengths and distinguishes you from other applicants and also provides a sample work product characterized by quality and clarity. You can prove that you think like a lawyer by creating a resume in which you are an advocate for yourself.

Sometimes students draft cover letters that focus on their own goals (i.e. “I hope to gain meaningful experience from this internship”). Instead, do just the opposite. Close your eyes and picture the overworked hiring partners or recruiting personnel reading your resume. Their company has approved a new hire and they are sifting through stacks of resumes. What do they want? Someone intelligent, who has job-specific legal experience, gets along well with everyone else in the office, and can dive right in to their work, right? Make your resume reflect those needs by highlighting your work quality and experience. Such things that can demonstrate this are: Team projects, academic projects, writing samples, clinics, and volunteer work.

Make it pleasant to read
The legal community is conservative and expects a traditional resume. An employer is likely to spend less than 30 seconds on his or her initial review of your resume; therefore, a readable form is crucial. It can help the reader smoothly and quickly capture important information at the first glance. Make sure that you use underlining, italics, capital letters, etc. consistently from one position to another and one section of the resume to another. Your ability to do so shows your attention to detail.

Text that is jammed together, tiny margins, and distracting boxes and lines all make for an untidy, not aesthetically pleasing resume. The aforementioned tired hiring partners want to pick resumes out of the pile that are easy to read. Do this by limiting your resume to one page and pick a traditional font such as Times Roman, Arial or Garamond. With font size, choose 10 or 11 point; below that, you are risking someone not bothering to review your resume due to poor readability.

It’s not just a summary of experience
The purpose of your resume is to get you called in for an interview, so focus on marketing to the employer. Using excellent action verbs when you begin your phrases in your work descriptions can help you market yourself to the employer. Avoid passive voice, as well as the phrase “responsible for.” Briefly explain awards or scholarships, instead of just listing the name of the scholarship or award. Quantify where possible; for example, “Organized school wide fundraising auction. Chaired committee of 13 students; raised $7,500 for public interest scholarship.” Employers like hard data and facts. And keep in mind that the experience section of your resume can include clinical work, internships/externships, research assistantships, volunteer work, etc., as well as paid positions.

The biggest (avoidable!) mistake
Typos and grammatical errors are NEVER ok. Never. We’ll stop telling you this when we stop seeing them. Employers are likely to immediately eliminate you from consideration. They consider your resume your first work product, so make sure you spend time re-reading it – again and again. And when you think you’ve finished proofreading it, read it over again. Afterward, get a friend or faculty member to proofread it. Finally, email it or bring it in to your career advisor for a final look over. You can never have too many eyes looking at your resume when it comes to hunting for typos and grammatical errors.

What to learn more great resume tips? Check out our complete list of legal resume “Do’s and Don’ts”, advice, lists of action words, resume samples, and more in our Career Planning Guide. You can find it on Symplicity in the Document Library and on the Students section of our web site, in the Resource Center. Make use of this publication as your ultimate career guide and refer to it often during your time here at law school. It is a great resource to add to your law school toolbox!