Paralegal Resume Examples & Writing Guide
When pursuing a career as a paralegal, it's crucial to present a resume that not only defines the job role but also showcases your qualifications effectively. This article provides an overview of what it takes to be a paralegal and guides you through writing a resume that highlights the necessary skills. The sample text included will serve as a practical example to illustrate these points.
What does a paralegal do?
Paralegals are vital to the legal profession. Their role involves supporting lawyers by maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents. Paralegals may also help lawyers prepare for corporate meetings, trials, and hearings. Their work is foundational in the preparation of legal cases and proceedings. A paralegal's resume should reflect these integral responsibilities.
Skills to highlight on a paralegal resume
- Legal research proficiency
- Document drafting and preparation
- Case management expertise
- Attention to detail
- Client communication skills
- Knowledge of legal software
- Time management abilities
- Understanding of legal procedures
- Compliance and regulatory knowledge
- Confidentiality and ethics
How to write a paralegal resume?
A paralegal resume should fit snugly on a single page, showcasing clarity and good formatting. It must include contact details, a personal summary, work experience, education, projects, and extra skills. While most resumes contain these sections, emphasize those that demonstrate your strengths; for instance, a recent graduate might focus on education and projects, while a seasoned professional might highlight extensive work experience.
Choose a paralegal resume format
The format of a resume can be a deciding factor in getting noticed. There are three main types: chronological, functional, and combination. Typically, the reverse chronological format is the best option, showcasing your most recent job experience first. For a perfectly formatted resume, consider using Rezi, where you can select from a variety of templates tailored to your needs.
Start with your contact information and name
Opening your resume with your full name and contact details is crucial. Include a phone number, an email address, and optionally, your LinkedIn profile URL and location. This straightforward approach ensures that hiring managers can easily identify and reach out to you.
Write a strong professional summary
The professional summary aims to encapsulate your expertise and career goals in a concise manner. For a paralegal, it should include your experience, key skills, and how you can contribute to a legal team.
Experienced Paralegal with over five years in commercial law, specializing in case preparation and legal research. Recognized for meticulous document management and efficient support of trial proceedings. Seeking to leverage expertise in a challenging legal environment.
This summary is effective because it quickly presents the candidate's experience, specialty, and career goals, setting the stage for the rest of the resume.
Consider optimizing your resume for ATS keywords
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) sift through resumes using job-related keywords. Including these keywords ensures your resume gets past these digital gatekeepers and into the hands of employers. Rezi can assist by pinpointing the necessary keywords from the job description and ensuring they're woven into your resume.
List your relevant work experience
The work experience section showcases your professional journey and relevance to the paralegal field. Highlight roles and responsibilities that align closely with the paralegal's duties to stand out.
Paralegal, XYZ Legal Firm, 2018-2021
- Conducted comprehensive legal research for over 30 cases.
- Assisted with the drafting and reviewing of legal documents, contributing to a 15% decrease in processing time.
- Coordinated with clients, enhancing communication and case management efficiency.
This section works well because it highlights specific responsibilities and the positive outcomes of the candidate's actions, reflecting their contribution to past roles.
List your projects
The projects section should include any additional work that demonstrates your skills and contributions to the field. For a paralegal, this could include volunteer work, internships, or independent research.
To stand out:
- Highlight research projects or community initiatives.
- Mention any publications or presentations.
Pro Bono Project, Legal Aid Society, 2020
- Led a team of volunteers to provide legal consultation services.
This project description is compelling because it showcases leadership and a commitment to applying legal skills in a community-focused initiative.
List your education
The education section of a resume provides a foundation of your academic background and qualifications.
- Degree and major
- Name of the institution
- Graduation date
- GPA (if above 3.0)
Master of Legal Studies, ABC University, 2019
- 3.8 GPA, focus on corporate law
This section demonstrates the candidate's relevant academic achievements and specialization in a field pertinent to the paralegal role.
List any relevant skills
The final section of a resume is the place to list additional skills. For a paralegal, this may include languages, technical skills, or certifications that are particularly useful in a legal setting.
Final tips for writing a paralegal resume
Keep it concise
Your resume should be a brief showcase of your qualifications. Stick to one page and only include information that is relevant to the paralegal role.
Use active language
Employ active verbs to describe your responsibilities and achievements. This lends dynamism to your resume and makes your contributions clear.
Ensure your resume is free from errors. A mistake-free document is crucial in the legal field, which values attention to detail.