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Your Attorney Resume: Use a Statement of Qualifications and a Cover Letter Instead of an Objective

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Some experts think that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether to place an objective on your resume — that it is your choice alone and depends upon what your goals and circumstances are.

Those experts are dead wrong.

The most basic answer is that an objective statement says the same thing no matter how you phrase it or where you send it: "I want to do legal work for you." So why take up valuable space on your resume to make that statement?

There are two mistakes attorneys commonly make when writing objectives: "too general" and "too selfish."

Too General

Many attorneys approach the objective statement from a one-size-fits-all angle. But it needs to be specific in order to create the desired effect. Simply writing that you are looking for a brand-new chance to apply your strong legal skill set in a demanding legal environment will not pique the interest of anyone.

Also, note that objectives can be limiting. If you state that you are interested in a specific type of practice, the employer may not even stop to think that you might be qualified for or be interested in another position within the firm or company. Even if you are an ace attorney all around with more than 20 years of experience in several legal arenas, if you write in your objective that you want to work in a major firm's real estate office, it might get missed that you would or could as expertly work for their commercial practice.

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