\n
var googletag = googletag || {}; googletag.cmd = googletag.cmd || []; googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.pubads().disableInitialLoad(); });
device = device.default;
//this function refreshes [adhesion] ad slot every 60 second and makes prebid bid on it every 60 seconds // Set timer to refresh slot every 60 seconds function setIntervalMobile() { if (!device.mobile()) return if (adhesion) setInterval(function(){ googletag.pubads().refresh([adhesion]); }, 60000); } if(device.desktop()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [728, 90], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } else if(device.tablet()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [320, 50], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } else if(device.mobile()) { googletag.cmd.push(function() { leaderboard_top = googletag.defineSlot('/22018898626/LC_Article_detail_page', [320, 50], 'div-gpt-ad-1591620860846-0').setTargeting('pos', ['1']).setTargeting('div_id', ['leaderboard_top']).addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); googletag.enableServices(); }); } googletag.cmd.push(function() { // Enable lazy loading with... googletag.pubads().enableLazyLoad({ // Fetch slots within 5 viewports. // fetchMarginPercent: 500, fetchMarginPercent: 100, // Render slots within 2 viewports. // renderMarginPercent: 200, renderMarginPercent: 100, // Double the above values on mobile, where viewports are smaller // and users tend to scroll faster. mobileScaling: 2.0 }); });

Paralegal Resume Must Sum Up Skills

published February 07, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing

( 451 votes, average: 5 out of 5)

What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Young paralegals in their job search should be very careful in summing up their skills in their resume. Let us consider some resumes and see how we can use them while drawing our resumes.

Paralegal Resume Must Sum Up Skills


For instance Don Tollefson Resume shows you that there is a way of summing yourself up that transcends the "hard chronology." This is true of everyone, especially those of us who are younger. Your skills, talents, and qualifications constitute much more of what you are at the age of 24 than does your work experience. This is the reason for the Skill Assessment/Summary of Qualifications section. Regardless of our age, we are more qualified than we look (or certainly feel we are). Therefore, most of us should labor at the creation of a section in our resume in which we sum up our talents, qualifications, or skills - the resume within the resume.

Note that Mr. Tollefson has been in the theater and worked in restaurants. He also discusses his self-employment. Now, pay attention to his Skills section. He covers "Paralegal Training," "Client Relations," "Computer Use and Knowledge," and "Software Familiarity." When an interested party reads this part of his resume, one discovers a much fuller elaboration of a person than would be expected from one who has just worked in theater and restaurants. If this applicant had not handled that elaboration with detail, color, and sophistication, he might have been relegated to paralegal unemployment. As it was, this paralegal described himself as a well-trained professional paralegal with an ease in dealing with many types of people and who could handle the busy congestion and activity of a law office with the commensurate demands of word- processing and other computer technology. This Skill Assessment section gives an interested employer a look at a full and complex individual who would probably be a wonderful asset to a law office. Without the Skill element, he could have been labeled with broad-brush characterizations that eliminated him from the interview.

Using the "Resume within a Resume," many paralegal applicants today sum themselves up quickly in a tightly written summation of experience that includes (besides a simple listing of skills) a kind of "biography" structure.

See these entries in the resume of Denton John Armistead.

Education: Texas Paralegal Institute. Ft. Worth, Texas Paralegal Certificate; September 1994. Virginia University. Richmond, Virginia. B.S. Wildlife Biology/Management; June 1984.

Legal experience: Cooper & Abramowitz. Dallas, Texas.Worked over 100 hours as paralegal intern with firm specializing in medical malpractice and insurance litigation. July-August, 1994.

Professional skills: In over 14 years of Business Management, I have proven ability to: Work efficiently in busy job environments by utilizing high energy, time management skills, and task prioritization, prepare budgets, P&L statements, and accounting reports, generate reports and documents via various computer systems

Professional experience: Operations Manager. Avis Rent-A-Car, Wichita Falls, TX (10/89-12/93).Acted as operations manager in hiring, firing, training, and developing of 100 employees; achieved highest Quality Assurance score in company; developed new procedures that increased customer service and revenue. Senior Projects Manager, Central Parking Systems, Kansas City, MO (3/87- 8/89): Trained 50 employees, including management, clerical, supervisory, maintenance, valet, and cashier personnel; streamlined operational methods that improved overall efficiency and employee morale. District Manager. Econo Rent-A-Car, Dallas, TX (4/85-12/86): Operated busy district with five offices as district manager; reversed deficit in district within two months.

Denton John Armistead Resume: The paralegal has summarized 14 years of business experience in a crisp visual style. He avoids boring the reader by summing up the most vital parts of the experience, rather than giving rote descriptions of jobs. This packages him attractively, showing that he knows he is moving into the paralegal world and he is purposefully moving from one domain into another. Without this kind of treatment, one might question whether the person truly understood the direction in which he was heading.

Jane Nottingham Resume: The paralegal sums up her experience at the beginning of the resume with a "Profile." With this treatment, the paralegal applicant is declaring who she is and how she thinks she can contribute to a law office. This is a non-defensive approach to a strong professional background. The sense that is being conveyed is that this person made a deliberate, considered, and well-thought-out decision about a new career transition. Without this approach, the interested reader might wonder, “Is this person over-qualified and expecting too much?" "Will this person work in the world of law?" "How can a producer of the electronic media have any interest in the law?"

In the very beginning of the resume, she begins with the value that she is bringing to the law firm. She is declaring her skills before her work background. She is deflecting the focus away from her actual job descriptions (which have to do with TV stations and publishers) and "forcing" the attention of the reader on the qualities that she thinks she brings to the legal environment.

There are many examples of the treatment of skills, summations, and profiles in professional resumes today. It is easy enough to find an outstanding example or create a look that will satisfy you and take an important visual place in your resume. The appropriateness of a certain form or format for your particular resume is something about which you should seek advice and input. But the basic elements of a good skill assessment section, apart from its visual appeal, are important to consider.
  1. Does it truly reflect your skills?
     
  2. Is it easy to see how you developed your skills from reading the
     
  3. rest of your resume?
     
  4. Are your skills valuable in a legal setting or law office?
     
  5. Have you put your skills in the proper order? (Most important tolegal first, and then in descending order)
     
  6. Will you be able to base a strong oral presentation-your bio-upon the Skills section and make it believable and compelling?
Jane L. Nottingham’s Profile says the applicant is experienced with WP 6.0 and WestLaw Certified, mature professional capable of handling multiple assignments simultaneously. Performs well in deadline-sensitive environment; works well independently and with others.

Highly developed interpersonal skills. Experienced researcher. Versatile writer.

Education Northern Paralegal Institute, Chicago, Illinois; November 1994. Paralegal Certificate. ABA-approved curriculum, including: Legal Research and Writing, Litigation, Business Organization, Real Property, Family Law, Estate Administration, and Ethics.

College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota. May 1990. Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication (Writing Emphasis).

Legal Experience: Office of the General Counsel, U.S.D.A., Chicago, Illinois.

Paralegal Internship: September-November, 1994 Litigation Support: Assisted in case file management; summarized depositions; prepared exhibits for briefs; researched and wrote a descriptive speech outline; researched in traditional law library settings.

Employment History: KQDS AM/FM, Minneapolis, Minnesota; October 1990-0ctober 1992.

Media Representative: Specialized in researching and developing a new client base; served as active community relations role; WABC AM/FM, Peoria, Illinois; October 1989-August 1990. Media Representative: Target marketed accounts for two distinct formats; Hammer and Smith Publishers, Chicago, Illinois; March 1989-June 1989. Marketing Assistant: Researched markets of health and wellness literature users: Wrote technical marketing material; KKRR-TV, Gary, Indiana; September 1984-February 1989.Public Affairs Director: Analyzed needs of broadcast market. Created, wrote, and produced announcements and programs; Represented station's interests on committees and boards.

The special/technical skills section

Many people are concerned with one element in a paralegal resume: They desire to make clear their complete qualifications with computers, hardware, and software. The devotion of one part of your resume to these skills is highly recommended. Refer to Mirriam Dellahousay resume, and see how this section is placed at the top of the resume so that even a mildly interested reader will note it. A common error is to place this section too close to the bottom of the resume, thus risking that a hurried perusal would miss this vital part of your value package.

When you're qualified . . . you're qualified!

Something must be said for the simple approach. Some people do well with resumes that are very spare. For example, those with previous medical qualifications often have a "free pass" into an interview situation.

Their qualifications are in demand. Don Arnesson resume: Got entry employment soon after graduation and was rapidly advanced. This man, however, took the "lean" approach and did not suffer for it. This is not to say that his next position might not require a different kind of approach.

This is a bare bones resume, but it is unmistakable in its statement that the applicant has a medical background. He did not clutter the resume because he knew that he would probably get an interview based solely upon his qualifications. This created a specific image. The image being communicated was one of maturity and qualification. It almost says, "Interview me and you will see how qualified I am." Some people might have a problem with this resume, but the proof is in the pudding. He got a job at the first firm to which he applied, right after graduation.

Targeted resumes-more than one!

The truly prepared paralegal about to engage in the effective paralegal job search will have the ability to "stylize" resumes. This is nothing more than taking a basic resume, which should be saved on a diskette, and making adjustments so that a differently targeted resume can be produced within a day.

Mirriam Dellahousay Resume: Legal experience: Patriot Insurance Co., Richmond, Virginia; Legal Secretary/Paralegal- In House Attorney for Insurance Company. Maintained attorney's calendar, hearing and trial lists, tickler system, filing, deposition summaries. Emphasis in Workers' Compensation, products liability, and personal injury related cases. 8/91 to 8/92 Burlingame, Burlingame and Smith, Arlington, Virginia, Legal Secretary-Workers' Compensation Law. Dealt with clients, handled word-processing, and maintained files. Tickling and scheduling. 5/91 to 8/91

Computer systems: IBM PC Environment-WordPerfect 4.2, 5.0, 5.1, Novel Netware system, Q&A, ORG Plus,Lexis and WestLaw, dBase III and IV and Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft Word, HyperCard, Netway

Education: 1993-Virginia Community College-Associates; Degree (Paralegal Program) Graduation 7/93

Previous experience: Mellenkamps Bar and Grill, Richmond, Virginia, Word Processor and Office Assistant. Worked for Owner/Manager, handled all duties regarding restaurant management, inventory, pa5rroll, and vendor relations. 10/89 to 3/93; The Aristocrat Restaurant, Washington, DC; Accounting and Word processing. Responsible for office management tasks and basic bookkeeping and accounting duties. Given responsibilities by manager of cash deposits and highly confidential financial and legal matters. Dealt with business vendors.

References will be furnished upon request

Don Arnesson’s resume: Education: Northwest Community College Seattle, Washington; Paralegal Diploma-June, 1994, Northwest Oregon School of Anesthesia, Portland, Oregon, 1974-1976. Graduated, Certificate of Training, University of Arkansas, Monticello, Arkansas 1971-1973. Graduated, Associate Degree of Nursing. Work Experience: April 1991-December 1992 -- Food and Beverage Service, Warwick Hotel, Tacoma, Washington; November 1983-April 1991--Owner/Operator Professional Anesthesia Service, Ulysses, Idaho; June 1991-October 1983--Anesthesiology, Inc.-Staff Anesthetist, Spokane, Washington; April 1976-May 1981 Staff Anesthetist, St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Paducah, Kentucky

References available upon request

Targeted Resumes - More Than One!

Start with a Basic Paralegal Resume.

Then, by employing an "Objective" at the beginning of the document, state something like: "Seeking a Paralegal Position in an Estates Administration and Probate Practice." This will lead you to a second resume that is only substantively different because it has a targeted objective.

Now you have an Estate Administration Paralegal Resume. A third resume might be aimed at a non-law office environment. Who knows? There might be an advertised lead for a "Document Specialist" in a corporation of which you have never remotely heard. This might be the perfect time for a Nontraditional/Alternative Career Resume.

In this case, you might either bring your past experience to the top of the resume or redo your skills summary to reflect experience in a certain industry or service. Some might just redesign an "Objective" that states: "Seeking a Position in a Corporation Utilizing Legal Training and Business Background."

Some people have resumes for general situations, two for special highly desired practice areas, and another based upon a former back ground. The difference may only be slight, but the targeting has a special effect. It says: "I seriously want this special position."

A young graduate of a paralegal program wanted to do an extensive direct mail program after graduation. Latching on to the targeted resume concept, he came up with three resumes. He was very interested in insurance. He figured his youth and education would assist him in gaining a position that could begin a long career in a large industry. He also wanted to pursue the world of real estate, knowing it, too, covered a world of activity. He also wanted to have a resume that could serve his purpose of applying to "any and all" corporations that might have legally related positions that were not specifically termed "paralegal."

The following resumes are targeted. Notice that the Skills section has been "massaged" to point toward the specific area of interest.

His experience is basic and does not change from resume to resume. His education, you will notice, brings out different classes to suit each resume.

He has employed the Objective and the Skills creatively so that the recipient sees phrases and buzz words that relate. This is sometimes the edge that an applicant needs to get called in for an interview. Since this young man was also using these resumes for direct mail programs, he was insuring that his investment in time and money would be most effective.

Ronald Pagliacci --Objective: Paralegal with four-year business degree seeks entry- level position with a corporate, legal, administrative, or compliance department. Education: Texas Paralegal Institute, August 1994. Paralegal Certificate. Curriculum covered commercial law, business organizations, legal research and terminology, civil litigation, legal investigations, and laws and issues related to liability and negligence. University of Northern Texas, B.A. Business Administration, December 1989. Finance emphasis.

Coursework included business law, communication and public relations, accounting, finance, and management.

Relevant Skills:
  • Extensive communication, problem-solving, and human relations skills.
  • Skilled at analyzing and preparing legal and financial reports, forms, and memos.
  • Able to research relevant laws and regulations related to business issues.
  • Familiar with monitoring and tracking pending legislation.
  • Adaptable to new situations, circumstances, and people.
Experience:

Bank Temps Inc., Houston, Texas. Customer service and banking positions, June 1993 to present Western Temporaries; Ft. Worth, Texas. Data entry and customer service positions. March 1993-June 1993 On- Call Temp Services, Dallas, Texas. Data entry and banking positions. October 1992-March 1993 Walgreen's Inc., Sugarland, Texas. Assistant Manager. May 1992~September 1992 Radio Shack, Bellaire, Texas. Salesman. August 1990-May 1992.

References available upon request

Ronald Pagliacci --Objective: Paralegal with four-year business degree seeks entry-level position in real estate or title work. Education: Texas Paralegal Institute, August 1994. Paralegal Certificate --Curriculum covered commercial law, real estate/title, business organizations, legal research and terminology, civil litigation, and legal investigations. University of Northern Texas, B.A. Business Administration, December 1989. Finance emphasis. Coursework included business law, communication and public relations, accounting, finance, and management.

Relevant Skills:
  • Familiar with real estate forms and procedures.* Knowledgeable about researching public records and documents.
  • Skilled at analyzing and preparing legal and financial forms and reports.
  • Able to work independently and process large volumes of work quickly and accurately.
  • Extensive communications and public relations skills.
Experience: Bank Temps Inc., Houston, Texas. Customer service and banking positions, June 1993 to present; Western Temporaries, Ft. Worth, Texas. Data entry and customer service positions. March 1993-June 1993; On- Call Temp Services, Dallas, Texas. Data entry and banking positions. October 1992-March 1993 Walgreen's Inc., Sugarland, Texas. Assistant Manager. May 1992- September 1992 Radio Shack, Bellaire, Texas. Salesman. August 1990-May 1992

References available upon request

Ronald Pagliacci --Objective: Seeking an entry position in the insurance industry. Education: Texas Paralegal Institute, August 1994. Paralegal Certificate--Curriculum covered commercial law, real estate/title, business organizations, legal research and terminology, civil litigation, and legal investigations. University of Northern Texas, B.A. Business Administration, December 1989. Finance emphasis. Coursework included business law, communication and public relations, accounting, finance, and management.

Relevant Skills:
  • Familiar with basic insurance terms and policies.
  • Acquainted with searching public and private records including police, medical, and legal.
  • Knowledgeable about properly handling investigations.
  • Able to research relevant laws, regulations, and cases related to insurance claims and issues,
  • Able to work independently and meet deadlines.
  • Adaptable to new situations, circumstances, and people.
Experience: Bank Temps Inc., Houston, Texas. Customer service and banking positions, June 1993 to present. Western Temporaries, Ft. Worth, Texas. Data entry and customer service positions. March 1993-June 1993. On Call Temp Services, Dallas, Texas. Data entry and banking positions. October 1992-March 1993. Walgreen's Inc., Sugarland, Texas. Assistant Manager. May 1992- September 1992. Radio Shack, Bellaire, Texas. Salesman. August 1990-May 1992.

Update Your Resume as Soon as You Get Work

If you secure temporary, part-time, or contract work in the legal field, before you get a full-time permanent position, you should be to update your resume. What many choose to do is bring the Education Section down to a level below Legal Experience. They lead with experience just obtained and then perhaps insert a paralegal internship underneath it. This is not the only way to handle it, but be certain you update your resume in some way that highlights your new paralegal- related work.

When you update your resume like this, you are showing a viability, ambition, and determination to establish yourself as a paralegal. Some people tend to minimize temporary or part-time or contract experience because it is not their ultimate goal. Minimize it in your mind if you must, but take full advantage of it on your resume.

This advertisement is saying: This person is flexible. This person wants to work. This person is getting valuable experience. Let's take a look.

The rule of thumb for an experienced paralegal is that work background is generally more important than education on a resume. Yes, there are exceptions to all these rules, but experienced paralegals are primarily advertising their professional status. For these individuals, the major shift in the resume is to bring the Education Section down and the Work Experience up to the top of the resume. Remember, vagueness hurts.

When elaborating on the job description, the experienced paralegal needs to use specific sentences that are meaningful to attorneys. If you generalize, you might be perceived to be equivocating or embellishing the truth.

Instead of: "Assisted attorneys with discovery and trial prep"; Use: "Handled witness interviews, deposition summaries, organization of trial exhibits, and indexing of all documents produced."

The first phrase would cause a doubting person to question exactly what you did. Specific descriptions are always better than general ones.

The potential employer may be looking for a certain kind of experience that you have handled. Some interviews are gained on small items that mean the difference between getting called and being overlooked.

Resume Rules of Thumb for the Experienced Paralegal:

1) Be sure everything is accurate and truthful. Legal communities are close-knit and smaller than you might realize. Misrepresentations can kill your chances for an interview.

2) Cover all the experience you had in a certain firm, not just the most recent or most important. You never know what is going to get you an interview, and thus, a job.

3) Use a Reference Sheet. Have three names on your resume that interested parties can call. It is important that you check with people first and be relatively sure that they will give you a glowing reference. If you have had a "difficult parting" with an individual at a firm, try to get a written letter of reference from someone who appreciated your contributions at that same firm.

4) Keep the same high standards you employed with your initial resume. A half-hearted, medium-quality resume does not make experience look better. Experience looks better on a beautifully done written advertisement.

Summary

So, let us take a look at all that your resume must accomplish. It must first stand out, then stand up to scrutiny, then support you in your interview. A resume that looks great but which does not fit you or which misrepresents you is no good at all. In the interview, the whole package comes together; all elements must work harmoniously together in your bio or oral presentation. That is why your cover letters and resumes should hold you in a laudatory light. Your skills, as described in your resume, should all be drawn so that they are describing a potential working professional paralegal.

You use the resume and cover letter as your "script" to show a package that creates a compelling need to hire, as we stated in the chapter on interviewing. It must be a positive, well-considered, edited document from which you can persuasively interview. The resume is your anchor.