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Should I Mention a Non-legal Job on My Attorney Resume?

published June 12, 2024

By Author - LawCrossing

( 177 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.


I was laid off during the downturn, and have been working a non-legal job for a number of months while trying to find something new. Should I put it on my resume or not?

Should you mention a non-legal job on your attorney resume?




As an attorney, crafting a compelling resume is crucial to landing the right job. One common dilemma many lawyers face is whether to include non-legal jobs on their resumes. This question arises because, on the surface, it might seem like non-legal work experience is irrelevant. However, there are nuanced considerations to keep in mind. This article delves into the pros and cons, provides guidance on how to present non-legal jobs effectively, and offers tips to ensure your resume stands out.


Should You Mention a Non-legal Job on Your Attorney Resume?


Understanding the Relevance of Non-legal Jobs


Highlighting Transferable Skills


Non-legal jobs often provide valuable transferable skills that are beneficial in the legal field. Skills such as communication, problem-solving, project management, and leadership can be gleaned from various roles and are highly valued in legal practice.


Showing a Diverse Skill Set


Including non-legal jobs can demonstrate your diverse skill set and versatility. This can make you appear well-rounded and adaptable, qualities that are attractive to employers.


Filling Employment Gaps


If there are gaps in your legal employment history, non-legal jobs can help fill these gaps. This shows continuous employment and a proactive approach to building your career.


Pros of Including Non-legal Jobs


Demonstrating a Strong Work Ethic


Non-legal jobs can illustrate a strong work ethic and a willingness to take on different types of work, which can be appealing to employers.


Building a Unique Personal Brand


Your unique career journey, including non-legal jobs, can help you stand out from other candidates. It can show your unique perspective and experiences.


Networking Opportunities


Non-legal positions may have provided you with valuable networking opportunities. Highlighting these can show your ability to build and maintain professional relationships.


Cons of Including Non-legal Jobs


Potential Irrelevance


Some non-legal jobs might appear irrelevant to the legal field and could distract from your qualifications as an attorney.


Cluttering Your Resume


Including too many non-legal jobs can clutter your resume, making it harder for employers to quickly see your legal qualifications and experience.


Perceived Lack of Focus


Listing multiple non-legal jobs might give the impression that you lack focus or commitment to the legal profession.


When to Include Non-legal Jobs


Relevance to Legal Skills


Include non-legal jobs that provided you with skills directly applicable to your legal career. For example, roles in project management, research, writing, or any leadership position can be highly relevant.


Short Employment Gaps


If the non-legal job was during a short employment gap in your legal career, it's worth including to show continuous employment.


Early Career Jobs


If you are early in your legal career and have limited legal experience, non-legal jobs can showcase your overall work experience and readiness to work hard.


How to Present Non-legal Jobs Effectively


Focus on Transferable Skills


When describing your non-legal job, focus on the skills and experiences that are transferable to the legal field. Highlight achievements and responsibilities that align with the skills required for an attorney.


Be Concise


Keep descriptions of non-legal jobs concise and to the point. Emphasize the aspects most relevant to the legal profession.


Use a Functional Resume Format


Consider using a functional resume format that emphasizes skills over chronological work history. This allows you to group relevant skills and experiences together, making it easier to highlight transferable skills from non-legal jobs.


Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out


Customize Your Resume for Each Job


Tailor your resume for each job application. Highlight the most relevant experiences and skills for each specific role.


Include a Strong Professional Summary


Start with a strong professional summary that outlines your legal expertise, key skills, and what you bring to the table.


Highlight Key Achievements


Whether from legal or non-legal jobs, highlight key achievements that demonstrate your skills and impact.


Use Keywords


Use industry-specific keywords that align with the job description to help your resume get noticed by applicant tracking systems (ATS).


Keep It Clean and Professional


Ensure your resume is clean, professional, and free of typos or errors. Use a consistent format and professional language.




Including non-legal jobs on your attorney resume can be a strategic move if done thoughtfully. Focus on highlighting transferable skills, filling employment gaps, and demonstrating a diverse skill set. By presenting non-legal jobs effectively, you can create a compelling resume that showcases your unique qualifications and stands out to potential employers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How can non-legal jobs enhance my attorney resume?


Non-legal jobs can enhance your attorney resume by showcasing transferable skills, filling employment gaps, and demonstrating a diverse skill set.


Q: Should I include part-time or temporary non-legal jobs?


Include part-time or temporary non-legal jobs if they provided relevant skills or helped fill employment gaps.


Q: How do I highlight transferable skills from non-legal jobs?


Focus on the responsibilities and achievements in your non-legal jobs that required skills like communication, leadership, problem-solving, and project management.


Q: Is it better to use a functional resume format for including non-legal jobs?


A functional resume format can be beneficial as it emphasizes skills over chronological work history, making it easier to highlight transferable skills.


Q: How do I address employment gaps on my resume?


Address employment gaps by including relevant non-legal jobs and explaining how these roles helped you build valuable skills.


Q: What should I avoid when including non-legal jobs on my resume?


Avoid listing too many non-legal jobs that clutter your resume or appear irrelevant to the legal field. Focus on jobs that highlight transferable skills and experiences.


Q: How do younger attorneys contribute to a law firm's success?


Younger attorneys contribute by bringing fresh perspectives, technological proficiency, and a willingness to adopt innovative practices. Their adaptability and eagerness to learn can drive efficiency and introduce new ways of solving legal challenges.


Q: What are some effective mentorship strategies for young lawyers?


Effective mentorship strategies include regular check-ins, setting clear goals, providing constructive feedback, and offering opportunities for hands-on learning. Pairing young attorneys with experienced mentors who can guide them through complex cases and career development is also crucial.


Q: Is it beneficial for law firms to invest in technology training for younger attorneys?


Yes, investing in technology training is highly beneficial. It ensures younger attorneys are adept at using the latest legal technologies, which can improve case management, research efficiency, and client communication. This investment also aligns with the growing importance of technology in the legal field.


Q: How can law firms ensure younger attorneys feel valued and engaged?


Law firms can ensure younger attorneys feel valued and engaged by providing clear career advancement opportunities, recognizing their contributions, offering professional development programs, and maintaining an inclusive and supportive work environment.


Q: What role does work-life balance play in retaining younger attorneys?


Work-life balance is critical in retaining younger attorneys. Offering flexible work arrangements, promoting a healthy work environment, and respecting personal time can significantly enhance job satisfaction and loyalty, reducing turnover rates.


Q: How do younger attorneys handle the stress of demanding legal work?


Younger attorneys can handle stress by employing effective time management strategies, seeking mentorship and support from colleagues, engaging in regular physical activity, and practicing mindfulness or other stress-reducing techniques. Law firms can support them by providing resources and fostering a positive work culture.


Q: What are the common career aspirations of younger attorneys?


Common career aspirations of younger attorneys include achieving partnership status, specializing in a specific area of law, building a reputation for expertise, and maintaining a balanced and fulfilling personal and professional life. They also often seek opportunities for continuous learning and professional development.


Q: How do law firms balance the integration of younger attorneys with the needs of experienced staff?


Law firms balance this integration by fostering a collaborative culture, encouraging knowledge sharing, and ensuring that both younger and experienced attorneys have opportunities to contribute and grow. Structured mentorship programs and team-building activities can also help bridge the gap between different experience levels.


Q: What are the key skills law firms look for in younger attorneys?


Key skills include strong analytical and research abilities, excellent written and verbal communication, proficiency with legal technology, problem-solving capabilities, and the ability to work well in a team. Law firms also value a proactive attitude, adaptability, and a commitment to professional ethics.


Q: How important is diversity in hiring younger attorneys?


Diversity is extremely important as it brings varied perspectives, fosters creativity, and enhances problem-solving within the firm. Diverse teams can better represent and understand the diverse client base they serve, leading to more effective and empathetic legal practice.

See the following articles for more information:

( 177 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.