What’s Your Brand?

Interview stand out personal brand

Please welcome back Keri Clapp, professor and tutor for the Law School Toolbox and Bar Exam Toolbox, to discuss establishing, developing, and promoting your personal brand in a competitive legal environment.

Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? Lexis or WestLaw? Washington Post or Wall Street Journal? You probably have a quick response to each of these questions based on not just on specific experiences, but also on how you identify the brand of each of these products.

Take coffee, for example. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts both sell coffee, but have distinct and differentiated brand attributes. These successful businesses have spent a lot of time and money deciding on their target customer profile; their marketing efforts—from packaging to product to location—are primarily directed to what that customer base will appreciate. This type of strategy doesn’t get derailed because some people will get coffee at home or at the gas station convenience store; a well-differentiated brand does not try to be all things to all people.

In a competitive legal market, spending some time creating and marketing your personal brand is a strong move. What qualities do you want to project when you meet someone? What attributes do you want to jump out on your resume? In sum, what do you want people to associate with you when they hear your name? [Read more…]

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Looking for Work? 7 Tips for a Remarkable Résumé

Time tickingIt’s no secret that the legal job market is tough these days. If you’re going to stand out, you need a fantastic résumé.

Here are some tips:

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The One Question That Will Improve Any Résumé

Light bulbWe can talk all day about résumé formatting, or what should be included, but there’s really only one question you should be asking (repeatedly) to make your résumé shine for any occasion.

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Make Your Clerkship Application Shine: Résumé

PencilsYour clerkship application résumé will be very similar to the one you used when applying for summer jobs or even for law school. The key difference is that your clerkship résumé should further emphasize your writing and research skills.

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Craft a Law School Application That Gets You In: Sample Résumé Teardown

BulldozerIt’s easy to give general advice about how to make your law school résumé the best it can be. It’s harder to actually do it, right?

Instead of talking generally, I thought it would be helpful to do a résumé teardown for a sample (fictional) law school applicant, so you can see how a humdrum résumé can morph into something pretty impressive!

The Before

Let’s get started. Take a look at Jane Doe’s resume below. It’s not horrible, but it’s basically just a list of all the jobs she’s ever had, with some basic information about her education.

Jane Doe's starting resume

Jane’s starting resume

Before we move on, what would you change?

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Craft a Law School Application That Gets You In: Perfect Your Résumé

TargetAlthough not dissimilar from the résumé you’d prepare for a job search, your law school application résumé should highlight the experiences you’ve had that are most relevant to success in law school and the legal profession. Specifically, focus on leadership, public speaking, and your reading, writing, and analytical skills.

If your college major is in an area where you wouldn’t generally be expected to do a lot of writing, it’s particularly critical to quell any doubts about your ability to handle the close reading and writing workload in law school. Including examples of lengthy, non-technical papers you’ve written can help, as can highlighting coursework that included a heavy reading load.

A Pretty Résumé is an Effective Résumé

Keep in mind that your résumé is an indication of your writing ability. It goes without saying that it needs to be technically perfect. Misspelling and grammatical errors must be avoided. Also think about how it looks. Is the alignment perfect? Have you used bold, underlining, or italics consistently?

Your goal should be to have a résumé that pops when someone glances at it.

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