Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: What Your Resume Must Do and Don’t

Recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds on a resume (Ladders Report, 2018)—that means you’ve got precious seconds to stand out from the crowd. Resumes that pop have several common elements that get the top law firm’s attention.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter TM .001

Design a simple layout, that is easy to read. “Resumes are like a plate of food, I instantly decide whether it’s worth considering. If it hurts my eyes to read, I’m not going to bother,” says Shari Davidson—President of On Balance Search.

Make sure your resume covers the basics:

  • Focus on creating clearly-marked sections with job titles and descriptions that are concise, memorable and to the point.
  • Use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments.
  • Provide a detailed overview or mission statement at the top of the resume.
  • The top third of your resume is about as much as any recruiter will scan.
  • Quantify your results, provide statistics that add value to your experience.
  • The voice of your resume must always be in the 3rd Never use “I”.
  • Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors.
  • Keep it to one page.

It’s all about clearly communicating your skills and accomplishments succinctly and cogently. “A great resume is easy to digest,” says Shari Davidson. 

Final Thoughts

  • Use a simple layout and font. Select a font that has ample white-space that reads well on both the computer screen and in print. There are several fonts that are considered the best to use. Consider any of the following fonts: Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial, Book Antiqua, and Trebuchet MS.
  • Don’t Clutter the resume with too much information. If you’ve got a lot of great experience, the second page better warrant reading on.
  • When using numbers, don’t spell the number out. Numerical data stands out, number are more memorable and significant to the reader.
  • Keywords do matter, just make sure you don’t use them excessively and that they read well within the context of the description.

And please note that the Summary is not an Objective. There are three key elements for the Summary Statement:

  • what you want,
  • your specific skill set
  • and your accomplishments.

Not sure about what to say and how to say it? Talk to a top recruiter. You’ll be glad you did.

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About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.

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