Six ways to beef up your resume

Cody’s resume barely filled up half a page. Cody had spent the summer after his first year as a lifeguard his local pool. Before law school, he spent his summers earning money to pay for law school, by working in restaurants, at a big box store and as a camp counselor.

Now a second-year, Cody is getting ready to send out his resume for legal internships — but he has no legal experience on his resume. What should he do?

There are several easy ways that Cody — and you — can add some legal experience to quickly beef up a weak resume.

1. Take a leadership position in a law school club: Join or start a club at your law school. Volunteer to be the president or vice president, or take on some other sort of leadership role in the club. This will look great on your resume. Instead of just listing the club, write up a description of what the club does, and your role with it.

2. Register for a legal clinic at your law school: Most law schools now offer several legal clinics where you receive course credit for helping clients and working on cases. In essence, it mirrors having a legal job. You will immediately have legal experience to describe on your resume.

3. Join a legal bar association committee: Most major bar associations have student memberships, and these are often free. You can meet local lawyers, get involved in a committee in a practice area that interests you, and add it to your resume. Feel free to use several lines to describe the committee rather than just listing it.

4. Write for a legal blog or newsletter: Many law schools now run their own student blogs, and they are always looking for contributors. It’s a good way to meet other law students, get a writing credit, and add a publication to your resume.

5. Volunteer for a legal organization: Even as a student, you have opportunities to help clients with pro bono matters. Whether through your law school, or the local legal bar association, there is plenty of need for pro bono work. Although you may not be able to fully represent clients yet, there are plenty of ways to help. On your resume, it will help you demonstrate your legal skills.

6. Become a research assistant for a professor: Did you really connect with a professor during one course, or was his or work particularly interesting? Ask if they could use a research assistant to help with any projects they are working on or books they are writing.

If you choose a few of these ideas, or some of your own, you will find that you are able to add legal skills to your resume in a short amount of time. Before you know it, you may have the problem that many other students have — your resume will be too long!

Want more tips? Check out Hillary's Four ways to make your resume really stand out.


Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students and lawyers about career and admissions issues. She is a director of the pre-law program at Fordham University and author of “Alternative Careers for Lawyers.” You can reach Hillary at