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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What are memorandums? Frequent Resume Mistakes and Questions

During the Fall Recruitment Season our office receives many resume questions and requests for critiques. From our experience, below are the most frequent resume errors and questions.

Juris Doctor or Juris Doctorate?
When you receive your diploma from New England Law it will say that you received a "Juris Doctor degree." Thus, we advise all students to list their degree as "Juris Doctor" instead of "Juris Doctorate."

Memorandum and Memoranda
If you drafted one memo, refer to it as a memorandum. If you drafted more than one memo, refer to them as memoranda. The use of memo and memos is considerably less formal and there is no such word as "memorandums".

Words Not Caught Bye Spellcheck
We all know that spellcheck is not perfect. It may want to turn your Juris Doctor into a Jurist Doctor and it does not catch misuse of homonyms (i.e. bye instead of by) . It will also miss those misspellings that also happen to be words. Below are a couple of frequent errors we find on student resumes:
Trail instead of Trial
Complied instead of Compiled
...and Public without the "l" is a completely different word and probably not one you'd like to have on your resume!

Spellcheck can be great, but please remember to have one or two others look over your resume for those errors that spellcheck may not find.

Listing your Clinic and Study Abroad Program
Your clinic should be listed under your legal experience section. Ask the clinical office for information about how to list your job description and job title.

You may list your study abroad two ways: either as a subsection under your school section or as a separate school. Here are two examples:

New England School of Law, Boston, MA
Candidate for Juris Doctor, May 2010
Study Abroad: National University of Ireland, Program in International and Comparative Human Rights Law, Galway, Ireland, Summer 2008
National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Study Abroad Program in International and
Human Rights Comparative Law, Summer 2008

Listing Publications
Publications should be listed as a subsection under your school like so:

Subsidize Housing and HUD Projects: Economic Confinement on Low-Income Families, New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement, Volume 31, Winter 2004-2005

If you do not yet know the publication date, write Publication Pending where you would normally list the volume and issue.

One page or two?
Your resume should be one page. The only exception to this rule is if you have five years or more of professional work experience between college and starting law school.

But I have a lot of experience and it won't fit onto one page!
Try the following:
  1. Make your margins smaller. Adjust your margins to at least .5" on each side.
  2. Make your font size smaller. The smallest your font size can be is 10 points.
  3. List your address on one line running across the page.
It is still going onto a second page.
Send it to us! The career counselors in the CSO are well versed in the tricks to the trade as to how to get a resume onto one page. We are always here to help. Please feel free to email your resume to to be reviewed by a counselor.

For more tips on how to write the perfect legal resume, read the resume section of our handbook!

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