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Old 07-22-11, 11:34 AM   #1
I_like_cereal
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Need to update my resume. Anyone have ideas on how?

Here is my resume and it needs a little love. I would appreciate any suggestions.


Name
Address
Email

OBJECTIVE: Position as a Legal Assistant that will utilize my computer knowledge, strong people skills, organizational abilities, and business experience.

SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
Working knowledge of Civil rules, State and Federal
Working knowledge of the Longshore Act
Database/File management
Detail oriented
Strongly organized
Client focused

EDUCATION
Paralegal Studies, June 2007 GPA: 3.5/4.0
Focus on general areas of law

Basic and Advanced Mediation Training 90+ hours December 2007
State Certified Mediator; specific focus in small claims and interpersonal conflict

Major: Architecture, Minor: Philosophy, Continuing GPA: 3.0/4.0
Specialization: Deconstructionist Philosophy
University

COMPUTER SKILLS
Platforms: Windows 3.1/95/98/NT/XP; Mac 10.1 10.5
Software: Acrobat, E-Copy, Dragon, Outlook, Office 2007, Needles, Google Docs, Open Office, and others.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Office Assistant, Portland, OR, June 2007 present
The Law Offices of
Answer multi-line phone
Draft pleadings and other papers
Ordering/Reviewing medical records
Supply maintenance
Paperless and paper filing
Daily mail delivery and organization
File opening/closing

Intern Attorney Esq., Portland, OR, November 2006 June 2007
The Law Office of
Draft correspondence

Intern, Attorney Esq., Portland, OR November 2006 June 2007
The Law Office of
Deposition and Transcript summations

Various Culinary Positions, 1998 2006
Management of employees
Multi-Tasking
Money management
Monthly goal attainment
Organization
Catering

ACTIVITIES
Volunteer with Mediation Department
Volunteer with County Mediation Department

Basically the office that I work at has three employees. Myself and two paralegals and the requisite attorney. My job is simple. I do everything that the paralegals cannot get to or do not have the time to devote to. In short if the paralegal cannot get to it it becomes my responsibility. I open/close files, order supplies, order client records, transcribe, file electronically, file paper, file with the courts electronically and paper, I have served process, run errands, setup mock jury (sometimes on a 72 hour notice), organized catering for events, researched international banking law, legal research, draft pleadings and letters, etc... You get the idea.

I really have more to offer than my resume puts on. I have a cover letter but from what I understand most people do not read them so even if I put a majority of what I have done/can do/do in the cover letter it won't show on the resume.

I have been in the same job for almost 5 years. I had a previous job shortly after I graduated school, but I had to leave after I noticed and was made to take part in some unethical activity. Not to mention the pay was horrible compared to the responsibility. I was only there for 2 or 3 months so I am not listing that on my resume. Being in the legal field I do not want to appear like a snitch so I want to cover that up if I can which is why I left so fast.

Anyway TIA for any help.
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Old 07-22-11, 02:32 PM   #2
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random thoughts:

1) database/file management- which database programs?
2) was paralegal studies a certificate program? where? I would recite any degrees or certificates
3) mediation training, was this a cert. program?
4) State certified mediator, put this ahead of the basic/advanced training?
5) remove windows 3.1/95/98/NT platforms
6) Dragon, should this be Dragon Naturally Speaking? I would at least qualify it as speech recognition
7) under office assistant, I would put answering phone, supply maintenance, and mail delivery towards the end of the list, put your fancy skills up front.
8) you might consider dropping the culinary work experience? perhaps others disagree. Doesn't seem as relevant to the legal work
9) You could mention "prior work experience available upon request"

Are you still in school for architecture?

Last edited by black_box; 07-22-11 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 07-22-11, 02:41 PM   #3
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I always leave out my objective and have a cover letter instead. I was told objectives were too vague. I guess it's different for everyone.
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Old 07-22-11, 02:56 PM   #4
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No. I would love to go back, but physics killed me. I took 101 6 times and never got above a D. Even with tutoring. Guess next time I should make sure the college I go to does not specialize in cranking out Physics doctors and masters.
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Old 07-22-11, 02:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ____asdfghjkl View Post
I always leave out my objective and have a cover letter instead. I was told objectives were too vague. I guess it's different for everyone.
I agree it can be either way. I am not really married to it, I keep it because most people throw out the cover letter so it is nice to have it at the top.
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Old 07-22-11, 07:11 PM   #6
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The resume seems rather run-of-the-mill. Is there anything in particular you did with one of your skill sets that stands out? Maybe streamlined an office procedure or came up with a more efficient supply ordering system?

Did you actually use the mediation with some clients or did you just complete the training? If you have used it, put it on the resume.

"Draft pleadings and other papers" - did you write these and they were reviewed by the lawyers? If so, I would put "Drafted pleadings and other papers for review by lawyers" or something so that it shows you did the initial work and didn't just copy a form letter.

How may employees did you manage?
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Old 07-22-11, 07:31 PM   #7
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I've never worked for a law firm, but I would still list the short employment on your resume. It gives you talking points on why you only worked there for a short time. Being an ethical person reflects a lot on your character. If the interviewer does not appreciate that, you probably don't want to work there anyway. Covering up part of your work history seems dishonest to me.
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Old 07-25-11, 11:40 AM   #8
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I took a long hard look at my resume with your suggestions and reformatted it:

Name
Address
Email address
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS:

- Mediated small claims and community conflicts
- Draft Pleadings for review by the attorney
- Draft Correspondence for review by the attorney
- Civil Court filing
- Federal Court e-filing
- Computer Support - server and workstation
- Draft Federal forms for review by the attorney
- Prepare and Answer Discovery Requests
- Westlaw Legal Research
- Scanning internal/external documents
- Medical record review
- Library filing and maintenance
- Implemented a system of electronically storing mail.
- Implemented a triple redundancy system to located closed files.
- Client Service
- Multi-line Phone
- Vendor assessment
- Working knowledge of 33 U.S.C. Title 33
- Working knowledge of Civil Rules
- Working knowledge of Federal Rules
- Working knowledge of DOL agency rules
- Supply maintenance
- Mail processing/distribution
- Managed up to 15 employees
- Opening/Closing files
- Organized and maintained a closed file database management system using Xcel.
- Implemented a system using Outlook to retrieve electronically stored incoming mail.
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE:

Office Assistant, Esq., Portland, OR, June 2007 – present
The Law Offices of

Intern – , Esq., Portland, OR, November 2006 – June 2007
The Law Office of
• Draft correspondence

Contract Intern - , Esq., November 2006 – June 2007
The Law Office of
• Deposition and Transcript summations
EDUCATION:

Certificate in Paralegal Studies, June 2007 GPA: 3.5/4.0
Focus on general areas of law
Sate Certified Mediator December 2009
Basic and Advanced Mediation 90+ hours December 2007
Major: Architecture, Minor: Philosophy, Continuing GPA: 3.0/4.0
Specialization: Deconstructionist Philosophy
Montana State University – Bozeman, Bozeman, MT

COMPUTER SKILLS:

Platforms: Windows XP, Mac 10.1 – 10.5
Software: Adobe Acrobat, E-Copy, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Outlook, Office 2007, Needles, Google Docs, Open Office, and others.

The top qualifications are in two rows on my resume.
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Old 07-25-11, 12:00 PM   #9
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Under Qualifications: combine similar qualifications into 1 line (ie, draft pleadings, correspondence & court filings for review by attorney), sum up all the computer stuff into something short & to the point - like "electronic office organization" - you have to assume any lawyer hiring you has half a brain! Also, spend some time with Windows 7 so you can add that to list, likewise Office 10. That's what they use! Lose the minutae - opening & closing files? e-mail? mail distribution? supply maintenance? Multi-line phone? applying to be a receptionist? Vendor assessment? applying to be an office manager? Stay focused on the paralegal aspects, if that's the job you're after.
Under education: just put that you have a BA (or whatever) from MSU, add where your cetificates are from.
Under Computer skills: move all your computer abilities to this area, emphasis on legal software familiarity and CURRENT software skills.

good luck!
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Old 07-25-11, 12:46 PM   #10
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@apclassic9:
I agree with most of your post and am looking back at the resume.

A majority of the ads do want experience with multi-line phones. I guess people do not know how to use them. Windows 7 and Office 2010 are pretty new. Most offices, unless they are large, would not have completely switched out yet due to compatibility issues with other back office software like Time Matters or Sanction. I never assume the lawyer has a "brain". The lawyer brain is geared to one task usually and it all depends on when and where they get hit with a question as to how it is answered. Some can multi-task on projects and some can multi-task on multiple projects. Others, sadly, cannot and will not do this.

I have used Windows 7 and I hate it. Much prefer Mac and XP.

My qualifications were done as more of a shotgun. I do all this stuff now. Not sure why anyone would not to know these things.

Thanks your post was helpful.
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Old 07-25-11, 02:28 PM   #11
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no prob - one of the schools I work with has a "legal clerical office" certificate which covers all that office-type stuff, which, I think, is NOT what you want to focus on. I understand that many paralegal gigs include a lot of office/clerical/secretarial type stuff, but you shouldn't focus on that in your resume for a paralegal position... save your super-human office abilities for the interview!
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Old 07-25-11, 02:35 PM   #12
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As a law firm IT tech, we are finding most smaller offices are already on Windows 7 and Office 2010. It is the large firms (such as the main one I work for) that are still on XP and 2003. The thought of migrating all 500 of our PCs over to 7 and 2010 is *shudder* daunting.

However, a lot of the smaller offices we do business with (and one we just combined with) are already on 7 and 2010.
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Old 07-25-11, 03:10 PM   #13
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The people in the legal business in America could fill a small country.Recent murder trials have put cities/counties on the verge of bankruptcy.

If you can't find a job in this industry you have no pulse.

Do they still raise the skull+crossbones flag on top of their office buildings?
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Old 07-25-11, 03:36 PM   #14
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As a law firm IT tech, we are finding most smaller offices are already on Windows 7 and Office 2010. It is the large firms (such as the main one I work for) that are still on XP and 2003. The thought of migrating all 500 of our PCs over to 7 and 2010 is *shudder* daunting.

However, a lot of the smaller offices we do business with (and one we just combined with) are already on 7 and 2010.
Interesting. We are sticking with XP for a couple of reasons. One 7 is too new, and two XP is really stable almost as stable as NT 3.xx. 2010 Office did not look as if there were many improvements so I do not think we will be upgrading unless there is something earth shattering.

@ap: I do not interview well so your line about superhuman abilities for the interview. I will file that away. Thanks.

@spry: I can tell you do not like lawyers. Well I work in a niche area of law that helps INJURED or squashed (dead) harbor workers. I also work with a new lawyer that recently graduated. She cannot get an interview in this part of the world. Don't get me wrong. If you want to sell your soul there are plenty of places out there, but the burn out rate is so high for soul selling it just is not worth it.

Everyone's responses have been helpful. I am off to tinker a little more and see what pops out. Thanks
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