4 tips for legal consultants for an amazing resume
By Tina De Maere – October 19, 2022
In the past, people have dared to make the claim that lawyers are good at everything except for maths. In some cases, that stereotype is true, but there’s another obstacle which makes lawyers stumble way more often than mathematics: clear communication.
This is all the more true for lawyers who decide to start working as a freelance legal consultant. Suddenly, they find themselves in a whole new world in which clients demand a clear, simple explanation, instead of a complex text laced with all sorts of unnecessary references to legal acts and contributions. This already shows when they try making up a resume.
To increase your chances of hauling in the legal job of your dreams, we give you four tips for a resume which makes you stand out from all the other legal interim consultants and managers.
Legal consultants: write with your target audience in mind
When writing your resume as a legal consultant, try to keep in mind to whom the information is addressed. In other words: who is your target audience?
Law firms often value the academic qualifications and legal publications of the applicant. Businesses who hire legal consultants, on the other side, do so because of the practical knowledge and communication skills of the applicant. The “personal touch” of a legal interim is equally important, because interim consultants become a real part of the enterprise, even though their assignments are only temporary.
In other words, as a legal consultant, don’t include an endless list of academic publications in your resume. The same goes for a full report on your career as a lawyer: businesses don’t care for that information too much. Instead, try focussing on your management skills, your experience as a legal interim consultant and your language skills.
Layout: highlight your experience als legal counsel
The layout of your resume is always the first thing that catches the eye of the reader. Try to use a large, easily readable font, multiple subheadings and maybe even some symbols and columns. Filling up the background and important parts of your document with light colours or bold letters might also increase its readability.
Additionally, it might be a good idea to highlight the most important information by putting it on the first page of your resume. As explained above, companies tend to value your experience as a legal consultant and your management skills more than a list of all your master’s degrees and
academic publications. Spread out the other information on multiple pages instead of cramming everything on a single sheet.
Finally, contacting an expert in graphic design for the final touch of your resume might be worth considering.
Content: less is more for freelance legal consultants
Consultants often walk a tightrope when trying to figure out how much information they should add to their resume. Yet, a short summary of your work experience is usually better than rambling on for 18 pages with superfluous information.
In other words: keep it short and simple. It’s not necessary to give a full and detailed overview of your whole career as a lawyer or legal consultant. Resumes that consist of more than 5 pages are easily skipped or merely skimmed through. Try to give a short explanation of your previous experiences and fields of expertise. Further information can always be provided orally during a job interview or an introductory meeting.
Lastly, as a legal consultant, always write your resume in English. Interim consultants engage with enterprises all over the world. It is way more efficient to make one copy in English than multiple copies in Dutch, French or even German.
The ultimate tip: a freelance legal consultant is an excellent communicator
One of the most important qualities a freelance legal consultant must have, is to be able to translate complex legal information into a manageable text for laymen. After all, way more often than lawyers, interim consultants engage with people who have little or no legal background. Decent communication skills are therefore essential, as to make sure that all workers can understand what is expected of them.
A well-structured resume is a first hint to companies that you do in fact possess those skills as a freelance legal consultant. If you’re not able to draft a readable resume, enterprises will get the impression that communicating clearly is not one of your greatest strengths. With our tips, you’ll already be taking two steps into the right direction.
Lastly, websites like CANVA might be useful tools to start with.
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