Alternative Legal Careers and Your Legal Job Search: Transitioning Your Legal Resume to Non-Legalese
o you have more questions than answers? You are not alone. The lawyers with quasi-legal, alternative legal and non-legal careers are here to help. Literally.
Questions: How can I make my legal resume look like a non-legal resume and should I?
Yes, you must.
Translate your legal experience and determine your transferrable skills.
I knew I did not want to practice law before I attended law school. I loved the academics of law and I enjoy being a member of the club, of the network of people whose minds were trained to work like mine, and yes…those who suffered through the Bar exam.
As lawyers we all must do our due diligence. But we must also do our research. Think they mean the same thing? They can. When approaching an alternative legal career you must think about your transferrable skills and what your legal skills mean in non-legalese.
Step 1: Translate. Translate your legal resume into English. Save that document. Then translate that into the language of your target industry:
If you "worked closely with senior associates and partners," in English you "worked with senior management," or whatever term the target industry uses.
If you "reviewed documents for conflicts and relevancy and trained incoming lawyers," in English you "reviewed ___(#) of documents for critical details and trained new staff on systems and procedures."
Step 2: Transferrable Skills. What do you do as a lawyer? Read documents, go to court, revise contracts, and conduct commercial real estate closings?
In the real world, you read documents, speak publicly, conduct business with adversaries, edit documents, and form relationships with individuals and businesses while working to reach the goals of all parties.
Do not forget about format. Different industries have different rules. Do your due diligence, find out as much as possible about your target industry and make your resume look and sound like you belong there.