Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Need a Resume Boost? . . Take a CLE

As I've indicated on many occasions here, and on Twitter, I am a big proponent of students participating in both substantive and social activities in a local bar association.  Cliche though it may be. . "if you want to fish, go where the fish are" certainly applies to law students vis-a-vis local bar association participation.

One way that a law student can benefit from a local bar association is by the taking of a "practice area specific" Continuing Legal Education program. . . . How's that work? . . .

. . .Say, that you have always had an interest in Environmental Law (just using this as an example. Substitute your area of interest here) and would love to get an internship in that area either this coming summer, or the next. But, you have never taken a course in this area, or those courses are not yet open to you at the moment.  What can you do to become "resume ready?"

Look around to your local bar associations (both city and state) to see if there is a CLE available in Environmental Law (if you are lucky, the bar association in your jurisdiction will not charge a fee to students for enrolling. If they do, you bit the bullet and pay). Take the course, then put it into the "Education" heading of your resume. Now you have the experience that you need. Plus, it will set up your cover letter perfectly:

..... as you can see from my resume, I have a distinct interest in Environmental Law and have already taken a substantive course in this area. . . . 

If I'm an employer reading  that letter and reviewing the attached resume, I see a law student who has gone above and beyond what is required. . I would want to hire such a student!

Maybe it doesn't always work out like that, however, students still needs to think "out of the box" and figure out ways to distinguish and separate themselves from other students.

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It's not only the substantive programming, but the socializing that would also be important to law students. Go to the meetings of the Environmental Law group. When the bar has an "event" say a golf outing, why not volunteer to help drive the carts, set up and "man" (or woman) a stand. How about being a caddie? You might even be able to finance your way through law school, right?  . . take a look and see how it's done:

Then again, probably not. 

But the real point is that -- through participation and activity in a local bar association -- and its many events, a law student can also put him/herself in proximity to the very lawyers that can either provide a summer job experience, or know someone who can. 

Keep the bar association in mind, to sharpen your resume through CLE participation, or to get the "lay of the land" for your next job. 


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