OK, so you’ve finished law school and are putting together a resume. If you’re looking for a career in intellectual property, a strong resume along with an equally good cover letter is your first step to getting your foot in the door of a patent law career.
Obviously, you can look at an attorney sample resume or two to give you an idea. However, without a resume that stands out from the rest, you will not get an interview with the company you want. There are several common mistakes made on a resume that can shatter your chances. Thankfully, these mistakes can be corrected and before you know it, you will have the patent attorney or patent agent career you have been striving and working for.
1. Not Adjusting Your Resume for a Patent Law Career
The biggest mistake that people make is not adjusting their resume if they are switching their choice in careers. If you started out in engineering or in a science field, your old resume may be focused on these fields instead of the patent law field. Only updating your recent work experience is not enough to stand out among other candidates. You will appear unqualified.
You will need to redirect the entire focus of your resume. Your work experience and your education, regardless of what exactly your past experience is, can be spun in a new light. Your work experience from 10 years ago in a differing field does not need to be highlighted on your resume unless you can make the experience relevant to patent law. Every detail on your resume should cater to the career you are searching for.
2. Not Including an Objective
A resume without an objective makes the resume dull and unconvincing to most companies. The objective should be the first thing the company sees when they are viewing your resume. An objective is much more than a list of your related skills. Your objective should state the goal you want to accomplish at the specific company you are applying to. This can range from a simple job title you would like within the company to your future career goals. This tells the company that you are driven and know exactly what you want with your time at their company.
3. Being Long Winded and Using Fluff
Most companies or employers hiring do not take the time to read an entire resume if it is long-winded. If they do not read your entire resume they will miss out on the skills and abilities that can benefit their company. They can better assess your qualities without the distractions of too much wordage.
Keep your sentences short and focused on the impact you had in your past work experiences and your skills. Fluff and filler words will distract the reader. Do not forget to use strong verbs when you describe your relevant skills. Strong verbs stand out from the average; boring verbs that are common on resumes. This builds up your abilities and makes you stand out from the crowd of other candidates.
Imagine sitting and reading dozens of resumes a day which is exactly what they are doing when yours hits their table. They want simple facts including what you can bring to their company.
4. How You List Your Education and Work Experiences
Believe it or not, how you list your education and work experience matters a great deal. You want your strongest qualities to be listed for the reader first.
If you have just graduated from college, you’re going to want to list your education before you list your work experience. Include your GPA as long as it is over 3.0 and you can even throw in your extracurricular activities that included leadership roles. Also, include any law-related publications you may have written during your time at college. If you attended a fantastic law school, then always list your education first and foremost.
If you have been working in the patent law field for a few years, you should list your work experience first, over your education. You should always list your most recent employment first.
5. Not Including Non-Paying Legal Experience
If you are lacking in paid positions in the patent legal field and lacking in work experience in general, do not be afraid to throw in any non-paying legal experiences you have had in the legal field. This is still considered work experience, paid or not. Unpaid work can be included on any resume for any job. You still learned new abilities and developed your skills at these places so do not be shy about including them on your resume.
6. Forgetting to Update Your Information
Always double check the phone numbers of past employers. The company may want to call and speak to your old employer to learn more about you and your capabilities. They are not able to hear your past employer bragging about you if the number changed two years ago and you did not take the time to update it. This also includes your personal information from your phone number to your email. If you are working off an old resume, do not forget to update all information that has changed since you made the original.
7. Not Proofreading
There is nothing that screams unprofessional as much as a spelling mistake or a typo on your resume. Take the time to re-read and edit your resume a few times for perfection. After you have taken the time to proofread it, do not be afraid to pass it off to a friend or family member to read through your resume themselves to catch any mistakes. After working on a resume for a long time, your brain is too close to the project and may not see every error.
Turn in a Polished Resume to Get Your Dream Job
A fantastic resume is essential to proceed with your patent law career to help you stand out from other candidates wanting the same success you want. This does not have to be a horrible and difficult ordeal that leads to pulling out your hair. With just a few adjustments and checks, you can produce a resume that is out of this world and have your skills shine through to the employer.