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5 Resume Writing Tips for Legal Secretaries
After identifying the keywords and skills you can offer to hiring companies, you can use these five tips to put together a top-notch resume.
1. Start with a strong summary
The first and most important paragraph of your resume is called your resume summary. This may be the only paragraph a potential employer checks before moving on to the next applicant. Take the opportunity to make an impression by summarizing your skills and experience effectively.
Good legal secretary resume samples begin with robust summaries, explaining how the applicant will solve the law firm’s problems. Mention how long you’ve been a legal secretary, your primary duties at previous employers, and any relevant skills or certifications. After reading your summary, the hiring manager should understand what you have to offer and why you’re a great candidate.
For example, “Experienced legal secretary looking for the opportunity to leverage experience paralegal and secretarial industries at Brown LLP. 7+ years of secretarial experience includes supporting an office with four attorneys, implementing a paperless file storage system, and cutting costs by 17%.”
Keep your opening paragraph short. Two to three sentences are more than enough to sum up your experience and include relevant legal secretary resume keywords.
2. List common skills for legal secretaries
Legal secretaries need to balance the demands of the legal world on top of normal secretarial duties like greeting visitors and managing the phones. Hiring attorneys look for specific legal secretary skills, types of experience, and other qualifications when sorting through applicants. Listing your relevant knowledge and skills in a single place makes it easy for them to scan your resume and find what they’re looking for.
It’s also a good idea to customize your skills list for every job application. Older attorneys may still rely heavily on fax machines and paper documents, while younger offices may be entirely digital. Focusing on the skills the hiring team lists in the job posting makes your resume more likely to get through the filters and into the hands of the hiring team.
3. Use action words
Specificity is vital in resumes. When you have just a page to explain why you’re perfect for the job, every word counts. Focus on active voice and action words when you can. Don’t use words that are generic or boring.
For example, instead of saying you “took part” in a project, explain what specific contributions you made. Some legal secretary resume examples of phrasing include saying you “organize” files, “support” attorneys, and “develop” procedures. Using these specific verbs instead of generic words gives hiring managers a better idea of what you have done for your previous employers.
Avoid generic terms like:
- Take part
- Responsible for
Instead, use action verbs that are relevant to secretarial work, like:
4. Highlight relevant certifications
While legal secretaries don’t need to have any specific training to do their jobs, many have experience in legal fields. If you have experience as a paralegal or certificates in secretarial or legal research and writing work, highlight this on your resume.
The simplest way to put the spotlight on your certificates is to give them their own section. By separating them from your education section, you make it clear to hiring managers that you’re continuing to learn and grow. Not only does this give you the chance to let your accomplishments shine, but it’s also another way to include relevant legal secretary resume keywords.
5. Make Your Professional Experience Clear
The easiest way to display your experience is to use clean, quantifiable language. List your position titles, the firms for which you worked, and the dates you worked there. Then list your responsibilities and achievements according to their relevance to your job application.
If you aren’t sure what’s worth including, put yourself in the hiring attorneys’ shoes. They’re trying to solve the problem of an organized office. What have you done to solve that problem in the past?
- Did you save past employers time and effort?
- Did you find ways to save money?
- Did you implement new, more efficient filing systems?
Highlight any of these accomplishments and include quantifiable data when you can. A legal secretary who’s saved a previous employer hundreds of non-billable hours is an exciting prospect. When you can provide specific examples of how you helped your past employers on your legal secretary resume, you have a strong argument for why you’re worth hiring.