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Resume Overkill

By Linda Green Pierce

Nearly everything written about resume design concentrates on what you should put in your document. Let's look at what should be left out, or at least minimized.

1. Salary history and requirements. I've never determined a good reason to mention your salary. If you see a classified advertisement that indicates, "Only resumes with salary history will be considered," don't believe it. If your resume is strong and a match to the listed criteria, you will be contacted. Once contacted, be forthright with your information.

2. References. If you have high-impact or well-known references, fine... Otherwise, leave them off. Leave off the phrase, "References available upon request." This goes without saying as you certainly wouldn't refuse to provide them.

3. Superfluous materials. When submitting a resume, avoid enclosing such items as your photo, diplomas, transcripts or writing samples (unless specifically requested by an employer or recruiter, as they often are for junior lawyers), Law Review articles or letters of recommendation. These are props you can use effectively during your interview, but should not be provided beforehand unless requested specifically.

4. Personal information. Leave out everything here but the absolute essentials. Typically a lawyer's resume does not contain "Married, two children, willing to relocate, excellent health." If the position requires relocation, you can indicate your willingness to relocate in your cover material. Excellent health is another one of those "it goes without saying" entries and should not be on a resume. You can list interesting or unusual travels, volunteer activities or experiences, but care should be taken that you don't leave the impression you'd rather be involved in these activities than in work.

The greater the relevancy between your resume and the needs of the employer, the more seriously you'll be considered. Say what you need to get the position and no more.