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How to Write a Winning Resume for an Entry-Level Paralegal

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It is not necessary for a person to have special training or education in order to work as a paralegal. Many people learn while on the job. Some attorneys, particularly solo practices and small firms, are willing to give would-be paralegal candidates who lack a lot of experience an entry-level chance. The first step to finding such an employer is to write a winning resume for the position.

Decide whether or not you wish to pursue paralegal certification. There are many certification programs offered by schools and institutions across the country. While it is not necessary to have a paralegal certificate, it can be an effective way to show attorneys that you are committed to the paralegal career path.

Take stock of your work history. All legal work experience, in any capacity, will enhance an entry-level paralegal resume. Administrative work experience is also favorable.

Consider volunteering your time at a legal aid office in your area. This service provides low-cost legal assistance to people in a variety of law areas. You can gain real-world experience in the field and network with attorneys and other professionals who may have a need for a paralegal.

Call two supervisors with whom you have previous work experience and tell them you are seeking a job as a paralegal. Ask them if they will give a positive reference regarding your work habits to potential employers.

Format your resume in a professional manner. Do not use cursive fonts and illegible type sizes. When you print copies, use white or cream-bonded cotton/linen paper.

Begin your resume by writing a one- or two-sentence objective that details your desire for an entry-level paralegal job. Follow this with your work history, which should include the company's name, your position and a brief description of your responsibilities and the dates you were employed. Next, include your educational history. And finally at the bottom of the resume, add "Excellent references available upon request."

Prepare a one-page cover letter that outlines your search for an entry-level paralegal position and why you think you would be good at the job. Include enough information to catch a potential employer's interest, but do not drone on just fill up space on the page.

Tip

An entry-level paralegal resume should be one to two pages long.

Warning

Have at least two people review your resume for typos, misspellings and grammatical errors before you send it to any attorneys or law firms. Perfect grammar is a must on every resume!

About the Author

Janice Fahy is a freelance writer who is comfortable researching and writing on just about any topic under the sun. With a professional history that includes more than 15 years of writing for newspapers, magazines, law firms and private Web clients, she also writes for Break Studios, eHow and Trails.

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