As a paralegal professional, you have training that is in great demand in law offices all over the country. However, as we always emphasize, this does not mean that opportunities will come to you.
A well-written, attention-grabbing resume can push your career forward or hold it back.
For starters, please look over our general article on how to write a resume. A paralegal resume is based on the same fundamental concepts as other types of professional resumes.
Now, here are a few pointers that are more specific to you as a paralegal:
1. Use the chronological format, but replace the objective statement with an executive summary.
The chronological resume format, which could more properly be called the reverse chronological resume format, is the most traditional way to present work experience, skills, and education on a resume. Thus, it is better suited to this traditional field than the new functional and combination resumes, which focus more on presenting career accomplishments than providing an employment timeline.
However, we would still encourage you to replace the old-fashioned objective statement with an executive summary. The objective statement has gone past the point of being traditional and is now essentially passé. In your executive summary, you can sum up your most competitive skills and qualifications to make sure your paralegal resume packs a punch from the very start.
2. Mention the skills that are in demand for paralegals today!
Mentioning competitive skills is always a great way to get your paralegal resume noticed. According to Linda T. Chin of Paralegal Today, these include:
- Proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite
- Proficiency with Westlaw and Lexis as research tools
- Proficiency with CaseMap, LiveNote and Abacus Law
- Foreign language skills, particularly Spanish
- Knowledge of legal research and writing
- Familiarity with litigation
- Law office management skills
- Leadership skills (you may get a position with supervisory responsibilities)
- Knowledge of specific legal specialties (bankruptcy law, immigration law, and employment law, for example)
One of the best ways to keep up with employer preferences in terms of skills is to browse job websites, such as Monster.com and Craigslist on a regular basis. Look up paralegal positions and write down the skills that employers ask for most often. From that list, you will know which of your existing skills are the most valuable and which skills you could acquire to make yourself more marketable.
3. If you are just starting out as a paralegal, draw attention to any relevant experiences you may have had while in college or your certification program.
Internships are always important on a recent graduate’s resume, but especially on a paralegal resume, since practical experience in the law field offers so many benefits.
If you participated in an internship, name the organization that you worked with and emphasize your achievements an intern. Quantify these accomplishments with numbers, dollar signs, and percentages whenever possible.
4. If you have any special certifications, emphasize them.
Sure, you may not need a specific certification to be a paralegal, but having one can really give you an edge.
Here are some examples of prestigious certifications that look great on a paralegal resume:
- Certified Legal Assistant (CLA), granted by the National Association of Legal Assistants
- Certified Paralegal (CP), granted by the National Association of Legal Assistants
- American Alliance Certified Paralegal certification (AACP), granted by the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.
- Registered Paralegal (RP), granted by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations
- Professional Paralegal (PP), granted by the National Association of Legal Secretaries
Now, although we have mentioned the abbreviations for these titles above, you should not use abbreviations on your paralegal resume, especially since these are all voluntary certifications.
Our advice would be to list the full name of each certification, either the year it was issued or the year in which it will expire, and the name of the organization that provides the certification, since there is no uniform standard.
All of the above certifications require you to take continuing education courses to qualify for certification and recertification. If you find that one or more of the continuing education courses you took is relevant to the position for which you are applying, mention it in a separate “career development” section to make sure it catches the reader’s eye.
The bottom line for your paralegal resume…
Paralegals have a wide range of experiences, skills, and training, from high school graduates who worked as legal secretaries for several years to recent university graduates with Baccalaureate degrees in paralegal studies all the way up to highly specialized paralegals with Master’s degrees.
It’s a wide field and you have to find your niche. If you have the specialized skills that come from work experience or a higher education, make them stand out. If you have a prestigious certification, like the ones mentioned above, use that to your advantage.
The field is just going to get more competitive as people flock to one of the careers that is still growing in this economy, so don’t get complacent. Make sure your paralegal resume makes a great case for you.
Your accounting resume has to stand out from the crowd to help you land your next job. However, in a field like accounting, many workers have similar skills, which can make it difficult to distinguish yourself.
That said, it is definitely possible to write an attention-grabbing, compelling accounting resume that still meets the expectations of hiring managers in this conservative industry.
First, please read our general article on how to write a resume. Your accounting resume should be built on the same basic fundamentals that apply to job seekers from other professions.
The following are extra tips to fine-tune your resume for the field of accounting:
1. Stick to the chronological format, but with an executive summary instead of an objective.
The chronological resume format is so named because it lists your work experience in reverse chronological order. In addition to this common format, there is the functional resume, which lists skills and career accomplishments instead of work experience, and the combination resume, which combines features of both the chronological and functional styles.
For an accounting resume, it’s safest to stick to the chronological format. Accounting is considered a conservative industry and the chronological resume is the most conservative, widely-accepted format.
That doesn’t mean your accounting resume has to be bland, however. You can make it pack a punch by including an executive summary at the top instead of an old-fashioned resume objective, which is quickly becoming obsolete. Use your executive summary to quickly synopsize your accounting skills and relevant qualifications.
2. Use accounting keywords.
You thought the 20-second resume scan was harsh? Today, an applicant tracking system might dump your accounting resume off into the “no” pile before a human even sees it!
If you want to increase the odds of even getting a 20-second resume scan, your accounting resume needs to include accounting buzzwords.
Here are some examples of accounting buzzwords:
- Accounts receivable
- Accounts payable
- General ledger
- Month-end close
- Profit and loss statements
You can find more of these by reading job ads for accounting positions on websites like Monster.com or Craigslist. And be sure to look up job search engines that are specific to the field of accounting, too.
Keep in mind that, while it’s important to use terms that are popular in your industry, your accounting resume should still be written in a way that appeals to human readers, so don’t go overboard.
3. Quantify your accomplishments.
Hey, you’re writing an accounting resume here, so it better have numbers!
So, how should you use figures to quantify your accomplishments? Well, did you find a way to make the company you worked for more efficient? How did you do it? How much money did the firm save? Did you help the company with financial planning decisions? How much money was involved?
Use numbers and dollar signs whenever you can.
4. Include your certification details.
Don’t expect employers to assume you’re a Certified Public Accountant just because you’re applying for a CPA position.
If you are a licensed CPA, spell it out in a “licenses” or “certifications” or “skills” section on your accounting resume. Include the state in which you received your certification, too.
If you aren’t involved in public accountancy, but you’ve chosen to renew your license in inactive status, you should put “inactive” immediately after the term “CPA” so you aren’t misleading anyone—if you choose to present yourself as a CPA.
5. Write a “software skills” section.
As you know, advances in technology are making the field of accounting a more technical one.
There are many different types of software packages for accounting available today and knowing how to use them is important. Beyond that, if you know how to correct software problems or develop custom software, you will certainly be in demand.
According to accounting market analyst Hunter Richards, these are some examples of software systems employers mention most often in accounting job ads:
- Microsoft Excel—mandatory!
- Systems Applications and Products—widely used, especially by big corporations
- Oracle—widely used, especially by big corporations
- Microsoft Dynamics—widely used, especially by mid-sized companies
- Sage—popular with mid-sized companies
- Quickbooks—always in demand, especially with small businesses
The following are examples of business intelligence software frequently mentioned in accounting job ads:
- Business Objects
- Crystal Reports
As you can see, it pays off to include a bulleted “software skills” section in a prominent part of your accounting resume. You can also include that you quickly adapt to new software, if it’s true.
One last accounting resume strategy…
What the above resume tips have in common is that they focus on what employers look for when scanning an accounting resume. If you have trouble thinking of what to include or leave out, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and consider what you would want to see if you had a stack of 100 accounting resumes weighing your desk down.
If you keep your accounting resume focused on the employer’s needs, you will have a much better chance of landing that next big job.
Nursing is one of the most in-demand occupations today. Even in this difficult economic period, new health care jobs are cropping up every month. For example, according to the Department of Labor’s latest Employment Situation report, 44,000 health care positions were added in the U.S. in September.
However, that does not give you an excuse to become complacent. Just because health care jobs are out there doesn’t mean one will drop into your lap. You still have to market yourself, and that means having an excellent nursing resume that includes the skills hiring managers want to see.
First, please read our general article on how to write a resume. Your nursing resume should include all of the items mentioned in that article.
Additionally, here are 4 specific items your nursing resume should include:
1. Licensing and certification details.
We said this to the accountants in our accounting resume article and we’ll say it again to the nurses: no one is going to assume you are certified. Your future employer will not just suppose you are a registered nurse because you apply for an RN position. People apply for jobs for which they are not qualified all the time.
So, specifically mention your relevant certifications in a “licenses” or “certifications” section on your nursing resume. Include any licenses or certifications that are relevant to the position for which you are applying.
For example, if you are a Registered Nurse, you could still include your Licensed Practical Nursing information or your Emergency Medical Technician licensing information. Do not use abbreviations.
For each license, include the state in which it was issued. You should also include either the year in which it was issued or the year in which it will expire. You may also choose to include your license number, when applicable.
2. Leadership capabilities, teamwork skills, and ethics knowledge.
Nurse educator Beverly Hansen OMalley, author of the Dimensional curriculum for practical nursing, has identified teamwork, leadership, and ethics knowledge as several of the most vital skills to mention on a nursing resume.
“Anything on the resume that shows leadership and independent decision making should be highlighted,” said Beverly OMalley in an interview with resume writing expert Richard Lindsey.
According to OMalley, leadership skills are essential, as nurses often need to work autonomously with little direction in a hospital setting.
She also said that collaborative capabilities are “highly valued and necessary” for nurses. Therefore, your nursing resume should emphasize any experience you’ve had working with physical therapists, physicians, pharmacists, and other nurses.
Finally, she said that a nursing resume should highlight knowledge of ethics or ethics courses taken. On her website, OMalley explained that nurses face many different types of ethical dilemmas on a regular basis and need to come to work prepared to handle them.
3. Relevant continuing education information.
Continuing education courses are a necessity for nurses, so a well-written nursing resume should certainly include those that are relevant to the desired position.
Of course, the focus should be on continuing education courses that pertain to the position for which you are applying. They do not have to be directly related as long as they are relevant to the position or the skills mentioned in the job ad.
According to OMalley, continuing education experiences should go in their own section, not under the “education” or “experience” section.
“Practice standards state that the RN must keep up to date,” said OMalley, “so this is considered professional development. Upgrading to a degree would be education.”
Moving continuing education experiences to a “continuing education” section can also emphasize your initiative.
“If you put it in the section of employment history and experience then it looks like it was the employer’s idea,” she said, “not yours.”
4. Technical skills.
Again, make it clear on your nursing resume that you are qualified for the job you’re trying to get.
OMalley recommended emphasizing physical assessment skills, such as:
- Chest assessments
- Peripheral pulses
- Neurological assessments
She also said to include knowledge of common work equipment, such as:
- Doppler machines (for taking a patient’s peripheral pulse)
- IV pumps
- Saline locks
- Central lines
Obviously, if a job ad mentions needing to know any specific skills and you have those skills, you should include them on your nursing resume. It would also be helpful to point them out in your cover letter.
A final piece of advice for your nursing resume…
Your nursing resume determines the first impression you will make upon the hiring staff at your future hospital or doctor’s office. A well-written nursing resume makes it clear that you are qualified for the job for which you are applying. Hiring staff will not assume you are a properly certified, up-to-date nurse with relevant people skills and technical skills if you don’t tell them.
Like a good nurse, your nursing resume needs to be able to communicate hefty chunks of information quickly yet effectively. A focused, efficient, carefully-written nursing resume reflects a focused, efficient, careful nurse.
As a teacher, resume writing can be challenging. While items like certifications objectively communicate your proficiency, it’s harder to express the “soft skills” that are necessary for a successful teaching career, such as the ability to communicate well and handle conflict appropriately.
Plus, when you’re a teacher, resume length can quickly become a concern, as you may have to squeeze student teaching experience, practicums, tutoring experience, subject proficiencies, and other qualifications into a document that’s typically only one or two pages long.
Wait a minute,two pages? Yes, while we typically recommend that job seekers try to limit their resumes to one page, a teaching resume looks a little like a CV-resume hybrid, so it tends to be longer. According to Boston College, home of the Lynch School of Education, a 2-page resume is acceptable for teachers.
To begin, your first assignment is to read our article on how to write a resume in general. All of the following tips for educators in the United States should be used in combination with the information covered in that article.
Besides the typical items on every resume, such as the mandatory “education” section and optional “awards” section, a teacher’s resume should include the following:
1. Teaching certification details.
Saying you are “certified” is not enough. Certification requirements vary by state, so name the state from which you obtained your certification. Also include the levels and content area or areas you are certified to teach.
If you aren’t yet certified, provide the date that you’ll qualify for certification.
2. Continuing education experiences.
Continuing education courses should be featured on your teaching resume. Again, remember that continuing education requirements vary by state. In New Jersey, for example, 100 hours of continuing education courses are required over a 5-year period for each teacher.
Resume subsections, such as “continuing education” or “professional development” can be helpful for listing specific experiences. Don’t expect employers to just assume you are up-to-date!
3. Soft skills.
Soft skills, also known as “people skills,” are the traits that determine how effectively you can interact with other people. Examples include the ability to communicate, negotiate, deal with conflict, influence others, work within a team, maintain a friendly attitude, apply creative solutions to problems, and behave in a socially appropriate way.
An executive summary at the top of your teaching resume is a good place to mention these skills. Obviously, you don’t want to just have a laundry list of soft skills, so stick to a few that are particularly relevant to you as a teacher.
Resume writers can always just claim they have great people skills, of course, so it’s best to only include soft skills that you can back up using past accomplishments or experiences as evidence. For example, if you include on your resume that you spent several years teaching students from different backgrounds in an inner-city school environment, effectively managing diversity might be listed as one of your soft skills.
4. Secondary job skills.
OK, so you listed your primary areas of proficiency, but what else can you do? While your future school may have just listed a position for a math teacher, they may also be wishing for someone who could help the school French club this semester. If you can speak French at a conversational level, the school might be more inclined to hire you.
So, it might be useful to include a section with your other abilities, such as computer skills, knowledge of a foreign language, interest in remedial education, and musical abilities.
5. Student teaching and practicum experiences.
If you are further along in your career as a teacher, resume boosters like this might be unimportant compared to paid positions. But, student teaching and practicum experiences are important for new teachers.
Generally, you’ll want to describe student teaching experiences under your “professional experience” section, just as you describe jobs. It’s helpful to include the grade level and subject matter you taught, along with the number of students or classes you worked with. Also include any events you took part in, such as open house days.
Practicums look better under your “education” section. You want to include where the practicum took place, the age group or grade level you worked with, and what you did.
If you received some type of special distinction while participating, you will want to include that.
Don’t forget the basics!
Again, these are the items that are a little more specific to you as a teacher. Resume staples like volunteer experience, honors and awards, and professional association memberships should definitely appear on your resume, as long as they are relevant. Please look over our general resume writing tips for more advice.
And that wraps up our lesson plan for today. Now that you have done your reading, you should be able to write a resume that will receive top marks from employers.
Your dental hygienist resume could be your ticket to riding out the current economic crisis in comfort, as demand for dental hygienists is very high right now. According to the Department of Labor, job prospects for dental hygienists are excellent, because “dentists continue to need the aid of qualified dental assistants.” The Department of Labor explains that, “as dentists’ workloads increase, they are expected to hire more assistants to perform routine tasks,” thus opening up more positions.
To benefit from this boom, however, you must have a polished dental hygienist resume that quickly and effectively markets your skills. Before we discuss specifics, please look over our main article on how to write a resume. That article covers basics that apply to all professional resumes, including your dental hygienist resume.
When it comes to a dental hygienist resume in particular, here are 4 specific items that you should include:
1. Licensing and certification information.
As we always say, no one will assume you’re licensed or certified if you don’t tell them, so always include this type of information on your resume.
Be sure to include the name of the state in which you were licensed, since dental hygienists are generally only allowed to practice in the state in which they have been granted a license.
Remember that you can list more than your Registered Dental Hygienist license on your resume, too. Here are some examples of related certifications that can make your dental hygienist resume stand out:
- Expanded Functions Certification
- Radiography Certification
- Nitrous Oxide Monitoring Certification
- Orthodontic Assistant Certification
- Registered Dental Assistant Certification
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification
These items should go under a “licensing” or “certification” section on your dental hygienist resume. You should also consider including either the year in which the license or certification was issued or the year in which it will expire. Don’t use abbreviations.
2. People skills.
As a dental hygienist, you will be working face-to-face with many different types of people – literally. So, it’s obviously important that you can handle social interactions well.
Just saying you are “good with people” isn’t enough for a dental hygienist resume, however. Most dental hygienists could say the same thing. You should think about the extra value that your people skills could bring to a dental team.
For example, are you especially good at helping patients who suffer from dental anxiety or phobias? Are you great with children and parents? Do elderly patients enjoy working with you in particular? What about patients with different physical or mental needs?
These are the kinds of specifics you should focus on in your dental hygienist resume, although, as always, you should only mention the skills that are relevant to the position for which you are applying . A good place to cover them is in your executive summary, which provides a quick, punchy run-down of your most marketable skills.
Of course, you will have to work closely with dentists, dental assistants, receptionists, and other dental hygienists, too. So, if you can emphasize past experiences in which you’ve successfully worked as part of a team, you will be all the more marketable.
As always, you should only list interpersonal skills that you can back up with evidence, since anything on your dental hygienist resume will be fair game during an interview. For example, if you write that you can work well under hectic conditions, have an example from your previous work experience or college days in mind to drive that point home.
3. Applicable continuing education information.
Most states require dental hygienists to take continuing education courses on a regular basis.
However, requirements vary widely. In South Dakota, for example, 75 continuing education hours are required every 5 years for all dental hygienists. This includes a mandatory 5 hours of Radiography. In Wisconsin, on the other hand, there are no continuing education requirements for dental hygienists, or even for dentists.
Even if you aren’t required to take continuing education courses, but have chosen to do so, mentioning ones that are relevant to the position for which you are applying can boost your odds of landing a job. Of course, you shouldn’t just list all of the classes you’ve taken, just the ones that fit the best.
For example, let’s say that you are submitting your dental hygienist resume to an oral surgeon’s office known for handling difficult dental extractions. If you have taken Nitrous Oxide Sedation in Dental Offices as one of your continuing education classes, this would probably be relevant to the position.
Continuing education experiences, if included, should be placed in a separate section. Having a section titled “continuing education” helps emphasize your commitment to honing your skills as a dental hygienist.
4. Dental care skills and areas of specialization.
Including your areas of technical specialization helps the hiring staff see how qualified you are. Here are some examples of areas of specialization that could be emphasized on a dental hygienist resume.
- Preventative Care
- Protective Sealants
- Disease Exam/Screening
- Dental Charting
- Oral Cavity Exam
- Self-Care Programs
- Stain Removal
- Patient Management
- Nutrition Counseling
These are just a few helpful examples. To find more, look for dental hygienist positions on websites such as Monster.com, Craigslist.org, or job search engines specific to the health care field. Write down the desired skills you see listed most often in those job ads.
Then, look over them and see which apply to both your own areas of specialization and the jobs you’re interested in applying for. Those are the best ones to include on your dental hygienist resume. It’s also helpful to point out those skills in a corresponding cover letter.
A final piece of advice for your dental hygienist resume…
As a dental hygienist, chances are high that you will be working in a dentist’s office alongside many other types of dental staff who are already used to working with one another. You need to show that you are qualified, skilled, and personable enough to contribute to this existing team.
If you focus on specific ways you can add value to the practice, your dental hygienist resume will stand out for all the right reasons.