Spotting the strengths and weaknesses. It’s part of my job as a legal recruiter.
If I find a weakness, I can usually justify it with a strength. The flaws in a
professional presentation? This is a different story. I can overlook a misspelled
word on a resume, but if I do, you better not walk in my door chewing gum.
1. Email address. Names that conjure up images, such as email@example.com, are
improper in a professional environment. Use your name so you will be recognized.
2. Voice mail. Family recorded messages are cute, but they are not professional.
Use your cell phone and identify yourself as if you were answering a phone at work.
3. Chewing gum. If you need to freshen your breath use a mint and finish it before
4. Perfume and cologne. Have pity on the allergic and leave the scents at home.
The last time I was assaulted with perfume it took me an entire afternoon to recuperate.
5. Spelling. Spell-check is not perfect. Make sure you have someone proofread your
6. Italic type. An entire resume of italicized words is tiring to read. Use simple,
medium sized fonts that do not require Poindexter’s reading glasses.
7. Graduation dates. If the reader thinks you are 25 and you are really 50, you
will appear manipulative. Maturity is an asset. Use it to your advantage.
8. Cover letter. Hiring managers are not mind readers. Use the cover letter to
personalize who you are and why you are inquiring.
9. Specialty. A list of skills have little meaning without the context in which
they are used. Include the area of law you have specialized in at each place of employment.
10. Names. The State Bar of Michigan is not the Michigan Bar Association. Likewise,
double check all the names of your employers and associations. Yes, you checked
it - now check it again!