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Paralegal Resume Example + Salaries, Writing tips and Information

Paralegals assist lawyers in preparing for trials, hearings and closings. These law professionals are entrusted with legal research, client interviews and office administration. This position requires a thorough understanding of law and legal proceedings, and an associate degree and/or a certificate in paralegal studies is preferred by most employers.

Use our resume tips and examples to showcase your best attributes professionally in your own resume, and stand out in the eyes of hiring managers.

Top 4 Characteristics of a Best in Class Paralegal Resume

  1. Summary Provide a brief overview of your best skills and work experiences in 2-3 sentences. Bring attention to core skills such as document management and transcription abilities, as well as examples of how you’ve helped a firm. For example: “Efficient paralegal skilled as transcriptions and document management, with experience supporting legal firm of 5 partners.”
  2. Skills While technical skills such as drafting lawsuits, writing briefs and proficiency with database programs are essential for this job, don’t ignore equally important intangible (or “soft”) skills such as oral and written communication, and organizational abilities. You can divide your skills into two category: “Paralegal Skills” and “Soft Skills.”
  3. Work history In this section, give examples of how you’ve contributed to previous organizations. For example: “Developed a more efficient digital database that reduced use of paper records by 40 percent.” Avoid mentioning generic day-to-day tasks such as “supported attorneys.”
  4. Education Emphasize your law-related training and coursework, as well as your highest academic credential, e.g., “Associate of Science: Paralegal Studies.”

See Why My Perfect Resume is a 5-Star Resume Builder

Find the Right Template for Your Resume

Get rid of the design-dilemma and choose from the following three professionally designed resume templates for showcasing your skills & abilities in the best possible manner.

Cool

Grab the hiring manager’s attention with this colorful layout. The dual-column presentation provides plenty of room to list your skills and accomplishments.

Remarkable

This design uses a strong color header, and clearly defined sections, using simple box graphics.

Whitespace

This streamlined template uses thin dividing straight lines and crisp fonts for a professional look.

For even more templates, pick from MyPerfectResume’s full selection.

Do’s and Don’ts for Creating Your Resume

  • DO add relevant certifications. Having certifications in specialized areas (e.g., certification in Microsoft Office software) as well as legal work (e.g., a Certified Legal Assistant or Certified Paralegal) can help elevate your resume above other applicants. Be sure to list these certifications and training to your education section.
  • DO use action verbs to energize your resume. Using weak phrases like “was responsible for” takes away from the power of your work accomplishments. When highlighting your past roles and achievements, use strong verbs  such as “developed” or “designed.” For example: “Managed litigation calendaring, and preparation and filing of court documents for average of 20+ cases per week.”
  • DO check your resume for typos and mistakes. Paralegal work requires attention to detail and accuracy, which means typos and mistakes in your resume is a no-no. Make sure you double-check all your content before sending it in, and confirm your information is accurate, with correct grammar and spelling.
  • DON’T add irrelevant details. Avoid cluttering your resume with information that isn’t relevant to the job you’re applying to, such as personal hobbies or unrelated extracurricular activities. Recruiters only take a few seconds to browse a resume — don’t waste those seconds with unnecessary content. Limit the information you provide to skills and experiences that directly answer one question: how you are the best fit for this particular job.
  • DON’T make your resume too long.As we mentioned, recruiters only take a few seconds to scan your resume, so keep your content tight. Use concise phrases and bullet points to describe key skills and accomplishments, and aim to keep your resume one-page long.
  • DON’T use the same resume for all your job applications. Every job role has different responsibilities and requirements — one paralegal position might stress documentation skills, while another might require more phone coverage. Instead of using a single resume for every job opportunity, make sure you create different versions of your resume to address the requirements of different jobs, and update your summary, skills and work history sections accordingly.

Paralegal Resume FAQs

1. What are the skills you should emphasize for a paralegal job?

  • Communication skills (oral and written)
  • Negotiation skills
  • Research and analysis
  • Detail-oriented approach
  • Court transcription
  • Good team player
  • Proficiency with office software

2. What are some examples of training and certifications that are fit for a paralegal?

In addition to having general training in law and legal proceedings, a paralegal certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) can help you build a strong foundation. Some other useful accreditations include:

  • A post-baccalaureate certificate program in paralegal studies
  • Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies

3. How should you format your resume?

Since this is a job that typically requires a good blend of skills and experience, use the combination format, which allows you to detail your relevant skills and past work history. If you have less work experience, opt for a functional format, which will showcase the paralegal-related skills you already have. If the job requires extensive work experience, use the chronological format, which lets you demonstrate your previous roles and progress via an extensive work history section.

4. How should you craft your resume if you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career?

If you’re looking to move up to a more senior legal administrative role, or become an attorney, add these experiences and qualifications to your resume as you get them:

  • If you’re aiming for a lawyer or attorney position, complete formal training, including getting a law degree and passing the bar exam for your state.
  • Gain more experience in all facets of legal processes, including research, arbitration and litigation, and show how you’ve benefited your employer in these areas.
  • Provide examples in which you’ve taken a leading role in guiding an administrative team, improving administrative and legal processes for your firm, and generating successful, efficient results.
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