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Ask Eula Mae: Building Your Résumé

Posted By NALS Editorial Board, Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017

Ask Eula Mae: Building Your ResumeDear Eula Mae:


I have worked in a legal office for four years, two as a word processor and two as a legal assistant.  I do not want to be stuck as a legal assistant forever because, in a big firm like this, there are many roads from which to choose such as office manager, human resources manager, paralegal, or even attorney.  My problem is that I do not know where to begin to build a résumé in a law office. Can you give some advice on this?


The Nearly New Girl

 

Dear Nearly New Girl:

 

How wonderful that you care enough about where you work that you can see a future in law!  Getting there will require good record-keeping of your skills, abilities, volunteer work, and other details that will tell others good things about you.  You will need to organize all of the information for your résumé.


There are many ways to begin building a résumé.  So where do you start?  Search the Internet for examples of legal assistant résumés.  Pay attention to your actual skills and abilities.  This will help identify which skills you may want to develop.  Also, look at your calendar for classes you have attended that show your interest in law.  Does your firm offer mandatory meetings to develop your skills? 


Do you participate in NALS, your professional organization?  This is the fastest way to learn and grow.  Be active and volunteer in your local chapter, your state chapter, and the national level.  NALS provides vast opportunities, especially in networking.  All of the members have great knowledge in how they built their careers.  It is a wonderful journey and you can go as far as you want in the association.  All of your NALS activities will make your résumé shine and will show you are a team player in the legal field.


You could also aim toward certification as a legal assistant, and higher, to professional paralegal.  College legal studies programs may be of interest to you.  This effort will be very helpful should you decide to pursue law school. 


Keep a file on hand to stay motivated.  This file is for thank-you notes and emails saying “good job” to you.  Later on, you might ask some of these supporters to serve as a reference.

 

These tips should help you get started in building your résumé.  Follow your heart.  It will all come together—you’ll see.

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