Your Career Highlight Reel: The Importance of Keeping an Up-to-Date Resume

March 20, 2022

By now, it’s safe to say most lawyers have heard about or been directly affected by the extraordinarily busy legal market. Over the past year, we’ve seen high levels of movement both in both private practice and in-house. The drive for legal talent continues.


As a legal recruiter, I often speak with lawyers, at all levels, whose resumes haven’t been updated to reflect their current work. This is certainly the case with many junior or even mid-level associates who haven’t touched their resumes since the 2L recruit, especially if they remained at the same firm.


One of the simplest ways a lawyer can prepare themselves for opportunities is by maintaining an up-to-date resume and supporting materials. Even if you’re not actively seeking a new role, you shouldn’t let your resume get stale. Why?


Opportunities Are Everywhere


You never know when the right opportunity will come around. As legal headhunters, most candidates we place were not actively seeking opportunities when we contacted them. When the perfect opportunity does come along, you’ll need to provide an updated resume, usually under a quick turnaround. Updating your resume under pressure is not easy can lead to errors/typos, as well as missed information.


Outdated Resumes Can Be Limiting


Outdated resumes can slow down your candidacy, as well as potentially limit you from applying to dream opportunities. Maybe you’re scrolling through a newsletter or LinkedIn when you come across a one-of-a-kind opportunity; without an updated resume, there’s a good chance you may feel applying will be too time consuming and scroll on by.


Believe it or not, having an outdated resume be a psychological barrier of sorts, limiting you from pursuing interesting roles. Instead of passing up opportunities, have a current resume ready to go. You never know.


Deal Sheets Can Bolster Your Marketability


In addition to an updated resume, I recommend lawyers have an up-to-date transaction/deal sheet (corporate) or representative case list (litigators). Having a summary sheet keeps track of files you’ve worked on and key accomplishments. As a lawyer, we know once a deal or a case is over, it is onto the next, and a few months later, the specifics of a deal become a foggy memory.


I recommend all lawyers keep a list of transactions or cases and update it at least once a quarter. Deal sheets are a powerful tool to bolster your resume by providing more detail and context to your work experience. It also helps you keep your firm website bio current. By having a comprehensive list ready, you can select your best work to better market yourself.


Keeping a resume updated can fall to the bottom of lawyers’ long to-do lists, especially when you’re not actively seeking a new role. Nonetheless, having a current resume enables you to be more proactive in your career and to take advantage of the right opportunity when it comes along.


For more tips on writing a strong resume, please see our 10 Tips for Writing the Perfect Resume and New Year, New Resumes.


If you’re interested in exploring your legal career options, contact us for a confidential discussion. A highly knowledgeable legal recruitment consultant is a valuable resource, so reach out for feedback on your resume before sending it out to potential employers.


Meaghan Loughry, Recruitment Associate


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