The Armadillo Club
|Practrical & Common Sense Job Tips
and Sample Resume
Over the last couple of years, I have reviewed over 900 resumes of Armadillos, Notre Dame alumni and other friends (in
my spare time) so I have learned a few things about what a resume should look like.
Note a few things:
1. Many of the resumes I get have the person's name, then address and other contact information tiered from the top
down like this:
That wastes about four lines of valuable real estate. The format on my sample resume puts all of the relevant info on 2
2. No need to put "cell:xxx-xxxx" or "E-mail: email@example.com"
Who cares if it's your cell? Just give them one number you want them to call and the one you check messages on
regularly. Perhaps you needed to put "E-mail" on a resume back when Al Gore first invented the Internet, but by now,
most people recognize what an e-mail address is. Just give them one e-mail address. Don't confuse them. AND DON'T
USE THE E-MAIL ADDRESS FOR YOUR CURRENT JOB!!! Unless you want your current employer to know you are looking.
Also, to me, if you don't care if your current employer knows, it might trigger the thought that you may have been asked to
If you are actually applying online for a position, I suggest you include a mailing address. Every now and then I get a
resume with no mailing address. It makes you look homeless and raises a question in the mind of the reader, i.e. maybe
you didn't put it on because you live across the country and are going to ask for moving expenses... The one exception,
IMHO, is do not include it on resumes you post online where just anyone can see it - like posting it to LinkedIN.
Personally, I would also be hesitant to include my phone number on a resume posted online.
3. Don't include your LinkedIN Profile address. First of all, the blue font ruins the look. Second: what if you have more
than one resume out and you want to tailor each resume just a bit. Now your LinkedIN Profile is going to be inconsistent
with at least one of them. If they want to look you up on the Internet, they will. This brings up another point: Google your
own name to see what they will find when they do. Is there anything that needs to be fixed? Do it now... and remember
the next time you are posting something bombastic on some blog or website, that whatever you post is there forever...
You may think it's gone, but I regularly go into archived web sites to find info that people don't want found on cases and
don't think I'll find....
4. Treat this resume as the most important brief you have ever written. You are a persuasive writer. Sell yourself. Think
of all of the things that you have done that might be of value to your future employer. Don't forget to list computer skills.
In this day of cost savings and staff reductions, many companies want to know that you have these skills. Some folks tell
me that it is assumed they will have such skills. If so, why would the employer include that as a job requirement? eh?
Remove any questions.
5. Pay attention to formatting. Make sure margins line up. Right-hand justify dates. Make sure that formatting is
consistent. Did you put "Illinois" in the first job description and "IL" in the next? Do you have periods after some bullet
points but not all. (Doesn't really matter which you do, just be consistent.) Are you abbreviating some months, but not
all? Different fonts? Use 12 point font for the Company and Job Title lines. Use 10 pt font for the bullet points. You need
to save real estate. Use black print. •Calibri seems to be the easiest to read and looks professional. Many career
advice sites recommend it too.
6. Do not allow your e-mail address to hyperlink. The blue messes up the look of the document and no one is going to
hyperlink to your e-mail address from within the document. IMHO
7. PDF your resume before you send it off so that when they open it, it won't be messed up, no matter what program they
8. Name your resume with your name, i.e. "John Doe Resume.doc" If you just name is "Resume.doc," how will anyone
find it in the folder with 100 other unnamed resumes on their computer.
9. Do not include "References available upon request" on your resume and do not list references on your resume. That
uses up space and is obsolete. As if you wouldn't provide references if they ask??? Duh.
10. Include your bar admissions but not pro hac vices.
11. Sometimes I'll get a resume that lists some of the person's major wins, but doesn't give a generalization of what the
person does in the bullet points under the specific jobs. It makes it sound like the person only handled a couple cases
while he was at the firm. Give some generalized overview statements in the bullet points for each job that are
meaningful - specifically the types of coverages and issues you have dealt with (see the first bullet point under current
job in my sample resume), and then include some examples of your spectacular wins if you want. Include metrics to show
what you have accomplished. Your bulletpoints should not sound like a job description... It should show what you
12. If you are less than 5 years out, RARELY should your resume be more than one page. No matter how old you are,
RARELY should it be more than two pages. If you are unable to synthesize what is important in that amount of space, it
might simply be a reflection of the inability to synthesize, unless you have a lot of publications or something like that.
13. No need to put a header on page 2. Rarely has Microsoft lost the second page of a two page document when e-
mailed. That just takes up more valuable space.
14. If you are five years out of law school or less and your GPA is good, I would include it. The general rule of thumb for
recent grads seems to be that if your GPA is less than 3.0, do not include it. Of course, by implication, if you are a recent
grad and you do not put a GPA on your resume, reviewers will assume it was less than 3.0, since that is the conventional
wisdom. So if good, put it on. If you are out of law school more than 5 years, GPAs are not as important since it should be
your job history that speaks for you.
15. Don't put your name and address in the header. When someone views it, the print in the header is never as dark as
the print in the body of the document so it detracts from the overall look of the document. Plus it is totally unnecessary
to do that. It's not like you want all of that on the second page.
16. Don't exaggerate. I know that sounds simple, but so many times I ask someone about some item that just seems a bit
extreme on the resume and the response is, "X told me to do it that way. He said it would sound good..." For example, a
young attorney worked as a contract attorney for a Company that did document reviews for big law firms. Rather than list
the contract company, he listed the firm at which he was performing the review as if that was the firm that employed him
rather than just the firm at which he was performing the review. Who would trust you to work for them if what you have
represented on your resume is not true and accurate?
17. Objectives. Sometimes I get resumes with "Objective" statements at the top that say the person wants a rewarding
job doing meaningful work or something similar.... Duh. Isn't your objective to get whatever job you are applying for???
So why do you need an Objective at the top of your resume??? Again, it is a waste of space. Even worse, to the extent
your Objective differs from the objective of the hiring partner, you may have raised a question in his or her mind that
leads to someone else being chosen for the job. They may think you will not be happy in the job they have and might
move on after a year or two to your real dream job. Drop the "Objective."
18. Summary Statements. Sometimes I get a resume that has a half page of bullet points, or just a bunch of words (like:
"Leadership" "Innovative" "Team Player" etc.) or a list of isolated accomplishments taken out of context from the last 20
years that may even be redundant of what is in the bullet points in the job sections. Most often, this is a self-serving
waste of time that the reviewer skips over, as he heads straight to the Experience section. If you have something
important in that section, it may never be read. One or two sentences at most could be put at the top, but as you can see
from my sample, I don't really think it is necessary unless you have a bunch of disjointed or different types of jobs over
your lifetime and you need a way to tie them together to give some picture of how your experience overall might be
helpful to the employer.
19. Try to use action verbs. In your current position(s), the verbs should be in the present tense. In past positions,
they should be in the past tense.
20. Be careful about using shorthand phrases or acronyms. In financial resumes I kept getting the term "ROI." That's
great for the top finance guy, but if someone in HR or the office admin assistant is doing the first screening of resumes,
they may not know that means Return on Investment. That phrase just became meaningless. Keep in mind that the first
cut may be done by someone in HR, not in the legal department. Plus you give your resume to friends who may know
people who can hire you. You want them to understand what you do.
21. Use spell check but don't rely on spell check alone. Carefully proof. Powerpoint is PowerPoint...
22. In some companies or search firms, a computer does the first cut and looks for keywords. Look at the job
description. Does it have keywords that seem to be important? Are those keywords on your resume? If not, and you can
work them into the bullet points, you will be better off. For instance, if the Job Requirements state that the job requires
you be proficient at Microsoft Word and Excel, I think I would make sure those words are on my resume if I have those
skills. Does it say that expertise in construction defect cases is required? I would make sure my resume mentions that.
23. New grad: Education at top, experience second. Older grad: Experience at the top, education at the bottom. 3-5
years out? Well if you had stellar grades, I think I might put that at the top. If you worked for a top firm that everyone will
recognize or you had really great experience in your first job, then you might lead off with that. You have some
24. Formatting. I hate those templates where the stuff is in boxes. I also hate strange off-set formatting. They are not
hiring an art major. Just give them the information in a way that lets them take everything in easily and see what is
important to them. A reviewer may only spend about a minute on a resume when doing the first cut. Make it easy for him
or her to see how great you are.
25. If you have been at a company for many years but in different positions, I think it is helpful to put the overall
cummulative dates at the very first line and then the dates you were in each position in parentheses with the individual
job titles. I have seen resumes like this that make it look like the person has had a lot of short term jobs, especially if the
person is working for different subsidiaries, divisions or offices.
XYZ Corporation - Denver, Colorado 1990 - Present
President (2010 - Present)
Vice President (2000-2010)
Project Manager (1995-2000)
Consultant (1990 - 1995)
Hope this helps. Good luck!
222 North Street
Chicago, IL 60000
LinkedIN Profile Address
Career Transition Center
Just in case you are not aware of it, there is a great place at 703 W.
Monroe that helps people in career transition. They have a variety of
programs that provide professional, emotional and spiritual support
for those seeking work or undergoing a career transition.
www.ctcchicago.org or call (312) 906-9908. Even if you don't
need the help, I bet you know someone who could use it. Pass on
the info. Being out of work is traumatic. I have found that even if you
don't have a job for someone, just the knowledge that you care
enough to invite them to networking events you are attending or to
pass on info like this can mean a lot to your friends.