Looking For A Government Job — One Simple Trick To Supercharge Your Résumé
Working as an attorney for the federal government is not only a terrific way to give back to this great nation, these jobs are among the most prestigious positions in the profession. Unfortunately, they’re also among the most competitive jobs — especially the most plum assignments. So what can a lawyer or law student do now to maximize their chances of getting an exciting and challenging position in government?
Like all jobs, it starts with the right résumé!
We’ve talked before about the importance of choosing the right font to really make your résumé pop. But don’t let style eclipse the value of substance! The words you choose to describe your qualifications make a big difference when it comes to landing that dream job.
And that’s where you can employ this simple trick that we learned from Candice Jackson, the Department of Education attorney in charge of civil rights. In other words, someone who really knows her stuff when it comes to getting a top-flight government job. Here’s how she showed her prospective employer that she had the skills and experience to hold the sacred trust of enforcing the constitutional rights of American kids. Right off the top she lists “My Top 5 Qualifications For An Administration Position” and included hit the ground running by laying out her core legal competency. From Politico:
On her résumé, Jackson noted that she had steadfastly attacked Hillary Clinton’s “lifelong corruption and hypocritical claim to defend women and children” in ads and videos…
Yes. Page one of her résumé provides nary a single detail about her “experience as a lawyer” but goes deep on listing every half-baked political hack job she’s slapped together about Hillary Clinton. Smart! It may take a little extra time, but always tailor your résumé to each position you apply for. She’s looking to enforce civil rights in the Trump administration — the ability to “be a lawyer” certainly isn’t something to showcase. With her description of one year as an associate at a mid-sized Portland firm before launching an utterly vague solo practice, Jackson masterfully turns a negative into a positive by admitting while she may be a lawyer, there’s no reason to believe she’s going to make a big deal about it. Masterful.
Also, remember that while a lot of people feel self-conscious about name-dropping, this is your chance at a first impression — you’ve got to lay everything out there! So if you can highlight your connections to noted convicted criminals who approve of your work, just do it! You’ll be glad you did.
A career in public service is so rewarding. And while it may seem elusive, Candice Jackson has done everyone a real service by providing a road map to success at the highest levels of government legal work by having her résumé out there as a template for all you aspiring go-getters. Go ahead and look at the whole thing.
Thanks Candice for all you’ve done for the job-seekers out there.
Joe Patrice is an editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news.
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