Q: Can you tell me why my resume is not drawing interest from recruiters?
A: The lawyer who asked this question sent me, with a resume, these additional questions and information: Are the reasons something I can act on (e.g., content or format) or not (e.g., age, gender, law school, number of years since passing the Bar?). I am looking for positions as in-house counsel for IP or in my specialized niche.
My answer is two-fold. The resume is a long, undifferentiated list of 7 jobs, most of which are excellent pre-law industry roles presented along with the one legal job at a prominent local company, but with the legal work deprioritized below the managerial work for that company. Of the 7 jobs, every other one is in a different state and all but the first post-Master’s job and the most recent job, throughout and after law school, averaged two years in duration. Thus, a really nice career, presented job-by -job, highlights the negatives (will she stay in the area, is she committed to law or technical management, why did she change jobs so often). Instead, highlight the legal work in the job held during which you earned your JD, group the other jobs under relevant subheadings, indicate the progressively responsible nature of the roles for which you nimbly relocated, always and ultimately returning to your current home state.
And one thing you can definitely fix: the typo at the very end, a place where readers tend to look although no typos are acceptable. It refers to Publications, Presentations, and Presentations.
Ethnicity, gender, and age are of course immutable, but none are a problem here. The other reason the resume isn’t garnering attention is that most search firm recruiters don’t place lawyers in company law departments and company recruiters get so many cold applications, it’s hard to break through, even with great resume alone. Instead, look for job openings online such as via goinhouse.com or the Association of Corporate Counsel website, along with LinkedIn, which will push out in-house openings to your email. Join Twitter, follow ACC, and you’ll see lots of in-house jobs, as you can via abalcc.org and a number of other sites and job boards. Then use the many online resources to find commonality with people at, or formerly with, those workplaces and follow up with them to gain insights about the law department culture and work and suggestions about people to contact from there.
This person’s law school is a good one for IP, but even were those few search firms that do place lawyers in-house interested, they don’t tend to work in highly specialized niches. With the network developed over the span of her scientific and managerial work and online, plus counterparts in her legal field from her law school or recent role, she is well-equipped–with a more cohesive, concise, and compelling resume–to network effectively to uncover opportunities and to warm up otherwise cold applications rather than become discouraged waiting and hoping for recruiter responses.