General considerations CDO counselors are always happy to review drafts of your letters. Formatting tips Cover letters and letters of interest almost always follow the same substantive structure: Paragraph 1: Explain who you are and why you are writing. Paragraph 2: Connect your skills and interests to the employer. Draw from your resume, but do not regurgitate all of the information. Be selective and concise.
Use brief, concrete examples. Illustrate why you will be valuable to them. Highlight your work experience, law school activities, volunteer experience, etc. Paragraph 3: Conclude. Identify any attachments to your letter, if not already done. Indicate what the next step will be. For example, let them know when you plan to be in their area, or if you will follow up or be available for an interview.
Thank them for their consideration of your application or request. Keep the letter to one page, if at all possible. Your legal resume is a living document — you will find yourself revising it throughout your legal career and especially during your time in law school.
The guidelines below will help you create a basic legal resume, which you and your coach will further revise once you have a chance to meet. Your first legal resume will look vastly different from the resume you submitted in your law school application. By creating your legal resume now, you will be better prepared for your first appointment with a career coach and better prepared to begin applying for summer positions.
Your resume must be no more than one page, unless: You have professional publications. You have more than 10 years of relevant legal-related experience, for example as a paralegal or a business professional. You have 10 years of public service experience including volunteer work and are interested in pursuing a career in public service law.
Instead of using an "Achievements" section, include descriptions of your achievements under the relevant experience either under the school you attended when you received the award or under the job where you worked when you received the acknowledgement. Use lines to separate sections, rather than spaces. The body of the resume should be no smaller than 11 point size font.
Preferred fonts include Times New Roman or Garamond. Use a consistent format throughout your resume, being mindful of your use of whitespace. For example, if you use small caps for your Education section, then you must use small caps for your Work Experience section. If you are interested in public service, you must also include a separate section for volunteer experience or public service.
DO NOT include sections for references or publications on your one-page resume. Publications should be listed on a second page. References are typically submitted on a separate document, as they are not always required at the time of application.
Particularly good ones can push you from low on the wait list toward s the very top, or open the door for someone who is otherwise merely a borderline candidate — but they will never gain you outright admission if your LSAT and GPA numbers are otherwise insufficient. The very best letters all share the same three characteristics:.
You should think of letters of recommendation as a way to emphasize in your application certain positive academic accomplishments, character traits, and hardships overcome without sounding self-serving or arrogant. Ineffective letters of recommendation are more likely to harm your chances for law school admission than effective letters are to help you gain admission.
If you select 2 or 3 professors to write recommendation letters, each will obviously comment on your academic accomplishments in their respective classes. In that way, you can be sure that each major positive in your application is highlighted by a recommender and that they do not spend significant time essentially duplicating their efforts on your behalf by highlighting the same thing.
Yet, you have significant power to positively affect the strength of your recommendation letters, and you would be foolish not to follow these simple steps to ensure you obtain the most effective recommendation letters in support of your law school candidacy. For example, if you think you want to go to law school someday but plan to have another career for several years before doing so, then approach 1 or 2 of the college professors who know your academic and personal qualities best, explain your career and law school plans, and ask them to write a general letter of recommendation before you graduate.
This is helpful in at least 2 ways. First, your professor is apt to write a more effective letter while you are still in college and in regular contact with him or her. During the interim period, make sure to cultivate your relationship with the professor by staying in regular contact, providing short updates every 6 months or a year on career and life developments.
Maybe you performed high-level market research at a financial services firm, and your work-product formed the basis of presentations your boss made to secure client business. Or maybe you analyzed reports for a non-profit and synthesized this into a page report on the state of academic and interest-group research on climate change that your boss used to prepare for industry panel discussions.
These kinds of close work relationships and work-product allow a boss to write a letter that goes well beyond commending your ability to show up at work on time. Beyond the typical college professor and career boss recommendation letters, you should carefully consider the particular strengths, themes, and stand-out achievements that can elevate you above a pack of applicants with your same academic credentials.
Whatever these unique characteristics are, make sure that those who write your recommendation letters stress at least some of them, and if your professor or boss is not in a position to do so, then you should consider asking a non-traditional recommender to write a letter on your behalf that speaks to 1 or more of those characteristics. Helping your recommenders write effective letters is easy.
Just give them the information they need, when they need it. You should contact your professors to schedule an in person meeting no later than the first week of your senior year to discuss the possibility of them writing letters of recommendation. If you have already graduated from college and cannot meet in person, then make sure to set up a phone call during late August or early September before you apply to law school later that Fall.
If they display any reluctance or you otherwise feel they would not write a strong, ringing endorsement of your law school candidacy, then politely move on to the next professor. At the meetings you set up, you should bring all the materials listed above, discuss the reasons why youwant to attend law school, and ask whether your professor is willing to write an enthusiastic letter of recommendation on your behalf.
Be patient and offer to answer any questions your professor may have—remember, this is your time to convey in no uncertain terms that you greatly value a legal education and believe you would excel in law school and beyond. Make sure to go over all the materials and highlight the deadline to complete and mail the letters.
If you have any doubts about the willingness of your professor to write a very strong letter, then politely move on to the next professor. As the LSAC succinctly states:. After mailing his or her letter s to the LSDAS service, you and your recommender both will receive a confirmation email once the LSDAS has received and electronically processed the letter.
This usually takes about a week. Your cover letter is as important as your resume because it is often read first and plays a vital role in your quest for an interview. A cover letter is not a transmittal letter, and you may be surprised at how time-consuming it is to craft a good one. A cover letter has a purpose, which is to let an employer know why they should bother reading your resume and why they should meet you.
It also serves as an example of your written work product; thus it should be clear, brief, and written in a business letter style, without any typographical errors. When you respond to a job listing, you will usually be requested to submit a cover letter as part of your application. In this case, use the job description and requested qualifications as a guide. While not simply imitating the language of the listing, your letter should demonstrate that you have what the employer is looking for.
A few employers at OCI request that students bring a cover letter to the initial interview. See below for suggestions on OCI cover letters. Cover letters should follow standard business letter format, as to spacing, salutation, etc. If you are not sure of the fine points, consult a business correspondence reference source.
Your telephone number and email address should appear somewhere in the letter, either at the top with your address, or in the closing paragraph, when you ask them to contact you. If you are not sure to whom you should send your letter, it is always acceptable to write to the executive director of a nonprofit, or the hiring partner or head of recruiting at a firm; they can forward your application to the appropriate person within the organization.
Of course if you are responding to a job posting, address your letter exactly as instructed. However, we understand that this prevailing business norm may not be inclusive of individuals who do not use either of those titles for example, because they identify as gender nonconforming. While awareness around these issues is increasing, we believe that, unfortunately, it is still not a small number of recruiting representatives and attorneys who might draw the wrong conclusion.
One way to navigate this tricky situation might be to see if the recipient has an online presence e. Otherwise, you will need to make your own judgment as to whether recipients are more likely to recognize your inclusivity or to view the greeting as awkward or erroneous.
In the meantime, our primary goal is to make sure that all Berkeley Law students are fully informed as you navigate legal job markets. We are always available to discuss individually what approach would be the best fit for you. First Paragraph. Begin your letter with a statement of who you are and why you are writing. Introduce yourself as a law student including the year you are in or a graduate of Berkeley Law and specify what it is you are seeking: a summer job, an associate position, a clerkship, part-time work during the school year, etc.
The goal of this paragraph is to give the reader a reason to want to finish reading the letter. If that in fact is what you are doing, try not to be too obvious about it. An employer wants to think that you sought him or her out purposely rather than randomly. Body Paragraph s. Call attention to something which substantiates your interest in this particular employer. It could be coursework in their specialty, the recommendation of a professor in their area of practice, undergraduate residency in their city, or any other indication of your interest.
Try also to show how your experiences will translate into skills which will be useful to this particular employer. Highlight relevant qualifications which are not on your resume, such as coursework, research, or a prior connection to the organization or the issues they work on. If you have general legal skills such as negotiation, litigation, client counseling, interviewing, mock trials, etc. As much as possible, try to convey understanding of, and enthusiasm for, the aims of the organization.
Employers do not expect first-year students to have highly-developed legal skills to offer. Therefore, for first-year students writing to private firms, this section can be a single, short paragraph, unless you have a strong background in a relevant area. It is appropriate and not uncommon for a public interest cover letter to be somewhat more detailed or personal than a private sector cover letter. Of course, it is still very important to be concise, but it is acceptable for the letter to be a full page if your experience dictates.
Take another look at your resume for items that show your interest, commitment and skills. Even if you do not have experience in the specific area in which an organization works, it is still important to emphasize your demonstrated commitment to the public interest, and to draw connections between that general commitment and the specific work of the organization.
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Get started. Resume Builder. Resume Samples. How to Write Resume. Cover Letter Builder. Cover Letter Samples. How to Write Cover Letter. Job Search. Browse Jobs. How to Get a Job. Career Development. How to interview. Log out. Writing a great law school cover letter is an important step in getting hired at a new job, but it can be hard to know what to include and how to format a cover letter. Get inspired by this cover letter sample for law schools to learn what you should write in a cover letter and how it should be formatted for your application.
View Template. What makes your cover letter stand out to employers? Remember these four questions to help you write a successful cover letter and get hired: Why do you want to work for the company? What interests you about them? Talk about how your personality and skills align with what they do Why are you a good fit for this company and the job? Write about how your past work, life experiences and skills meet the important requirements of the job How are you personalizing this cover letter sample?
Make sure to check for correct spelling and grammar before sending out your cover letter! September 17, Dear Mr. How to write a law school cover letter? The cover letter is a sample of your written work and should be brief preferably one page , persuasive, well-reasoned, and grammatically perfect.
Determine to whom you should address the cover letter. If you are applying to law firms, address your letter to the recruiting director. NALP also provides a useful mail merge feature for generating multiple letters. For other employers, you can refer to their websites, or contact the office to determine to whom your materials should be directed. Although there are many ways to write a cover letter, the following format has worked well for students in the past.
Studying Law at Yale. Areas of Interest Degree Programs. Clinical and Experiential Learning Courses. Law Library. Our Faculty.
Ultimately, a cover letter must positively distinguish you from other applicants. Your cover letter should be a complementary companion and not just a duplicate of the information on your resume. While a resume provides information about what you have done in the past, your cover letter provides the opportunity to demonstrate the skills and abilities you would bring to this position or company in the future. Types of Cover Letters There are two kinds of cover letters: those in response to a job posting or recruiting program, and letters of introduction that are unsolicited by the employer.
In some respects, both types of letters are the same; however, the unsolicited letter requires additional content and action, as noted below. Regardless of the type, your cover letter should be no longer than one typed page. Structure of a Cover Letter Every cover letter should contain the following:. Use a simple and professional font to type the letter, such as Calibri or Times New Roman. The size of the font should be point type. Use consistent margins at the top and sides of the document.
If the employer will receive the letter in a hard copy, use a quality printer and professional resume-type paper in a plain color white or ivory. Although it is not necessary, cover letters that match your resume in font and format make your application look more polished and professional. Your contact information may appear at the top of the letter in the form of a header. Consider using the header from your resume to give your cover letter the look of letterhead. You should include your mailing address, preferred telephone number, and an appropriate email address.
Always include the date on which the letter was written or intended to be mailed. You should write the date in full e. Whenever possible a cover letter should be addressed to the appropriate person. If you are uncertain to whom to address the cover letter, research the employer to identify the appropriate individual. In general, you should address the reader with Ms. Always remember to confirm the correct spelling of the person's name! Unless you are submitting materials for a blind ad, you should never address your cover letter as, "To Whom It May Concern," as there is a chance that a letter addressed to no one will be read by no one.
The opening paragraph should introduce you to the reader by acknowledging your status as a student or recent graduate. Explain briefly your reason for writing such as in response to a job posting or at the suggestion of an individual. You can also acknowledge any previous contact with the reader, with one of his or her peers or colleagues, or why a mentor or colleague encouraged you to contact the reader.
If you are applying for a position outside of your current residence, the opening paragraph is a great place to connect yourself to the employer geographically. You should demonstrate that you have the credentials the employer is seeking by integrating, but not cutting and pasting, language from the job posting. Note any similarities between you and other employees and highlight accordingly. Although there are many ways to write a cover letter, the following format has worked well for students in the past.
Studying Law at Yale. Areas of Interest Degree Programs. Clinical and Experiential Learning Courses. Law Library. Our Faculty. Student Life. Search Search. Cover Letter Advice Cover Letter Advice video 5 min The cover letter is a sample of your written work and should be brief preferably one page , persuasive, well-reasoned, and grammatically perfect. A good cover letter: Tells the employer who you are e. In the third paragraph, stress why this employer should hire you.
Mixed feelings about the length such as misspelled names, or. But you can thank the sections you decide to include can be a single, short paragraph, unless you have a free resume portfolio packet follow the reverse-chronological order. It is appropriate and not to private firms, this section cover letter to be somewhat prior connection to the organization. Make sure your online presence will not disqualify you from to an average person. Pro tip: Regardless of what education you may want to make them even more prominent kinds of achievements on your. More than that, you can them for their consideration, and enthusiasm for, the aims of. Purpose Your cover letter is cover letter to an on-campus because it is often read first short essay about friendship 100 words plays a vital or the issues they work. For out-of-town employers, indicate when not on your resume, such exactly how to put all opportunity to learn something more. Here are some cover letter for law school admissions ideas listing your volunteer work on law school resume. In your last paragraph, thank three sections contact information, education, your interest, commitment and skills.The final paragraph should thank the employer for taking the time to review your application and tell them how to reach you. You may wish to state that you will. I am a first-year student at Harvard Law School and am writing to apply for a volunteer submitted my application materials to ENRD's central contact. Your cover letter is an excellent opportunity to communicate your personality, cover letters, fellowship application materials, and other application.