Community Perspectives: How would you change your resume from the standard law school format for an in-house position at a tech company?

In-house legal professionals talk about how they change their resume format for tech company applications.

Community Perspectives: How would you change your resume from the standard law school format for an in-house position at a tech company?

(Author) Associate

Where does everyone stand on resume formats for in-house jobs at tech companies? My resume format is the very standard law school format with paragraph descriptions and my husband (a software engineer at a tech company) suggested I use bullets points and move my education section to the bottom. What are your thoughts?

General Counsel Responses:

  • Definitely use bullet points. I’ve been in-house my whole career and also have been a hiring manager. I don’t think where you went to law school is as big of a factor in-house. I moved my education to the bottom once I had a few years of work experience.

Counsel Responses:

  • I got my format from Etsy and interviewed at Meta, Google, and Apple. I would definitely go with bullets, but would consider something a little less traditional if you are looking at tech. My education is off to the side. I wouldn’t put it at the top of your resume unless you just graduated. Here is the link to the template - https://www.etsy.com/market/resume_template 

  • I used the same resume format I’ve been using since law school and so has my attorney husband, and of us have gotten interviews at plenty of big tech companies. I would definitely use bullet points, though, because no one has time to read paragraphs. Both of us put our education information at the top. Lead with your best foot forward though - so if your law school is less impressive, maybe move it down.

  • I work at a tech company in-house and have also interviewed at several other tech companies for in-house positions. I use bullet points and put my education at the bottom.

  • This may be controversial advice, but if you went to a top law school leave it at the top. If you didn’t, move it to the bottom.

  • In-house this really doesn’t matter the way it does in BigLaw. There are people that care but I’d say it’s hiring manager-dependent.

  • It depends on the place. I’m on my 3rd in-house job and my law school helped a lot for the 1st and 3rd job where the legal teams were more snobby about schools. The 2nd legal team didn’t care, because they hadn’t gone to a top school.

  • Sometimes you can tell by the job description whether they are snobby about schools. If the job posting mentions anything about going to a top school or having top grades and you have either one of those, then I’d put that at the top.

  • Good point — if they specify top school in the job description, I'd definitely keep it up there. I just checked the listing for my current job and it’s not mentioned, though, and it’s a team heavy with T14 talent.

Attorney and Associate Responses:

  • Is it appropriate to use some of their styled formats for in-house attorneys? Using banners and photos?

  • I wouldn’t do a photo, but mine has a banner. It depends on where you’re applying, but in tech I think a resume like this helps. If I was applying to a more traditional company, I’d do something more muted.

  • Curious. Did you get those interviews through referrals or direct website applications? And is it okay for it to be more than a page (if you have more than just a couple years of experience)?

  • I got those interviews through direct applications. Now that I’m here I have friends in HR. Referrals don’t help that much. Your resume needs to stand out on its own. All the referral does is guarantee that you get a response back if rejected.

  • I’ve always used bullet points and moved education to the bottom when I was looking to leave law firms and go in-house - not at a tech company though.

  • Definitely put education below experience, and use bullets. No one wants to read paragraphs.

  • People pay the most attention to the top 1/3 of your resume, so you should put the most important points there.

In-house? Be a part of the conversation on Fishbowl (anonymous).

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