Are You Experienced?

Q.A. Otenger Columns, Lawyer Leave a Comment

EXPERIENCE. This is a very tough section of my resume, so I have saved it for last. Isn’t that what an accomplished professional does? Saves the hardest for last? Makes sense to me because, although admittedly unlikely, what if I suffered through the hard part, then died? What a waste of energy and mental capital. Don’t do the hard part til you’re sure you need to.

(Another case in point—ironing. The neighbor to my childhood home ironed all her ironables on Sunday to get ready for the week. Even as a child, I looked upon her with pity. What a waste. I knew even then that one week she’d die and would have at least a few days of clothes ironed that needn’t have been.)

Why is this section so hard? Because I must walk a fine line between telling the reader that I have terrific experience in law but want to do something else. Tricky. I read once that people have a hard time changing fields because their resume is written describing someone you’d want to hire for their original field of work. So, if I’d spent 28 years driving a backhoe, detailed those jobs in EXPERIENCE, then submitted it for a job as an arts curator—you get the picture. My objective is to say, “I am so good at what I used to do that I want to repurpose my skills in your employ doing something completely different.” Sounds Monty Python-ish

Lastly, according to my research, I am to give short shrift to tasks and skills but drone on about my accomplishments. The idea is that the recruiter thinks he is reading about my experience but I am really moving him with my stellar accomplishments. Stealth. Here goes.

XYZ Law Firm

  • Successfully drafted multiple memos laying forth the finer points of some arcane legal point, in hopes of impressing the partner with my fine legal analysis in a time frame he can bill to the client with a clear conscience
  • Skillfully negotiated my way as the only female attorney in a firm with thirty male attorneys, twenty-nine of whom had wives home fulltime attending to their every need, while I feigned interest in a great deal of mindless jabbering about various college and professional football, basketball, and baseball games
  • Astutely assisted clients effectively making them think I had more expertise than I did
  • Tirelessly tracked my time, effectively spreading out my trips to the restroom so no one client would bear the brunt of my waste elimination time

Other Legal Employment

  • Demonstrated success in working in various jobs, all of which had some legal knowledge component so I would not have to come to terms with attending law school for no reason.
  • Successfully led a team of one person, including myself
  • Strategically implemented automatic deposit of my paycheck
  • Enthusiastically purchased all wreaths, cookies, candy, and raffle tickets hawked by my coworkers on behalf of their children
  • Timely handled all recorded greetings on my office phone, including revised greetings during time of vacation
  • Authored away messages on my email account
  • Skillfully pretended to read and comprehend the employee handbook, instructions for the copy machine and postage meter

My resume is now complete.

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