Modern digital technology has become critical for the legal industry. It makes sense that legal professionals with the ability to use this technology are in ever higher demand. Those attorneys and support professionals who have the tech know-how to navigate this landscape have a true advantage in the hiring process.
However, legal professionals also need to know how to advertise their tech proficiency to prospective employers. This is especially true in an industry that is still somewhat resistant to technology, like the legal field, where many employers and interviewers will not be as well-versed in tech as the job seeker. Accordingly, the burden is on applicants to draw attention to their tech savvy.
Here are seven resume tips for tech-savvy legal professionals who want to highlight their skills.
#1: List relevant tech skills
The simplest way to showcase your tech skills is to simply list them on your resume. Any knowledge or ability related to technology used in the legal workplace matters here, ranging from time-keeping to calendaring to case management. Not only will employers have confidence in your tech abilities, they will know they can spend less time training you on their software and tech systems.
#2: Highlight tech experience
In addition to listing your tech skills, your resume should also highlight any tech experience you have. The purpose is to go beyond simply listing your tech skills to providing examples of how you put those skills into action. For example, you may have coordinated a large project using a certain software platform, or you may have enabled a large-scale tech shift in a workplace. Include these snippets in your summary of duties and accomplishments for each position you have held. This will be an even more compelling demonstration of the tech proficiency you bring to the table.
#3: No out-of-date email addresses
One major mistake to avoid on a resume is using an outdated email address. Specifically, using older email domains such as Hotmail, Yahoo or AOL indicates a job seeker who is out of touch with modern technology. To maintain the employer’s impression of you as a tech-proficient applicant, consider switching to a more modern email domain such as Gmail.
#4: Be specific about your tech knowhow
When listing your tech skills, it is helpful to be specific about the software and platforms where you are proficient. This is especially true if you know the employer uses a certain type of software you are experienced with. But even if this is not the case, including this level of detail will make a stronger case for your tech capabilities.
#5: Avoid listing basic tech skills
While it helps to be specific with legal technology you are familiar with, you should also avoid listing overly basic tech skills. Your expertise with Facebook or Microsoft Office, for example, will likely not impress many employers. On the contrary, including these types of basic tech skills will make it appear you are either grasping at straws to demonstrate your tech proficiency, not familiar with tech to any great degree of sophistication, or both. Definitely not the impression you want to leave.
#6: Utilize action verbs
Using action verbs is a key method for drawing attention to your tech skills. When describing your accomplishments in past positions, avoid generic verbs like “worked” and “managed.” Instead go with stronger action verbs, such as “created”, “implemented” or “spearheaded.” Your goal is to tell a compelling story, not just recite job duties.
When you discuss your computer skills in the job experience section of your resume, lead off each sentence with an action verb. Besides painting a compelling picture of your tech proficiency, these verbs give any person reviewing the resume some key information — what your tech skills are and how you used them. So if you are skilled with a certain case management software, for example, you could state how you “organized” or “coordinated” legal matters or activities using that software.
#7: Highlight tech skills in correct sections of your resume
Beyond describing your use of tech skills in your work experience, you can more directly highlight your tech savvy in some important sections of your resume. One is the professional summary, often placed at the top of the resume. This section is typically a few sentences summarizing your experience and stand-out skills, which makes it a natural place to include your tech capabilities.
Another common section is a summary of skills, usually coming after the professional summary. This could alternatively be titled “Technical Skills”, although legal professionals may want to highlight non-technical skills as well. In either event, you can simply list out the platforms you are experienced with here. While this may not yet be the customary approach for attorneys, paralegals and other legal support professionals might find it useful.
No matter what your specific tech skills are, follow these tips to make those skills shine on your resume. Your career in the legal profession will be better for it.