0L, Advice, Law School, Lifestyle

Resume v. CV for Law School Applications

When I was applying for Law School I noticed quite a few schools give you an option as to whether you want to submit a Resume or a CV (Curriculum Vitae). A lot of people might not know what a CV is. To simplify it, a CV is a more elaborate Resume where you can go much more into depth on your academic history. On a Resume it is possible to highlight one or two elements of you academic history (e.g. research), but you can’t show it all.

For me, in undergrad I did a ton of research, but I didn’t work a lot, especially not work that was particularly relevant to the field of law. Mostly, the work I did do was retail and working at kids camps. Like I said, I did a ton of academic research, though, and it was actually my research that got me recognized by my department and helped me be able to attend a cool intensive conference for top students in my field. Because of all of that, I chose to do a CV.

Remember that overall, the purpose of applications (including the extra elements such as  resumes, personal statements, etc.) is to tell schools why they should accept you (similar to applying for jobs); you need to make yourself standout. So, your choice–whether Resume or CV–should make you standout most. Maybe you have a lot more relevant work experience? Remember that you don’t have to have undergrad/grad degrees in Political Science or Business to go to Law School, so maybe your academic history wouldn’t be as much of a boost for you as it was for me.

I know that for me it is often a lot more challenging to talk about myself and to make myself shine. Bragging about myself was just not something I was good at doing until my junior year of undergrad. That year I had to take a class called Personal Career Development where we actually learned the tools to help us get jobs, how to ace interviews, etc., etc. I would have never actually taken this class on my own, but it is a required class to graduate for my undergrad major. For all of you still in undergrad–regardless of what career you want to go into, or if you want to go to grad/professional school–I highly, highly recommend taking a class like this. One of the things I learned throughout the course of that class, and in life since, is that it’s easier for me to write cover letters/personal statements/choose what goes on a resume if I imagine that I’m helping someone else do this. If I think about it as me writing for me then it’s hard for me to choose what is actually impressive, or beneficial to add. For me, it’s just a lot easier to see the positives in/boast about someone else.

When I was writing my CV I went back through all of my undergrad research and made a list of all the relevant research. I also went back and forth between my CV and my Resume to make sure I didn’t leave information from my Resume off of my CV.

Regardless of whether you choose a Resume or a CV, a great resource to help you make a great Resume/CV is Purdue Owl. Seriously check this website out! It not only walks you through how to format them, they also have examples. They not only show you how to do Resumes and CVs, they also have all kinds of tips for interviews of all kinds (e.g. in-person, phone, Skype, etc.). BONUS, they also are an amazing resource for learning how to do all kinds of bibliographies (they are SO SO SO much better than citation machine (watch out for citation machine, it makes a lot of mistakes!) because you actually learn how to do the citation yourself). Also, if you do choose to do a CV also have a Resume on hand as well. While a lot of Law Schools do accept CVs not all of them do. And, don’t forget to pay attention to any CV/Resume requirements listed by the schools you apply to. Some of the schools want your CV/Resume to have certain elements you wouldn’t normally have.

As a quick side-note, before I end this post, there are some types of CVs that include a picture of yourself, these are NOT the type you want to do for your Law School applications! I’d just stick with a header that is similar, if not identical, to the one you have on your Resume.

I’ve said this before, but applying to Law School can be extremely tedious. It’s not always clear what is expected of you on the application and it can be quite nerve-wracking, trying to figure out exactly how to do everything in the best way that will gain you admission to your schools of choice. The internet is a GREAT resource, use it. You are not the first one to ever go through this and there are plenty of people out there with great tips and tricks who have been exactly where you are.

I hope this helps ya’ll!


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