Don’t let lack of experience deter you from applying for a job as a legal assistant or paralegal!
It is possible to obtain an entry-level position as a legal assistant if you know how to phrase your resume correctly.
Whether you are straight out of school with no work history, have work experience but no education, or have taken time off of work for a while…
You still have the potential to land your dream job in the legal field!
While it is becoming less common, it is not impossible to get a job as a legal assistant if you do not have experience or education. However, chances are you will be competing with other more qualified candidates. The field is becoming more competitive.
How to Write a No Experience Resume
The key is to make yourself sound equally or more qualified than other applicants. The job outlook is promising for the future, so you have a good chance of finding employment in a law firm, especially if you are already enrolled in classes to receive legal assistant education.
One way to make yourself stand out from the crowd is to specifically tailor your resume and cover letter for the position which you are applying for. By looking at the job listing or posting, you can glean exactly what the employer is looking for. If you incorporate those key words and phrases that are in the job listing into your documents, it will help set you apart.
If you are applying for multiple positions every week, you may not have the time to devote to tailoring your resume and cover letter each time. After you have applied for several jobs, you can develop a basic outline and make small adjustments for specific job listings. A great tip I have for you is to take three job posts each week and tailor a resume and cover letter that fits all three positions.
You can make up for lack of work history, be it no prior work at all or no legal experience, if you know how to correctly present the skills you do have. Everybody has to start somewhere, so don’t be embarrassed at your lack of experience. We all have life skills and experiences that afford us transferable skills.
If you have no experience, find an opportunity to volunteer. Preferably in a legal aid type situation to increase your knowledge of law offices, but any volunteer work is helpful. You may have access to work-study or internship programs through your school.
If you have prior work history, but do not have prior legal office experience, you can use legal jargon to describe your past work, using terms like: research, drafting, advisory, case management, disposition, evidence. You are more likely to be noticed when using legal key words.
Use longer descriptions for relevant, law-related experience; shorter descriptions for unrelated but significant experience.
If you do not have formal paralegal training, be sure to list any college courses or training that you have received.
If you don’t have much education, you can “pad” this section with personal and volunteer experiences and achievements.
If you are currently attending school or plan to in the near future, put that. You can even find classes on the internet for little or no money where you can learn a vast variety of topics.
It is okay to omit this heading altogether if you do not have any secondary education and graduated from high school years ago. You will just emphasize work history and skills even more.
Of course, the best way to ensure you get a good legal assisting job is to complete a Legal Assisting education. There are many options available to you, and it is easy to figure out which type of legal assistant school is right for you.
Make a list of your skills, and pay attention to what traits employers are seeking in their job postings. Once you start paying attention, you will likely find that you have more to offer than you first believed. You may be surprised how many of the top 10 qualities of a great legal assistant you already have. A lot of the things you already know are transferable skills that will be relevant to the job.
Our free legal assistant job search tool will find open positions for you to apply for in your local area.
We’ll continue to provide you with knowledgeable articles to help you on the road to becoming the Best Legal Assistant!