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Other than samples of my writing, what is appropriate to be included in my portfolio and/or resume?

I am an adult-learner entering an entirely new field of employment. I am a paralegal student and am beginning to put together a portfolio. Samples of my writing will be included (case brief, legal memo, client letter, etc.), but I would like to know if it is appropriate for me to include other things, such as an email from my professor complimenting my quality of work, email indicating my inclusion on the school's merit list for academic excellence, and/or scholarship winner?

If not included in my portfolio, what about on my resume?
#paralegal #paralegals #law #women-in-law #resume #portfolio-management

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Kim’s Answer


Since you are an adult learner, and I work with adult job seekers, I want to point out a few observations. The first and probably most important is that nobody reads anymore. The samples of your work will be good. Your resume should be relatively short, easy to read (bulleted) and absolutely perfectly written (it is a reflection of the quality of work you will do for the law firm). It should incorporate some formatting beyond the basics. Do not be wordy! As you know, some legal documents are limited as to how long they can be. Lawyers like things written as concisely as possible. It does not mean that you say less - you simply say it in fewer words.

The recognition from the school, and the professor, can be mentioned, very briefly, on the resume. You should have copies of the actual letters available, in case requested, at the interview. You can include them at the back of your portfolio - the emphasis is on your work.

Also, since we live in the computer age, remember it is possible to vary your approach. You might simply send a resume and letter of interest to one firm, and include the sample of your work when sending to another firm.

Basically, the top 1/3 to 1/2 of the first page of your resume should make someone want to interview you. Those who excel at school don't necessarily excel in the work world, which we will address in your other question!

Also, do you have a LinkedIn account? Employers tend to look at them, so you will want to have one, properly completed, with a professional-looking photograph.

I'm real excited for you, and think it is cool we have this in common!


Kim, Thank you for the prompt response and for your feedback. At this stage of life, back in school and starting over, can feel overwhelming at times. Especially when preparing for my final semester and my "big leap" in to a job in the field is so very close. I am excited, but have some insecurities about it at the same time. Rachel F.

You're welcome! We all have doubts and insecurities, you are not alone! The key is to project self-confidence, even when you don't have it! I recommend finding a way to deal effectively with stress. Exercise is usually good. Realize that during the job search process, there may be a lot of rejection. Expect it. Don't let it feed your insecurities. You WILL find a job, it will just take time! Stay in touch! Kim Igleheart

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Katy’s Answer

I always carry a binder to my interviews with this type of information in it amongst other things, work history, awards, job recommendations etc...

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Yvette’s Answer

Here’s a helpful video to get your started: