Tips to Craft a Legal Resume for a Post-Pandemic Hiring Environment

By Jamy J. Sullivan, J.D.,
Robert Half 

How can professionals seeking a new job in the legal field maximize their chances of success in a business environment that has been forever changed by the pandemic?  

Start by updating your resume. This is your first touchpoint with a potential employer, and if you don’t want it to be your last, it’s critical to emphasize the skills and qualities legal managers will value in the post-pandemic environment. Here are five tips to craft a resume that can help you stand out from the crowd.  

  1. Play up your pandemic-era wins 

Yes, it’s been several years since the pandemic hit but try to think back on how you adjusted to the necessary changes. Legal employers are less interested in candidates who “made it through” than in ones who adapted quickly, thrived and notched-up wins for their organization, so focus on things such as how well you helped your firm transition to virtual depositions or how you trained your dispersed teammates to effectively use cloud collaboration tools. Weave success stories like these into your work history section using the CAR formula: Challenge, Action, Result. Use strong verbs like “launched,” “expanded” and “spearheaded,” and try to highlight achievements relevant to the needs of the firm or legal department you’re applying with. 

Also, include numbers and metrics that demonstrate your impact. Did you help your law firm or legal department reduce costs during the pandemic, and if so, by how much? If you met or beat your targets for litigation matters closed or contracts executed, put a figure on it. Precise data tells a compelling story because it’s unique to you, whereas vague descriptors like “large” and “substantial” often feel like boilerplate. 

  1. Highlight your remote working skills 

One of the most significant legacies of the pandemic is the normalization of remote and hybrid working. If you’re applying for a “work from anywhere” position, using keywords like “agile” and “flexible” can show an employer how quickly you adapted, if they truly apply to you, of course. If possible, cite any pandemic-disrupted projects you worked on that you helped shepherd to the finish line by drawing on your resilience and problem-solving skills. 

Remote working skills are highly transferable, so don’t hesitate to underscore them even if you’re applying for a full-time office role. Managers value self-starters who can work with minimal supervision, whether those employees are down the hall or on the other side of the country. 

  1. Emphasize collaboration as well as communication skills 

“Stellar communication skills” is a staple phrase on legal job posts, and you need to include some form of it on your resume. But consider updating your current response to include interacting with colleagues using technology, from instant messaging platforms to cloud-based project management software.  

Unless your knowledge is expert level, don’t overstate your proficiency in these technologies. Hiring managers will be more interested in how you leverage collaboration tools to boost productivity and revenue — for example, reducing your dependence on meetings and email to increase the number of hours you can spend on legal matters or if you work for a law firm, on billable activities. 

  1. Address any COVID-related work gaps 

Employment gaps aren’t the red flag they used to be. Perhaps you were laid off during the pandemic but picked yourself up quickly and took on some contract work, nonprofit or pro bono work or pursued professional development opportunities. In the current hiring market, many legal employers are prioritizing talent and potential over a flawless work history. They will view your ability to adapt during disruptive times as a strength. 

  1. Review multiple job postings 

You already know to tailor your professional summary and skills sections to the requirements listed in job postings. A less obvious but equally valuable tip is to read through multiple job postings for positions like the one you’re applying for. Look for patterns — requirements, phrases or keywords that appear across several listings. By spotting these repetitions, you’ll get a feel for the broader trends in your practice area and can optimize your resume accordingly. 

Ready to refresh your resume? Before you do, it’s worth remembering what hasn’t changed. The legal resume is still a formal document. Err on the side of conservative — no charts, graphics or vibrant templates. Keep everything simple, clean and concise, reflecting who you are — a serious legal professional who deserves to pass to the interview stage. 

Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract and permanent placement solutions, and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit