Personal Injury Paralegal Resume Review

The Personal Injury Paralegal Resume Review

Thank you for all of your submissions this week for the paralegal resume review program! We selected a resume from a personal injury paralegal who lost their position last month due to layoffs at the law firm. 

Before we jump in and share the different sections of the original version of the resume and the revised version, I first wanted to share a few general insights on paralegal resumes.

  1.  Keep the tables and other special design formats to a minimum.  That is because your resume is probably going through some type of parsing software. 

What is resume parsing software?  It is software that allows the computer to extract data and keywords from your resume and put those into the employer’s recruiting system.  This is used so that they can later do searches on different types of criteria.  For example, suppose I am a paralegal manager who ran an advertisement (and paid money for that ad). In that case, I want to keep those resume submissions so that I can search them when another position opens up next month instead of paying for another online advertisement. 

If you are using a Word resume template with a table as part of the formatting, that table may prevent the parsing software from accurately extracting dates and other data from your resume.

  • Remember the essential rule that we covered in our Resume Drafting Tips:  the white space on your resume is valuable real estate.  Don’t waste the white space on things that won’t get your foot in the door for an interview (or your face on Zoom for a telephone interview!).
  • Keep your fonts and styles to a maximum of 3.  You can bold headings and use a bigger font size, but don’t bold, italicize, and underline your headings that are already a larger font than the rest of the resume.

First, here is the original version of the resume that was submitted. 

NAME

Contact Information  

PROFILE

Personal Injury Paralegal who is an organized, dedicated and hard-working legal professional with experience working in plaintiff’s personal injury and insurance defense.

EXPERIENCE

September 2017-September 2020Personal Injury Paralegal Support attorneys with legal research and document management in preparation for civil and criminal trials. for trials. Schedule and conduct client, witness, and attorney interviews in preparation for filing personal injury claims and for depositions and trial. Administrative support, including database and file management, answering phones and general office duties
June 2015-August 2017Personal Injury Case Manager Handled all aspects of pre-litigation personal injury files, from initial client intake through the demand letter. Maintained firm’s master calendar.
January 2015 – June 2015Insurance Defense Paralegal Worked with the insurance defense team, defending personal injury cases.

EDUCATION

College Name, Degree, Dates (removed for identity reasons)
Certified Registered Paralegal, National Federation of Paralegal Associations

KEY SKILLS AND CHARACTERISTICS

Critical Thinking
Handling Pressure
Leadership
Problem Solving
Microsoft Office Suite
LexisNexis & Westlaw
90 WPM Typing Speed
Adaptability

ACTIVITIES AND INTERESTS

Literature, environmental conservation, art, yoga, skiing, travel

We’ll look at each section below and insert comments for suggested revisions.

General Overall Review of a Personal Injury Paralegal Resume

Generally, the resume is easy to read, does a good job with section headings, and it was a very good choice of font types.  I was also happy not to see an “objective” section! It’s like this person already read the Sections to Delete from Your Resume article that we published a while back.

This person has some excellent experience working as a personal injury paralegal, and we’d want them to focus on that experience in their resume.

Resume Heading Section – Original Version

NAME

Contact Information  

Advice

The font for the name is too large.  It’s currently at 32 and a different color.  It’s good to have the name and contact information stand out, but it should be reduced to a smaller font to take up less of that valuable white space and allow more room to add to the experience section while still keeping it on one page.

The layout of this table template has all of the text inside each section indented too far.  It’s a common problem with table layouts.  All of the text in these sections should be moved to the left margin to allow for more room to add important text.

Resume Heading Section – Revised Version

NAME

Contact Information  

Profile Section – Original Version

PROFILE

Personal Injury Paralegal who is an organized, dedicated and hard-working legal professional with experience working in plaintiff’s personal injury and insurance defense.

Advice

Since this section is the first section, the reader will see, use it to highlight your skills and experience.  This section could be revised slightly for each resume submission, depending on the position.  For example, if the advertised position is for a personal injury paralegal with at least 3 – 4 years of experience working in a fast-paced plaintiff’s personal injury firm, try to hit on some of those points in this section (or the section we will call the “Summary of Key Qualifications”).

Revised Version

SUMMARY OF KEY QUALIFICATIONS

Personal Injury Paralegal with more than 5 years of experience working in all phases of the personal injury practice area. Efficiently and effectively manage more than 80 active claim files and litigation files while providing excellent service to the firm’s clients. 

Experience Section – Original Version

EXPERIENCE

September 2017-September 2020Personal Injury Paralegal Support attorneys with legal research and document management in preparation for civil and criminal trials. for trials. Schedule and conduct client, witness, and attorney interviews in preparation for filing personal injury claims and for depositions and trial. Administrative support, including database and file management, answering phones and general office duties
June 2015-August 2017Personal Injury Case Manager Handled all aspects of pre-litigation personal injury files, from initial client intake through the demand letter. Maintained firm’s master calendar.
January 2015 – June 2015Insurance Defense Paralegal Worked with the insurance defense team, defending personal injury cases.

Advice

This paralegal has some excellent work experience as a personal injury paralegal.  Let’s elaborate more on the essential skills that this paralegal has obtained in each role, especially if we can tie them back to some of the paralegal job duties that are listed in the advertisement.

It’s unnecessary to list all of your paralegal duties, especially if those are administrative.  Most paralegal managers and lawyers know that there will be some administrative duties that a paralegal must do as part of their job.  Instead, use that space to highlight the job skills you have acquired in your current role to excel in your next paralegal position.

Experience Section – Revised Version

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

September 2017-September 2020PERSONAL INJURY PARALEGAL
Support attorneys with legal research and document management in preparation for civil and criminal trials. Schedule and conduct client, witness, and attorney interviews in preparation for filing personal injury claims and filing civil actions. In this role, I typically manage a caseload of 70 – 90 active personal injury files with a high level of attention to detail, leadership, and adaptability. While in this role, I have developed an internal case management protocol (Personal Injury Case Checklist) used by all of the paralegals in the firm to increase efficiencies on all personal injury cases to move them towards the demand and settlement phase in a shorter time period.
June 2015-August 2017PERSONAL INJURY CASE MANAGER
Handled all aspects of pre-litigation personal injury files, from initial client intake through the demand letter, including client interviews, medical records retrieval, and management, medical status update reports to attorneys, drafting demand letters, communication with insurance adjusters, and more.
January 2015 – June 2015INSURANCE DEFENSE PARALEGAL
Worked under the supervision of a senior litigation paralegal on the insurance defense team, defending insurance companies being sued on personal injury cases.  I gained a tremendous amount of hands-on training that significantly increased my paralegal skill set.

Key Skills and Characteristics Section – Original Version

KEY SKILLS AND CHARACTERISTICS

Critical Thinking
Handling Pressure
Leadership
Problem Solving
Microsoft Office Suite
LexisNexis & Westlaw
90 WPM Typing Speed
Adaptability

Since we’ve changed the “profile section” to the Summary of Key Qualifications, it is unnecessary to have a section with a similar title.  Better use of this white space is to highlight the paralegal’s technology skills.  Instead, try to incorporate some of the characteristics into the cover letter or the answers to interview questions because most employers like to hear about specific examples when it comes to characteristics.  If you do put characteristics on your resume, be sure to have a short story of example that shows how you have used that characteristic to help you in your paralegal role.

Revised Version

TECHNOLOGY SKILLS

Clio
Needles Case Management
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
LexisNexis & Westlaw
90 WPM Typing Speed

Education Section – Original Version

EDUCATION

College Name, Degree, Dates (removed for identity reasons)
Certified Registered Paralegal, National Federation of Paralegal Associations

The only change needed to this section is to move the left margins over to be consistent with the other margins that were changed. Also, consider adding paralegal CLE courses that specifically relate to the practice area you are working in or trying to get a position in. For example, if this person had taken our Personal Injury Paralegal Boot Camp course, they should list it below their CRP designation. You should not list all CLE courses you’ve taken, but you should list a few key courses if they show that you are adding value to your career and to the potential employer.

Education Section – Revised Version

EDUCATION

College Name, Degree, Dates (removed for identity reasons)
Certified Registered Paralegal, National Federation of Paralegal Associations

Final section – Original version

ACTIVITIES AND INTERESTS

Literature, environmental conservation, art, yoga, skiing, travel

Advice

Delete this section in its entirety. Keeping in mind that resume white space is valuable and should only contain information that the employer can use to determine if you are the right candidate for the job. Instead, we used this white space to add more text to the “professional experience” section, which is far more important than personal activities and interests.

Here is the revised resume in its entirety.  We kept it in the “table template” format only because we didn’t want this paralegal to have to go back and edit it again if they wanted to stick with this format (but it is highly recommended to remove the formatting!).

NAME

Contact Information  

SUMMARY OF KEY QUALIFICATIONS

Personal Injury Paralegal with more than 5 years of experience working in all phases of the personal injury practice area. Efficiently and effectively manage more than 80 active claim files and litigation files while providing excellent service to the firm’s clients. 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

September 2017-September 2020PERSONAL INJURY PARALEGAL
Support attorneys with legal research and document management in preparation for civil and criminal trials. Schedule and conduct client, witness, and attorney interviews in preparation for filing personal injury claims and filing civil actions. In this role, I typically manage a caseload of 70 – 90 active personal injury files with a high level of attention to detail, leadership, and adaptability. While in this role, I have developed an internal case management protocol (Personal Injury Case Checklist) that is used by all of the paralegals in the firm to increase efficiencies on all personal injury cases to move them towards the demand and settlement phase in a shorter time period.
June 2015-August 2017PERSONAL INJURY CASE MANAGER
Handled all aspects of pre-litigation personal injury files, from initial client intake through the demand letter, including client interviews, medical records retrieval and management, medical status update reports to attorneys, drafting demand letters, communication with insurance adjusters, and more.
January 2015 – June 2015INSURANCE DEFENSE PARALEGAL
Worked under the supervision of a senior litigation paralegal on the insurance defense team, defending insurance companies being sued on personal injury cases.  Gained a tremendous amount of hands-on training that significantly increased my paralegal skill set.

EDUCATION

College Name, Degree, Dates (removed for identity reasons)
Certified Registered Paralegal, National Federation of Paralegal Associations

TECHNOLOGY SKILLS

Clio
Needles Case Management
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Excel
LexisNexis & Westlaw
90 WPM Typing Speed

If you would like your resume reviewed and revised, submit it to us (support at paralegal-bootcamp.com) before Friday afternoon to be considered for next week’s review.  We’ll choose one resume each week for the next month.  Remember to remove your name, personal information, employer names, and school names.  We’ll select one resume each week, and you will receive the revised resume in a Word file so that you can continue to edit it. You can learn more about the Paralegal Resume Review Program here.

No comments yet! You be the first to comment.

Add Comment:

Your email address will not be published.