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1L Summer Job Search Tips: Application Materials

October 30, 2018

The first step in your 1L summer job search is to start thinking about your job application materials. Your application materials will typically consist of a resume, a cover letter, and several supporting documents (references, writing samples, and transcripts). 

resume is your written presentation of your skills, talents, and abilities to a prospective employer. You want it to be as active, as strong, and as descriptive of your skills and achievements as possible, while in a concise format. Please review our Do’s and Don’ts for 1L Resume Writing, as well as information about drafting your resume and our sample resumes online. If you have not yet had your resume reviewed by a CP&P counselor, please make an appointment to have it reviewed at your convenience.

Cover Letter
Whenever you send your resume to an employer, it will be accompanied by a cover letter. The cover letter you send to an employer must fulfill two important functions - it must stimulate the employer’s interest in you and also express your interest in working for that particular employer. A common mistake, however, is to focus entirely on how the summer experience will be valuable for you and your career, rather than highlighting how your attributes will be valuable to your prospective employer. Please refer to our website for sample cover letters.

Once you receive your first semester grades, employers will generally expect to see your law school transcript (an unofficial copy will suffice unless the employer specifies otherwise). Until then, you should have a copy of your undergraduate transcript available should an employer ask for it. 

Writing Sample
You will also need a writing sample to bring to interviews and, on occasion, to include in initial applications along with your resume and cover letter. Selecting a strong writing sample is very important. In recent years, employers have become increasingly likely to ask for written work and to review it carefully as part of the evaluation process. It is very common for 1Ls to use work product from their Legal Practice Skills course as a writing sample.

Reference Sheet
Some employers will ask for a reference sheet. List your references on a separate page titled in the same way as your resume (with your name and address in the same typeface and style), and list your best reference first. The general rule is to include two or three professional and/or academic references. Please see our website for a sample reference sheet.

Reminder: According to NALP guidelines, first year law students should not contact employers or submit job applications before December 1.