“Your best teacher is your last mistake”

At a recent internship interview, my potential future supervisor mentioned, “Yours is the first resume we’ve ever seen without a single typo.”*

I was flattered and disappointed at the same time. It feels good to stand out for quality, but why on Earth would this be true? Don’t other applicants take the time to review their resumes?

Spending most of a decade as an editor has made me unusually attuned to common grammatical errors. I still have to proofread everything multiple times, and I still make plenty of mistakes, so I won’t be spraining my shoulder patting myself on the back anytime soon.

I also take advantage of one huge resource that these typo-laden resume authors must not know or care about: the BU Law Career Development Office. The CDO is not staffed by a bunch of former editors, but it is full of fresh eyes eager to help students get internships and jobs. They are literally paid to make sure our resumes look top-notch.

Who’s reading your resume? In my earlier work, if I missed a mistake, the consequences were pretty serious.

Perhaps these applicants come from other schools that do not have the same resources, but I am not qualified to speculate about their career services. All I can say is that a BU student who passes on the CDO’s help is truly missing out.

I’ll be honest: At first, I was not all that interested in hearing what the CDO had to say about my resume. I knew it was good because I had gotten plenty of interviews with it before law school.

The CDO has seen people like me before, and they wore me down the best possible way: by being great at their jobs.

First, their handy resume handbook pleaded with me to cut that decade of experience down to one page. It was painful, but I did it. The handbook also told me that law resumes strictly conform to a certain format. So, as the former page designer in me winced, I conformed.

Then, I had a CDO adviser look my resume over. She (kindly) tore it apart — and found a typo. Consider me humbled.

After a couple of years at BU, I had a lot more legal experience to add to my resume — the same resume I had trouble trimming to one page before law school. It was back to the CDO with me: “My past is all very important to me, but please show me what’s not important to legal employers.” My adviser helped.

At this point, I am pretty comfortable editing my resume to accurately reflect my latest accomplishments, but I will not be getting overconfident just yet. A second set of eyes, as any editor will tell you, is always worth having around.

 

 

*The opportunity did not end up working out for logistical reasons completely unrelated to my interview. I will be in another great position this spring, and I am still actively seeking employment for after graduation.

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