Are you a law student looking for the perfect template to use when applying to Bay Street law firms in Toronto? Look no further. At the end of this article, you’ll find a link to download a top Bay Street law firm resume template. But before we get to the template, I want to cover the basics of a top Bay Street law firm resume.
What is a Bay Street Resume?
Bay Street is home to the largest and best known law firms in Canada. In addition to the Seven Sisters, Canada’s other leading firms and the international firms with a presence in Canada call Bay Street home. If you’re a law student, chances are that you’ve at least considered working on Bay Street at one point or another.
Law firms on Bay Street—including, to some extent, government agencies and public practice bodies—have their own resume standard. If you want to get hired by one of these organizations, you need to follow their format.
The downloadable resume at the bottom of this article is written from the perspective of a current law student who is recruiting for a summer or articling position at a law firm. If you’re currently an articling student or a junior associate, you could also use this downloadable resume with a few tweaks.
How to Write a Law Firm Resume
Make Your Resume Two Pages Long
I’ve hammered home the importance of keeping your resume short and concise. Many of my blog posts explicitly mention that your resume shouldn’t be more than one page long.
That page limit doesn’t apply if you’re looking for a job at a Bay Street law firm.
Law firms expect your resume to be two pages long. This does not, however, give you the liberty to write two dense pages of text. Keep in mind that recruiters don’t spend much time reading your application. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that recruiters make up their mind about a job applicant after spending just 7.4 seconds reviewing their materials.
Because of how little time recruiters spend reading your job application, you want to keep it concise and brief. At the same time, you have two pages to work with. If you have lots of experiences you want to share, this means that you’ll have to carefully select the most relevant ones to include. On the other hand, if you’re lacking in experiences to include in your resume, you might struggle to reach the two page expectation. If that’s the case, don’t artificially bulk up your resume by adding irrelevant content. Sometimes empty white space is better than unnecessary words.
As always, I recommend that you carefully review each and every word in your resume. Anything that doesn’t directly help show that you are the best candidate for the specific job you are applying for should be cut. This means that older and less relevant work experiences should be cut, as should less significant educational accomplishments and volunteer activities. This also means that the resume you submit to one law firm looks slightly different than the resume you submit to another, because each resume should be tailored to each law firm.
Use the Right Headings and Sections
You need to make sure that you include the right headings and sections in your resume.
Your resume should include, at a minimum, a section with your name and contact information, your education, and your work experiences. These three sections should take up about one page of your resume. To get up to two pages, you can add other sections such as “Publications”, “Honours and Awards”, and “Volunteer/Extra Curricular Experiences”. Click here for a comprehensive discussion on the different headings and sections you might include in your resume.
The last section in your Bay Street law firm resume should be “Other Activities / Interests”. This section gives you a chance to showcase your personality. Here, you can add information unrelated to your job application, such as the languages you speak, the sports you play, and the activities you do in your leisure time. Don’t mention law-related activities in this section. Keep it light and stick to who you are outside of working hours (while keeping it appropriate).
Write With Impact Statements
Impact statements are a powerful way to tell your story. Learn how to write impact statements here.
You should use action verbs that showcase your law-related skills. As a summer student, articling student, or junior associate, you’ll need to draw on a wide range of skills, including team work, management, organization, and attention to detail. I recommend using action verbs such as the following:
Follow the Right Formatting
Unless a law firm has given you advice to the contrary, you should use the following format for your resume:
- Font: Times New Roman
- Font Size: 11 or 12 point
- Margins: 2.54 cm (1 inch), although the top may be slightly less if you have a header
- Colour: None—all black and white
- Graphics & Images: None
While this type of formatting makes your resume somewhat boring, it also means the recruiter reading your resume won’t be distracted by formatting.
You should not end up in a position where you are fiddling with your resume’s formatting to fit in all of your text. You have, after all, two pages to work with. This is more than enough space to tell your story. You shouldn’t need to use a font smaller than 11 points, or have a need to shrink your margins below 1 inch. If you find yourself changing the formatting to cram in more text, consider cutting some words.
Download the Resume Template
Without any further delay, below is the download link for a great Bay Street law firm resume template. The file is saved as a Microsoft Word document.
I wrote the resume template from the perspective of a law student with some work experience and an undergraduate degree. You may need to make modifications to the template depending on your circumstances.
Keep in mind that this resume is a template. You will need to change it to make it your own masterpiece. While the tips mentioned in this article will help you make a better resume, there is no “one right way” to make a perfect resume.