When one goes on an interview, the first impression you make on the hiring authority
is usually going to leave a lasting impression; likewise with the presentation of
a resume. If the graphic formatting and content leave something to be desired, the
resume will not receive the serious attention you think it deserves.
For Intellectual Property professionals some of the standard rules of resume construction
do not always apply; for instance, the statements at the top of a resume entitled
Career Objectives or Experience Summary. For those in a field where dozens of resumes
are being reviewed daily these titles may be useful. The person going over dozens
of resumes at once is not going to spend more than 30 seconds on each one. The brief
statement on top of a resume, even one filled with boilerplate adjectives, provides
a quick and easy way for the reader to determine their level of interest. A patent
attorney’s resume is not going to be reviewed with dozens of others all at once.
Because of the specialized field of intellectual property, comparatively few resumes
are going to be reviewed for any one particular position. When they are reviewed
they are done so with care and attention. With that in mind, here are a few helpful
suggestions to keep in mind:
- Dispense with the aforementioned titles at the top of the resume.
- Start with your educational profile. For your JD, make sure to include all the activities
(Moot Court, Law Review, etc.) you participated in, as well as any honors, class
rank and/or GPA. Some attorneys believe that if they have been out of law school
for 4-5 years or more, how they did in law school is secondary to their legal experience.
Whether you are 2 years out or 20 years, put down all relevant law experience. Other
than a Recruiting Coordinator, your resume is going to be reviewed by another patent
attorney so thoroughness and precision are important.
- For an MS degree, a GPA is superfluous; everyone’s GPA in grad school is high.
- For undergrad degree (as with the law degree), be as thorough as possible.
- In mentioning your patent prosecution experience, do not just say you have prosecuted
in the electrical, mechanical, or chemical arts. Be specific about the technologies
in those broad arts categories.
- Do not quantify how many applications you have drafted from scratch, unless you want
to update your resume on a weekly basis.
- List your engineering or scientific jobs (if applicable), with the years of employment,
your title and employer name. Do not spend too much resume space on detailing all
your duties and responsibilities. After all, you are applying for an intellectual
property position, not an engineering/scientific one.
- List your current bar admissions. We have seen resumes where this information has
not been included.
- Include all of your active professional memberships, as well as a list of all your
periodicals and presentations. If you have a very lengthy list you may want to type
a list of articles and presentations are available upon request.
- Do not list the names of your references and their contact information. References
will be requested (usually) by the hiring authority at the proper time during the
- If you feel compelled to include personal data, list some of your active interests
such as tennis, bicycling, hiking, etc. If you enjoy reading non-fiction or murder
mysteries-great, but do not list any sedentary activities on a resume. Also, do not
list family information or marital status. If you choose to, you can volunteer personal
data during the interview. Many resumes will list Health: Excellent. What other type
of condition would you put down? Eliminate this from the resume.
- Do not let yourself be hamstrung by the common notion of the one page resume. One
page may suffice for someone with five years or less of experience. If your legal
experience spans a 10-20 year career, take as much space as you feel is necessary
to detail all your experience.
If you would like to submit your resume to Tech Law Recruiting, Inc.® please visit
our Contact page.