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Dealing with Employment Gaps on Your Resume

April 15, 2010

Inside Counsel published an article about dealing with resume gaps and 2009 end dates.  The article gives some practical advice, but I think some of it should be taken with a grain of salt.  For example, the article states that recruiters or employers will frown upon entering “solo practice” to fill a resume gap because “some readers will conclude that you are engaged in typical solo work: real estate house closings, wills and trusts, etc.  This does not help your candidacy.”  Really? Isn’t it better to be doing something with your license? What is the better option?

The article certainly does have an opinion as to what the better options are. They are as follows:

1) Obtain an of counsel or special counsel title with a name brand law firm. Obviously, not everyone can simply call a “name brand” law firm and ask to be of counsel.  However, if you do have the experience and chops to do so, I think this is a great idea.

2) Project work with a legal department. If you read between the lines, the article suggests listing doc review experience…except the article also discourages candidates from indicating explicitly that they were doing doc review.

“For example:  ‘Microsoft. Working on-site intellectual property project reporting to Assistant General Counsel via staffing firm.’ Make sure the entry cannot be mistaken for low level document review work.” (The article does warn to obtain permission prior to listing a client such as Microsoft on your resume.)

I’m sure there are a variety of opinions on this topic.  I’ve heard other pedigree-minded attorneys say that it’s good to name drop your connections with big law, even if the connection was through doc review.  What’s your opinion?

3) High level non-legal work. The article suggests volunteering for a U.S. Senate campaign.  More realistically is volunteering for high profile non-profits such as United Way or the Red Cross…and even better is doing non-profit legal work.

Let’s hear your take on the article which can be found here.

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