Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

How to Help Your High School Seniors Prepare for their College Interviews

By Randi Lewis

The college application process is around the corner. It is a stressful time for students and their parents, in part because of the increasing competitive nature of the process. When we work with high school students to help them prepare for interviews, their parents often take an active role in the process. We go through "The ABC's of Interviewing" with our students and our parents so that our parents can take home what they have learned in our preparation sessions and help empower their children to be themselves and to do their best. Here are a few tips for parents to help your teenager navigate the interview process. We call them, “THE THREE P’s.” PREPARE ~ PRACTICE ~ PRAISE

PREPARE. Help your child prepare. Study the school’s website with your child. Help your child organize and write down:

  • Academic or career goals.
  • Interest in each school.
  • Accomplishments such as AP classes, honors, extra-curricular activities, unique interests.
  • Why each school would be a good fit, finding commonality between something about the school's values, culture, academic program, etc., and your child. (Examples: Yale's honor code is similar to the honor code in your child's school; UCLA's commitment to public service is important to your child because it offers opportunities to give back to the community like your child has done in high school; the small class learning environment of University of Maryland's Honors Program is of itnterest to your child because . . . .)

PRACTICE. Help your child practice. Strategizing while role playing works well for some students. Others prefer just talking. Play it by ear.

  • Start with a firm handshake and eye contact. Both are important in making a good impression.
  • Help your child practice talking about him/herself and his or her academic and career goals.
  • Help your child practice talking about his or her interest in that school, weaving in the commonalities between the school and your child's accomplishments, interests and goals.
  • Help your child devise three questions for the interviewer.
  • Practice answering and asking questions and talk about what to say at the end of each interview.

PRAISE. Praise your child’s efforts.

  • Understand your child is under tremendous pressure to continue high school studies and extracurricular activities while completing college applications.
  • Let your child know OFTEN how proud you are of how well he or she is juggling the demands of school, extracurricular activities, and the college application process.

A WORD ABOUT ATTIRE. Discuss how your child will dress for each interview. The dress may vary by school but here are a few things your child must keep in mind:

  1. Don't dress like a kid. No shorts. No tennis shoes. No short skirts or low cut blouses.
  2. Boys should wear a suit or khaki pants a white or blue shirt and a dark blazer.
  3. Girls should wear a knee length skirt with a jacket and a white shirt.
  4. Dressing up, even if you feel overdressed, is a sign of respect.
  5. No weird piercings. Remove the nose ring.
  6. Keep your hair well-groomed.

Trust the process. Randi

© 2006 Resume Boutique LLC™. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Thirty-Something, Forty-Something and Changing Careers

We are working with a growing number of professionals who, for one good reason or another, have decided in your thirties and forties that you need a change. Each of you has a different reason for wanting a change. Your flexibility to make a change will depend largely on your family and financial situations. Some of you provide the sole financial support for yourselves or your families. Others share the financial burden. Others are going back to work after a hiatus managing your families. And some of you need flexibility so that you can continue to manage your families. Some of you can relocate and others can't. Notwithstanding these differences, there are some general things you can do to conduct a meaningful job search.
  1. Define and Package Your Story. Define what you want to do. Then package that desire in one paragraph that has an upbeat tone to use when you see people at the store, at social functions and elsewhere to let people know you are looking for a new challenge.
  2. Contact Your Base. Make a list of 100 to 250 people you know including relatives, friends, business colleagues, colleagues of family and friends. Call, email or write a personal note advising them that you are looking for new opportunities and asking them for their help (what/who they know).
  3. Assess Your Opportunities. Be realistic about your opportunities and the market.
  4. Hire Professionals. If you need career counseling, help putting your resume together, or a headhunter to help in your job search, invest in a good professional. It will be worth the investment. Also, make sure you determine how your resume should look for the new industry or position.
  5. Follow Up With Your Base. Follow up with your base. Contact the leads they provide.
  6. Keep Searching. Look in local papers; search key websites and post your resume where appropriate; go on informational interviews.
  7. Think Out Of The Box. Brainstorm with anyone who will take the time. What do you like to do? What are you good at doing? Think about what professions value those qualities and whether those positions might be a fit for you.
  8. Persevere. Be thick-skinned about rejections. Keep a positive attitude. Be flexible. Don't be deterred. Something better is around the next corner. You can do it! Randi

Written by Randi S. Lewis, Founder, Resume Boutique LLC.

© 2006 Resume Boutique LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Ten Tips For A Better Legal Resume

By Randi Lewis, Esq.
Are you getting ready to update your resume to search for your first full time job as a lawyer? Here are 10 Tips to help your resume make it to the top of the stack:
Tip No. 1 - The Five Second Rule. Legal recruitment professionals review hundreds, sometimes thousands, of resumes per year. List your education, grades (see below), honors and important activities at the top of your resume in bullet points, not in a string cite, so they are able to be read within 5 seconds, the time it takes to decide whether to read on or to place your resume in the “no pile.”
Tip No. 2 - The Font & The Format. The text should be no smaller than 11 point in Times New Roman, Garamond or Georgia. Headings should be in larger font and bold. The format should be compatible with OCI+ and reader-friendly for receipt by email.
Tip No. 3 - The Order. List education first and experience second (even if you are a second career law student). List experience first only after practicing for at least 5 years.

Tip No. 4 - Honors, Law Review and Activities. Group all honors, law review/journal positions and law school activities with your law school. Similarly, keep all undergraduate honors and activities with college information.
Tip No. 5 - Law School Grades. A general rule of thumb: list law school grades if they are a 3.0 or better.
Tip No. 6 - Undergraduate & Graduate School Grades. Another general rule: list undergraduate and graduate school grades if they are a 3.0 or better EVEN IF law school grades are below a 3.0. (Reason: if you don’t, the reader may assume you received less than a 3.0 in law school, grad school and college.)

Tip No. 7 - Employment Achievements. Where possible, describe your employment in terms of substantive work and/or successes, keeping descriptions short to use as talking points in your interview. Example: “Drafted successful motions to dismiss in contract dispute, securities fraud case and products liability matter.”
Tip No. 8 - Use Action Words. Use action words to add power to your resume. Examples: prepared; analyzed; collaborated; managed; led; devised; researched; drafted.
Tip No. 9 - Bulletize and Italicize. Use bullet points and italics to add visual interest and help guide your reader.
Tip No. 10 - Proofread. Always proofread your resume several times to ensure there are no typographical or grammatical errors.

Randi Lewis, Esq., is the founder of Resume Boutique LLC,, which provides resume and interview consultation to professionals and students, including lawyers and law students. A former practicing lawyer, Randi also runs the Recruitment Department of, and reviews resumes submitted to, an AmLaw 250 law firm. For more resume tips, contact Randi at or 410-602-2500.
© 2006 Resume Boutique LLC. All Rights Reserved.