Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tips from the Practitioners Series: What Not to Say in a Cover Letter and/or Resume

By: Kimberly S. Tague (L’04)
Strassburger, McKenna, Gutnick & Gefsky

The primary thing to remember about cover letters and resumes is that these submissions are most likely your first opportunity to impress a potential employer. The second thing to keep in mind is that the person receiving your resume and cover letter is likely receiving many, many, many of the same. Therefore, you should be sure to follow a few simple rules to give you a chance to clear the first hurdle in the job placement race.

First, proofread every word of your submission and then proofread it again. After you are absolutely confident there are no mistakes or typos, then have a friend proofread your submission and then find another friend to do the same. It seems self-evident, but it’s easy to make a mistake.

Second, tailor your resume and cover letter to the job for which you are applying. It is time consuming and tedious, but you need to take this step and avoid the temptation to copy and paste again and again. Yes, they can tell if you send a form letter and merely change the firm name. Your cover letter (and resume if you have any relevant experience) should identify why you are a good fit for the position you are seeking.

Third, avoid using any jargon, slang and especially emoticons. The legal profession is very formal so if you fail to present yourself as someone who is both well-spoken/written and mature, then you aren’t going to stand out in the applicant pool. Remember that
email should contain the same formality as a written letter.

Finally, don’t be informal in your greeting. Never send a letter to “Dear Chris,” or “Hi!”unless you know Chris and you know Chris well. Instead use “Dear Ms. or Mr. Chris So and So:” when addressing a potential employer (in email too). Only when the individual you are corresponding with indicates to you that it is ok to “call me Chris” should you lighten up on the formality. This applies to anyone you correspond with, whether or not she or he is an attorney.

Best of luck in your job searches!

This series is written by members of the Career/Employment Committee of the Duquesne Law Alumni Association with the intent to provide helpful job search tips and suggestions for students and alumni.

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Last Chance to Order Business Cards This Semester

The Career Services Office will provide students with business cards to use for networking purposes. You’ll have opportunities to use the cards at two upcoming events: the Judicial, Government & Public Interest Law Reception, sponsored by the Law Clinic & Career Services Offices, and a reception following the “Day in the Life Panel Discussion” sponsored by Law Alumni & Career Services Offices. (See below for details). Other programs and events sponsored by offices/organizations here at the Law School, the local bar associations and other groups are great venues to exchange cards with other professionals.

If you would like to receive 30 complimentary business cards, please send the following information to by Friday, October 18 at 5 pm:

Name as you would like it to appear on the cards
Anticipated Graduation Date (ie, June 2014)
Phone Number
Email Address

When the cards are available, they will be placed in your student mailbox.

Event details – students may attend as much of these events as your schedules permit:
Judicial, Government & Public Interest Law Reception
Wednesday, October 30 * 5-7 pm * Power Center Ballroom

A Day in the Life Panel Discussion & Reception
Tuesday, November 19 * Panel: 5-6 pm * Room 203
Reception: 6-7 pm * Student Lounge

RSVP for these programs on DuqLawConnect – Events tab.

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Filed under Announcements, Networking, Resources

Students invited to ACBA Sole & Small Firm Practitioners Meeting

Interested in learning more about solo or small firm practice? The ACBA Sole & Small Firm Practitioners Section invites students interested in this area to its next meeting on 10/28 from 12-1 pm downtown at ACBA Headquarters. Students must register with the CSO by sending an email to by 10/24. Additional details to be provided.

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Filed under Announcements, Networking

Do you have a LinkedIn profile?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile?

If you do, do you use it to its best capacity?

If you don’t, consider creating one.

On Thursday, October 3, Attorney Amanda Ellis – an expert in this subject – will show you how to use your profile effectively in job searches. (These skills can transfer into business development uses, too, after graduation.) She’ll also discuss professional uses for Twitter and Facebook. Her presentation is suitable for beginners & experienced users of these social media platforms.

The first 25 students to arrive for the program will receive a copy of her book, The 6P’s of the Big 3. Refreshments provided.

The program will be held from 5:00-5:50 pm in Room 203.  RSVP welcomed, but not required, via DuqLawConnect – Events tab.



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Filed under Announcements, Networking, Programs