I Modeled in College


QI’m a 1L at a top-20 school hoping to get a summer job some place. Here’s the issue: I did some modeling during college. Nothing major, but I was in Vogue, Elle, and a few other magazines. Other than law school and a brief stint as a waitress, it was the only real job I’ve ever had. Should I put this on my resume, or is it cheesy? If I don’t, I’ll have nothing to put down and it will look I’m a slacker. If I do, I fear that I’ll be judged negatively or that I’ll sound conceited.

APut it on your resume. So you were a model. No big deal. Most lawyers were models at some point in their lives, right? It’s a profession filled with stunningly gorgeous, in-shape men and women. My guess is that people won’t even notice the word “model” on your resume. Just another 5’10, rail-thin gal with razor-sharp cheekbones looking to research collateral estoppel issues.

Okay, I’ll try again. For real this time. Yes, include it on your resume. It’s the truth. It’s who you are. But know this: The word “model” will precede and define you. Right or wrong, that’s all anyone (men and women alike) will think about. The men will wonder if you’re bluffing. If you really are the one-in-a-million “super-hot ex-model law student.” The women will just be intimidated—and quietly dismissive.  At first, anyway.

The good news is that all the curiosity, disbelief and silent jealousy will get you lots of interviews. But if you really want to get a good job some day (and be taken seriously at said job when you land it), you should probably downplay your modeling career when talking to other lawyers. It’s just one of those things you sort-of fell into during college. You hated it, but the money was too good. You can’t imagine posing for a living. You love analyzing and writing, not dieting and smiling. And please, no stories about all of the badass, scrawny rock stars you undoubtedly dated.

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

10 Comments

  1. Al Dickman

    November 21, 2008 at 3:58 am

    Of course put it down on the resume.  After all, you must be truthful, and if you left it off, what would be left, that you once were a junior counselor at a day camp?  Even more importantly, it will get you an interview.  With all the resumes out there, you have to distinguish yourself.  What else do you have but your (presumably) good looks?  Face it, you will not get a job unless you exploit your looks.  You will be called in for an interview where you will be rated against others.  Welcome to the real world dear.  And, if you are good looking and smart, you will get the job.  No one these days is going to hire you just becuase you are good looking.  I’ve seen some pretty good looking models in my day, and others that must have been modeling for Eddie Bauer, but as the moose in the back of the ad.  I hope you are not the latter, because there are already herds of moose in our profession (male and female).  Good luck to you.

  2. Anonymous

    November 21, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Dickman is probably right.  There are about 3 women in law school who qualify as “models” and I know one of them. Unless this woman is one of the other 2, she probably looks like a moose, anyway, so who cares.

  3. john

    November 23, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    If that’s the only real job you’ve ever had, you’re probably not going to get hired anyway.  On the other hand, if you’re that hot, I guess I’d risk a few grand of the firm’s money to have you hanging out at the office over the summer.  You need to build your resume.

  4. Anon

    November 23, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    What a great question, of course you can put modeling on a resume.  I know that many companies, while they preach equal opportunity, only hire attractive white female employees.  How they don’t get sued for discrimination, I have no clue, but that’s not really my field of study!

  5. Anonymous

    November 24, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Make sure you include the magazines you were in on your resume as well.  Whenever someone tells me that a girl is a model, I assume she’s had maybe a couple paid gigs, but mostly works as a waitress or bar tender.

  6. jdmba

    November 24, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Tie your modeling to a particular area of law, like Employment or Copyright protection or something. Make it into something remotely plausible… But honestly, you’re better off getting an internship at your school or something if you want to seriously be considered.

  7. Derek

    December 6, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    I know where you are coming from.  I used to be a model in my pre-law days.  You can find my work in the 1997 fall Bulova watch catalog. I was a hand model.  A finger jockey.  We think differently than the face and body boys.  We’re a different breed.

  8. manda

    December 15, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Ha, Derek, you’re too funny!!!!!!!!!

  9. Anon. Model

    September 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I modeled (finished high school early, worked heavily for three years and then sporadically in college). I kept this fact extremely quiet in college and law school and aside from my bar applications and a few close friends, no one would ever guess (well, I am tallish). Here is the deal. You. Must. Never. Mention. Modeling.
    Because that will define who you are in the eyes of perverts or social retards many of them who live in big firms. They will try to find your old work and if you’re somewhat conventionally attractive and single, you will get hit on constantly. Just don’t say anything. Seriously.
    And to add a wee bit of cred, my mother agency was Zoli.

  10. Anonymous

    June 7, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I would put it on your resume only because its all you’ve got. After your first clerking position, I would take it off. Its already hard enough as an attractive female to get taken seriously in this profession. I modeled throughout highschool and some in college. I never mentioned it to anyone except to explain when one of the attorneys at the firm I was clerking for as a 1L randomly found an old ad with me in it. It wasn’t a big deal, and I ended up getting hired at that firm after I graduated, but I think that had something to do with the fact that I didn’t let it “define” me up front.

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