Whether you’re a new attorney looking for a first position, been laid off or recently relocated, or just need to change positions, social media can be a useful tool to locate a position.
There’s an old saying that most successful job searches can be traced to “who you know.” Social media can expand your range and reach and especially if you are not working, social media can be an effective tool to involve others in your search.
The goal is to try to increase your contacts or stay in touch with those you do know. In addition to the three principal sites – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – I would suggest maintaining a profile on sites, such as Martindale-Hubbell Connected and take advantage of state or county bar networking sites.
One of the most effective sites for a job search is LinkedIn because it is a professional networking site with millions of users. Most recruiters and hiring managers now use LinkedIn to search for talent. If you are interested in in-house positions, LinkedIn is especially useful as many opportunities are posted there. You can also search for other attorneys, firms and companies on LinkedIn.
The more people you are connected to on LinkedIn, the better. Connect with anyone with whom you would exchange a business card. The goal is to access your connections’ connections by first increasing your 1st degree connections and then ask for introductions to connect with 2nd and 3rd degree connections. You can also join groups and identify new contacts within the groups. An alumni group is a good place to start.
As for your profile, use a recent headshot for a photo. If you are not working, a detailed bio is best. Fill out both the snapshot and the summary. Include as much information as possible. Make sure it is accurate and matches your other profiles. Take advantage of free applications by uploading or linking to blogs and articles.
LinkedIn can be used to find networking events. Check regularly for job postings and see who’s looking at your profile. Don’t let your status become stale by not checking or changing it. Keep adding connections, sharing articles and initiate or participate in group discussions. Comment on a contact’s status update. You can also send email messages through LinkedIn to drive people to your profile. LinkedIn is also useful for familiarizing yourself with people with whom you will be interviewing.
Ever thought of using Facebook for a job search? Facebook can be an excellent referral network because it is comprised of people who know you and are likely to refer you for job opportunities. It can be especially effective if you have been laid off or are moving to a new location because it is easier to involve others who might want to help you. You should reach out to both those you know and those you have previously known, such as alumni and former classmates.
In the case of a job search, you will want your Facebook page open to as many as possible, so keep close tabs on your privacy settings. If you have not already done so, upload your email address book. Make sure your education and current job status are listed. Use a current head shot and include only pictures you would want a potential employer to see. Skip the photo albums, religious, political and “likes” that have nothing to do with you or your search. Post continuing updates on your progress to friends only.
The best site for developing new contacts is Twitter. Twitter is conducive to conversation and you can follow people, such as recruiters, law school career counselors and practicing attorneys. You should be able to find listings of professionals who tweet listed online, or on job boards, bar accounts or law school twitter accounts. You should also reach out to non-lawyers, especially in industries in which you might have an interest. You can prepare for an interview by entering the employer or a particular attorney’s name into a Twitter search. You can also follow particular practice areas. If you are conducting a confidential search, you can still use Twitter by tweeting about your area of expertise or your practice.
Make sure your Twitter user name is short and preferably linked to you as a lawyer. Use a professional head shot and try to be as detailed as possible in your bio. Be sure to include both your first and last name in your bio, so people can find you.
A good rule to remember when using social media is to avoid negative comments about job interviews or your current or past employers. You don’t want anything that can impact you negatively. Keep your profile polished and professional. Phyllis Hawkins