LinkedIn continues to play an important role in job opportunities. I’ve received a number of opportunities to interview with companies because of some simple techniques anyone can implement on their LinkedIn profile. A staggering 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn as an essential social media tool.
It’s time to take the next steps towards improving your social media presence, and LinkedIn should be your first priority! Here are five ways to make legal jobs come to you with LinkedIn:
1. Join LinkedIn Groups within your legal industry.
Groups are one of the best features of LinkedIn to meet new people and expand your network. Groups are often industry-specific and focus on skills, topics or general interest areas. Don’t know where to start in finding a Group? Think of someone you know professionally, go to his or her LinkedIn profile, and check out the Groups they’ve joined.
Some Groups you may find are closed. That doesn’t mean you can’t join them! Read the description of the Group and that will often tell you whether or not you meet certain criteria to join. It’s sometimes as simple as sending a request to join. Other times, it may require you be a practicing attorney in a particular field or job position.
Once you’ve joined some Groups, you’ll notice an increase the number of 2nd and 3rd degree connections with other LinkedIn users. Being in a Group lets you view and connect with more professionals, expanding your network and increasing your visibility.
Make sure you double-check your e-mail notification frequency in your communication settings; otherwise, you’ll receive a lot of group updates. I opt for the weekly digests over the daily updates to cut down on the amount of e-mails I get. You can experiment and see which settings work for you!
2. Bullet point your experience with keywords.
If you want to be found, you need to maximize the use of keywords on your profile. Keywords help recruiters and potential employers find your profile quickly when they search for potential candidates. Having relevant keywords for your industry or job role pushes your name towards the top of the results list just like with a Google search.
You need to include bullet points under each of your experiences. The bullet points can mirror those on your resume where you describe your duties and responsibilities, accomplishments, or benchmarks you met or exceeded. A LinkedIn profile will look extremely bare without bullet points. You need to give the recruiter a reason to spend some time (even if it’s just a few more seconds) on your profile.
Can’t think of any keywords? Look at job postings! Your current role likely had a job posting at some point. Your dream job might have a posting available either at your dream company or a similar company. Borrow some of the words and phrases that stick out from the postings and modify them to fit your current role. Obviously, you shouldn’t make it up or exaggerate, but you can still tweak a job posting’s unique keywords and phrases to fit your needs.
Additional Tip: Use this same “keywords” tactic when crafting your resume. Utilize the internship/job posting to throw in some keywords that will custom-tailor your resume for that opening. Doing this will assist in any algorithmic or computer-aided resume curation process that might be taking place.
3. Make Connections. Lots of Connections.
Expanding your network is the key to a successful experience on LinkedIn. Your network will expand the reach of your profile and, therefore, expand your reach to potential job opportunities. Your profile doesn’t do you any good if you just let it sit there. Make it work!
Attend a recent networking event for your local bar association? Grab a business card for each person you meet and connect with them on LinkedIn a few days later. Don’t connect with them via the LinkedIn mobile app. Sit down at your computer and connect with them via a web browser. This will allow you to customize the message sent to them and avoid the standard “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” They may or may not care, but you should!
What’s even better? Before you drive off, spend a minute writing on the back of each in the parking lot a specific detail you talked about or follow-up action. This will help you remember people over the years. Looking for a paperless solution? Use Evernote, or a similar note taking app, to snap a picture of the card and write a brief description of the person and what you talked about. Next time you see them, you can quickly find the note and ask how their child’s piano recital turned out!
4. Ask for References.
I made it a goal to never leave an internship without asking for both a letter of recommendation and a LinkedIn reference. It’s simple for someone you currently intern under or work alongside to write a blurb about their experience working with you. The timing can work well if you and a co-worker recently completed a project together or accomplished a department goal. Having other people writing about your key qualities and abilities on your LinkedIn profile will provide additional insights to a recruiter or future employer on your personality, work ethic, and credibility.
Be aware that references will be removed if you decide to also remove the employment history from your profile. Currently, references must be tied to a specific experience you’ve included on your profile. There doesn’t seem to be a way to have a reference that is tied just to your profile and not a particular job. So, if you remove a position, the associated recommendation will be floating in nothingness, visible to no one, until you attach it to another job.
You can read more on Recommendations at the LinkedIn Help website.
5. Get a professional photograph.
I’ve written previously about the importance of your online image. This also comes into play with your LinkedIn profile. Your resume might not have your picture on it, but your LinkedIn profile likely will! Make sure the message you convey with your profile picture matches the career you want to achieve.
If you’re applying for traditional law firm jobs, you should consider having a portrait-style photo, with a simple backdrop. You should be wearing a suit or button-down shirt with tie, at a minimum. If you’re looking to get in with a smaller, boutique firm or in-house position, you should look at the websites of your target employers. You should mirror the level of dress for which you’re aiming. For example, wear business casual without a tie if you see everyone wearing business casual.
Don’t post a selfie or cropped photo with someone else’s hand on your shoulder. Please?