Monday, August 15, 2011

Job Search Tip #4 for Lawyers: Develop a Web Presence

You are searching for your first or next job as a lawyer. Google your own name. What comes up? If little information comes up, at a minimum you should build a LinkedIn and Google profile. They are free and no spam is involved.

Build these profiles so that when people want to know something about you professionally, they can search online and find you. Even if you are looking for your first lawyer job, having a presence on the web gives you more credibility and visibility.

In addition, eventually when your profile is strong enough, people will find you when they search for someone with your qualifications, experience or other characteristics. Recruiters definitely use LinkedIn, even in the legal profession.

A LinkedIn profile is an easily updated online resume that allows you to share more information and recommendations. In your profile, you can easily ask for and display recommendations for any and all positions and activities. For that reason if for no other, build a profile and put a hot link to it on your resume. Potential employers will have immediate access to your recommendations.

LinkedIn helps you quickly expand your network of contacts during your job search without the common fear of being annoying or a “stalker”. It is perfectly acceptable to send someone a LinkedIn invitation with a few personal sentences a day after you meet them. After all, this is a professional online networking tool. Many people find sending a personalized LinkedIn invitation much easier and more natural than drafting a “nice to meet you, please keep me in mind….” email from scratch that they hope will lead to something further.

LinkedIn helps you stay visible to your contacts. By using the update/status bar you can stay on your contacts’ radar screens without anxiety about being intrusive or a bother.

Last but certainly not least, in addition to using LinkedIn to showcase yourself as part of your job search, you can also use LinkedIn in your job search to look for information on and contacts with firms, companies and people. Do not underestimate this resource.

Although there are more than 100 million people on LinkedIn, I am constantly surprised by the number of lawyers I know who are not on it or have only a bare bones profile.

Being on LinkedIn no longer means you must be looking for a job. In fact, I recently read that a BTI survey showed that 70% of corporate counsel use LinkedIn as a tool and that 50% of corporate counsel stop and think a minute before hiring a lawyer who lacks a credible online presence in addition to their official law firm bio.

Reality: You should develop an individual web presence regardless of whether you are looking for a job now or might be later, and regardless of whether you already have a website or are part of a law firm’s website.

Job Search Tips # 1-4 Bottom Line: distinguish yourself by working, selling and continuing to learn, and by showcasing yourself online.

If you are ready for coaching to improve your job search, please contact me.