LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for practising lawyers. The careers platform helps to build and strengthen a law-related network and obtain new clients in the most time-efficient way. It is also a very valuable yet surprisingly underused tool for budding lawyers hoping to enter the profession.
LinkedIn can help you to take your first step into the field; it can help you find the right contacts to get your foot in the door. It can also be used to learn about the people you meet at your training contract or vacation scheme interview.
Understanding how to make the most of LinkedIn will put you in a strong position for the rest of your career. If you utilise the tool to its full potential, the possible outcomes will span far into your career. So, what better time to start using LinkedIn than now?
Here are five top tips to help you maximise returns from LinkedIn and get the most from your LinkedIn activities:
Get to know your network
While it is important to build your network on LinkedIn, don’t just click the ‘accept’ button and leave it at that. If the connection is someone who could advise you on your career, why not take the opportunity to accept their invitation and then send an email via LinkedIn to get some tips or even arrange a coffee or quick chat?
As with Facebook and Twitter, there is pressure to have as many contacts as possible. Your network will naturally grow and the value of your LinkedIn introductions, endorsements and recommendations will be affected if your network is full of strangers.
With this in mind, it's good to go into it with a legal focus—not only will a network of solicitors and legal professionals come in handy for your career, but they will also share a lot of interesting law-focused content on your LinkedIn feed.
Make sure your invitations to connect are customised
Don’t use the standard LinkedIn message; explain your situation and why you want to connect. This will add a personal touch to your invitation and encourage a conversation. After all, you wouldn't approach everyone you meet in real life without a greeting and introduction.
Join groups (and contribute!)
It is good to join a mixture of law-focused groups. Groups to follow on LinkedIn include your law school, Law Jobs Network or e-legal. This will automatically demonstrate that you are serious about a career in the industry and will enable you to network with individuals in the same stage of their careers, as well as qualified lawyers. Actively participating in a LinkedIn group will help recruiters discern your personality and whether you might fit into the culture of their firm.
Share content regularly
Make sure that you share something of value to your network, ideally on a weekly basis. Make use of the status update feature on your profile to share interesting articles and let your connections know what you are doing. This is a great way to show your commercial awareness and engage with law articles and publications. The more you do this, the better.
Always be polite, never reveal confidential information
Don’t say anything on your LinkedIn page that you would not feel comfortable saying in an offline networking event. Act cautiously and, if in doubt, don’t share it!