Daily Dispatch

CAREERS

LinkedIn and Your Job Search: Step One

By | Mar.16.11 | Communicating, Daily Dispatch, Legal Careers, Legal Technology, Rainmaking

Read “LinkedIn and Your Job Search: Part Two by Wendy Werner here.

More and more lawyers are using LinkedIn for professional networking, but most have barely explored it beyond “People” search. There is much to be learned! While its 90 million users may seem paltry relative to Facebook’s 500 million, LinkedIn offers a professional promise Facebook can’t touch. It can actually help you find and land a new position. In this two-part series, we’ll get you set up to do just that. First the basics to ready your account.

Completing Your Profile

If you Google yourself (and if you don’t, you should), more than likely the first result will be your LinkedIn profile. If a potential employer or client Googles you, this is precisely what she’ll see, too. Time to complete your profile, right? Like it or not, it will frequently serve as your online professional resume, so make certain that it:

  • Includes a current professional head shot. It really is worth a 1,000 words.
  • Presents your background and credentials in the way that most represents where you want to go in your next job.
  • Emphasizes what’s most likely to be influential in demonstrating your expertise.

If you don’t know what to include, study your friends’ and colleagues’ profiles. Model your profile after the best one that you find.

Populating Your Account

Inviting people to connect with you on LinkedIn isn’t about proving you’re popular. But you do want to convey to a potential employer that you are networked in your community and your field. Some people have more than 500 connections, but you may not want to connect that broadly—it may seem a little desperate. On the other hand, if you have years of experience you should easily find 100 good connections on LinkedIn. Explore Add Connections and the People search menu, for starters, to find the right connections.

  • Include people in your current organization, affiliation groups, not-for-profit connections, law school and college classmates, family members and friends who you also know in their professional roles.
  • If you know someone who has a less than good reputation in your field, take a pass when they invite you to connect. And don’t extend an invitation to them. If someone with a dicey reputation thinks you’re swell, it can be bad news.
  • Ask for recommendations and write recommendations for others. This is a rare chance to do real networking on the couch while you’re watching mindless TV.

The People search box may be what we use most often, but Updates, Jobs, Companies, Answers, Inbox and Groups will be even more helpful when you’re looking for a job. That’s what we will explore next week.

Wendy Werner is a career coach and practice management consultant for lawyers and professional services firms. She has a master’s degree in Personnel Administration and Counseling from Indiana University, and served  as the Assistant Dean of Career Services at Saint Louis University School of Law. Find her at Werner Associates, LLC.

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