Far from being a distraction from daily responsibilities, cultivating a quality LinkedIn profile is a smart business and networking strategy for the busy legal professional. LinkedIn is growing exponentially in popularity, serving as a launching pad for growing your professional network, reconnecting with clients and attracting new business.
LinkedIn is the social network of choice for Australian law firms, with a 2012 BRR Media survey finding that 42.4 per cent of all social media activity within the legal sector occurs there.1 LinkedIn has also taken over as the major channel for recruitment. Both individuals and organisations can benefit from becoming active on LinkedIn.
Here are six tips for creating a great profile:
1. Make your work history count
There’s probably no need to mention a previous career as a programmer, or that holiday job during university. People scan more than they read online, so try to use LinkedIn as a summary of your CV, focusing on career highlights and recent experience.
List achievements for each position you’ve held, like clients you’ve worked with, major projects, cases or transactions you’ve worked on, rather than just your job description.
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2. Keywords matter
As with any searchable digital asset, you want to make sure your LinkedIn profile can be found easily. Keywords are just terms that are likely to be typed into a search engine by current or prospective clients, colleagues and recruiters. Think about your job titles and brand yourself based on how you want to be seen when someone searches for your profile.
3. Clear, concise language
Every profession has its own lingo – the law very much so. Bear in mind that your profile is essentially a sales pitch targeted at prospective clients and employers who don’t really want to wade through piles of legal jargon. Where possible, use plain language instead of legal terms and avoid verbose constructions such as “provided guidance for” (when just “guided” will do).
4. Build your network wisely
Be selective, as potential clients may also be judging you by the people to whom you are connected. Your existing contact list is a good place to begin, and personalised invitations are always better than the generic kind. The “People You May Know” feature is a useful resource.
5. Include supporting information
LinkedIn is an excellent way to share your affiliations, industry awards and other information that will help you stand out from the crowd. If you’re part of a group, make that publicly visible – and participate. LinkedIn groups are just one of the great ways you can use the platform to forge new connections, share tips and insights, and attract leads. Just 10 minutes a day can be worth the investment.
6. Upload a high-quality photo
Profiles with a photo are, according to LinkedIn’s own studies, seven times more likely to be viewed than those without. Try to look confident and relaxed, wear professional attire and keep the background simple and uncluttered.
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Among social networks, LinkedIn is a highly useful choice for legal eagles. Do keep in mind that the information you share on LinkedIn is in a public (if gated) domain, so don’t share anything you’re not comfortable with others knowing. If you haven’t yet joined, or your profile could use some work, it’s definitely time to get to work.