It’s a challenging job market in the legal profession. However, this does not mean that you can’t find a job. You just have to set yourself above the competition by learning how to rise above the crowd. You do this through appropriate networking, which will give you the contacts you need to know where the best jobs are and who may be interested in hiring you. There are a variety of ways to network within the legal profession, and not all of them involve talking to people face-to-face. Here are the correct ways to network for success in the legal industry in the 21st century.
1. Build Up Your Social Media Profiles
Social media is pretty much a “must” in making connections within any industry these days, and the legal industry is no different. You just have to be selective about what platforms you use and how you use them to reach out to people in the profession.
Having a LinkedIn profile is an absolute necessity. Here, you can display your resume and credentials, make relevant posts about the profession that display your knowledge and expertise, and collect endorsements from people who know your work, such as former employers, co-workers, law professors, and even fellow students from law school.
These endorsements can lead to connections, and the more connections you make on LinkedIn, the more connections you’re likely to make from the networks of your connections. You will be perfectly poised to hear about any job openings in your dream law firms before those jobs are even advertised publicly. In the legal profession, you will find that a stand-out LinkedIn profile will open up more doors for you than a pristine-looking resume sent out randomly to law firms.
You can also use Facebook and Twitter to reach out to key people at law firms where you’re interested in working. However, you should always point them back to your LinkedIn profile, so they can see you have a professional presence online. Be active in making posts about the industry on LinkedIn, even if you’re just summarizing cases. These posts can act as your blog and display your knowledge of certain areas of law to potential employers.
2. Engage With People You Already Know
Keep current with your existing contacts in the legal profession. Does your law school have alumni events? Go to them. Be friendly and social with the people there, but also use these events as an opportunity to get the inside scoop on who is hiring and talk about why you would be a good candidate. Work it naturally into the conversation, so you don’t seem too self-promotional. You never know who is an associate or partner at a law firm you admire, or who has contacts at a firm where you would love to work.
Reach out to former co-workers, too. Invite them to lunch or to have drinks after dinner. Talk about what’s been going on at your old law firm and ask what they know about shake-ups at other firms. Mix it in naturally with other topics of conversation, and be sure to exchange contact information. You may come away with excellent details on who is hiring, or even get an “in” with an interview you could not have gotten on your own. Even if your co-worker knows nothing now, stay in touch with the occasional email to see if any new information has crossed their path.