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Is Your LinkedIn Profile Working For You Or Against You?

When it comes to legal recruiting, the resume and cover letter reign supreme (which is why I’ve written other posts about them!) In a rapidly digitized world, however, we are seeing social media and networking websites such as LinkedIn start to play a more prominent role in the legal profession. Here are four suggestions that you should check for to ensure that you are utilizing your LinkedIn profile to its fullest extent.

Is your LinkedIn profile redundant or inconsistent?

Some people use the same language they would use on their resume on their LinkedIn. Rather than using “resume speak” and merely repeating your past experiences, use the valuable digital real estate on your LinkedIn page to breathe some personality into what you are all about. For example, writing “I initiated the project and lead the team through its completion one week before the deadline and under budget” works on LinkedIn (not so much on your resume). Keep in mind that the audience for your resume and your LinkedIn profile are different. Yes, it is an audience that is trying to get to know you professionally—but look at it this way: everyone going to the movie theaters is an audience member, but an audience member walking into a thriller has very different expectations than an audience member walking into a drama. Failing to demonstrate value to the target audience can result in a lack of interest. Be selective and strategic in profile details, and align your details with what your audience will be expecting. That said, be careful that your resume and LinkedIn profile do not differ too much in focus. It’s important to be consistent in your brand and message. If you specialize in commercial litigation but your LinkedIn talks about your extensive experiences and desires in IP transactions, you are sending a very mixed message. This way, your resume and LinkedIn profiles work together to support your candidacy.

Is your LinkedIn profile simply a job application?

For lawyers, your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t serve as a general job application. Don’t treat LinkedIn like a fill-in database. It should be a tool to introduce yourself, showcase your professional skills and talents, and compel other professionals to want to connect with you. Two things you can do to immediately make your profile stand out from the crowd as more than just an application form is to have an impactful headline and job titles. Your headline is the first thing people see when you appear in a search result. A great way to tailor it is to make sure it includes your job title, talent or skill, and value proposition. For example, you might be a “Criminal Defense Attorney” (title) with a specialty in “White Collar Crime” (talent or skill), and you can “expedite litigation by leveraging technology and forensic accounting” (value proposition). Your headline is valuable real estate. If you can’t check all three boxes (title, talent/skill, and value proposition), then focus on letting the audience know who you are, what you do, and who you help. And of course, make sure you have an appropriate profile photo!

Is your LinkedIn profile updated?

As with any other technologically driven network, there is a preference for fresh information. Don’t let your profile slide down in the search rankings and disappear from the view of recruiters and potential clients in your network. Enhance the value of your profile via weekly new content or updates. Simply saying “congratulations” or sharing an interesting post in an industry you work in is a great way to keep it up to date. LinkedIn is also a great way for you to update your network with any new information of achievements. Did you recently win an award? Was a publication or particular service recognized? Are you moving to a new city or firm?

Is your LinkedIn profile personalized?

LinkedIn is a modern, professional, personal website that should tell a story. This gives a viewer, connection, or recruiter an idea of who you are. You should utilize your profile by presenting yourself in the most positive light at first sight with your past and current jobs up to date with key results listed, have a good picture, list your strengths, and use the summary to tell your story.Let others know who you are and feel compelled to be connected with you.

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