LinkedIn is the biggest social media platform for professionals but has seen only moderate uptake by those in the law industry, until now. Both legal firms and specialist law recruiters are tuning into the power of LinkedIn to find prime law candidates and to find out more about their applicants, so are you ready to get spotted? This cheat sheet contains a number of specialised tips and tricks to help you get noticed and tick the recruiter’s boxes.
1. Complete your profile
This first one is a given, but important nonetheless. In order to get your foot in the door, you need to stand out from the crowd. This means completing all sections with as much useful information that recruiters will be looking for. Aim for “All-Star” status on LinkedIn’s profile strength chart!
According to LinkedIn, users with 100 per cent profile completeness are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities. This means completing:
- your industry and location
- current position with description
- two past positions
- your education history
- minimum of 3 skills
- a profile photo
- at least 50 connections.
2. Add a profile photo
Mentioned above as part of completing your profile, a professional profile image is very important – try to ensure your head fills the thumbnail as smaller versions are used throughout the different features in LinkedIn. You may wish to use the same profile image for other professional profiles across the web so that your personal “brand” becomes recognisable.
3. Update your headline
LinkedIn pre-populates your headline (directly below your name on your profile) based on your current position and employer but you can edit this to better explain your involvement in your niche. This is a great opportunity to use keywords to help head-hunters find you.
4. Claim a customised (vanity) URL
A vanity URL is more professional looking than the default (great for CVs, business cards or email signatures), it can help you show up more prominently in the search results when a prospective employer searches for you on Google, and it is far more memorable. It is simple to do as this video explains.
5. Optimise your profile contents for search
Search engines and LinkedIn’s search function use keywords to find and display relevant results. Ensure that your profile content includes the types of phrases prospective employers may be using to find potential candidates and make it clear what area of law you specialise in.
Consider using words and phrases such as “Commercial Litigation Lawyer, 4 PQE” or “LPC Law Graduate”. Do remember to be cautious in the wording you use if you do not want your existing employers to be aware that you are considering a move!
6. Rearrange your profile
LinkedIn offers plenty of options for personalisation of content, one of which is the sequence in which the different sections appear. By clicking “Edit”, each section shows a two-directional arrow which allows you to drag and drop the various sections into place. You can use this to maximise the visibility of your greatest achievements and most impressive attributes.
7. Consider upgrading to a premium account
If you are serious about finding your perfect role, a LinkedIn Premium account has many benefits including:
- see everyone who has viewed your profile
- contact anyone via InMail
- view profiles of everyone in your extended network
- extended search functionality
- enhanced status letting prospective employers know you are serious.
8. Get recommendations
A recommendation on LinkedIn is similar to a personal testimonial, a written reference by a colleague, your old boss or clients you have worked with. Recommendations carry a lot of weight in employers’ eyes and LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to directly ask for references from LinkedIn connections. A good way to achieve recommendations is to give them to others and ask them to reciprocate!
9. Get endorsed
An endorsement (not to be confused with a recommendation) is for a particular skill you may have. You can add skills to your own profile that others can click on to endorse you for. Additionally, users may wish to endorse you for an unlisted skill. While endorsements are not as strong a signal as a recommendation, they highlight your key skills and demonstrate that colleagues, clients and connections recognise your capabilities in specific areas. Like recommendations, the easiest way to receive endorsements is to give them.
10. Be memorable
The chances are that prospective employers are looking at tens or even hundreds of CVs and LinkedIn profiles as part of a recruitment process. Be sure to include stand-out achievements and your most impressive skills within your profile. More recently, LinkedIn has implemented functionality to upload supporting files or link to supplementary content on the web such as images, videos, presentations and documents (more information) to make your profile shine brightly. In “Edit” mode, click on the [+] icon.
11. Show passion and interest
Interviews are designed, among other things, to gauge how passionate you are about working for the company and within the industry. Pre-emptively express this passion by sharing relevant news, and posting information and articles within your feed. Giving your own views on stories and news helps demonstrate a strong, knowledgeable personality and keeps you up to date with the latest progressions and stories in the industry. This will also keep you informed for any topical interview questions that might come up.
12. Engage with peers, industry leaders and prospective employer pages
Connect and comment on their posts and profiles if you have something interesting to say. Demonstrate expertise and get on as many radars as possible, you never know what it could lead to”¦
13. Participate in discussion groups
Many top recruiters and employers are members (or even founders) of LinkedIn discussion groups. Join and participate in discussions and debates – this is a great way to build relationships with more valuable connections, whilst building and passing on knowledge.
Top Tip: Involvement in discussion groups allows you to bypass the first degree connection requirement to message participants and see profiles without being connected. For example, start with The Law Lounge.
14. Log in regularly
As you build your network, you will find that your newsfeed populates more and more frequently. Keep on top of it – you never know when chance encounters or awesome job postings will happen.
15. Configure privacy settings
Like with most social networks, for privacy reasons you have the option to hide certain parts of your profile from non-connections. However, LinkedIn is one of the places where you potentially want people to be able to find and learn about you – after all they could be a useful connection or even your next boss!
By opening up more of your profile to non-connections you will likely receive much more engagement, improve your number of profile views as well as your visibility among existing connections, therefore keeping you top-of-mind.
16. Utilise plugins for your preferred email client or browser
One quick way to build up your LinkedIn network is to import contacts from your email address book. However, did you know you can download browser and email plugins that help you identify new connections on LinkedIn when you are simply using the web? Both Gmail and Outlook have tools that dynamically display a sender’s LinkedIn details right there within the email – this is especially useful for connecting with law recruiters and agencies.
Want the inside scoop? Chrome (LinkedIn for Chrome) and Firefox (LinkedIn Companion for Firefox) web browsers have a number of plugins allowing you to identify existing connections and potential employers.
17. Link to external sites and profiles
You can promote your presence on other social or industry platforms and your content on other websites by adding customised links to your LinkedIn profile. Consider what links may enhance your employability or illustrate your passion for the law industry.
18. Profile badge for website or blog
Promote your LinkedIn profile on your blog or website and grow your connections by embedding a badge. LinkedIn even supplies the code for lots of different styles to best match your layout.
Claire Cavanagh is an Associate Director at EJ Legal in London, a leading legal recruitment agency. She is a highly experienced and prominent legal recruiter for private practice for both partners and assistants and is recognised as one of the leading recruiters in London. EJ Legal regularly post top jobs, latest vacancies and the latest industry news.
Follow EJ Legal on LinkedIn.