This is the second of two articles showing how social media can be used to best effect in job seeking. The first in the January issue looked at LinkedIn.
Twitter has been used by lawyers and legal professionals since its introduction for connecting with other like-minded professionals. Job seekers are increasingly using the platform for connecting with and following firms and, on the flip-side, recruiters are sourcing and screening candidates’ profiles.
In light of this, there are many things you can do to make yourself appear more employable to firms and recruiters on Twitter and to seek out your perfect firm or role. This guide outlines the dos and don’ts of Twitter for legal professionals.
1. Set up your profile
One of the first things you need to do is set up a professional profile. If you are likely to be using Twitter for personal use, it is recommended that a second profile is set up for professional use (ideally under your real name, not a pseudonym). Keep work and life separate on Twitter where possible.
Check with your current employers about their social media policy if you are planning to Tweet about company news or information
Items 2 to 6 below all relate to changing your Profile. Click the “cog” icon in the top right of your profile and select Settings, then select Profile or Design from the left hand menu.
2. Profile picture
Use a professional looking avatar (your profile image). Do not leave this out as many spammy/fake profiles use the default “egg” avatar. Be real.
3. Profile background
Change your profile background from the default background for the same reasons as above. Twitter gives you several alternative options, or you can download a background from TwitterBackgrounds. If you are creative, why not design your own?
4. Header photo
The header photo is another image you will want to customise and is located behind your avatar/profile image. If you can get all 3 images to combine together well it shows creativity, attention to detail and professionalism.
5. Personal details and handle
Your “handle” is your twitter name. Base this on your real name (use the closest possible name or nickname for your handle if it is taken) and specify your current location – it helps recruiters, colleagues and hiring managers find you.
Utilise the full 160 characters for your bio if possible. Use keywords, explain who you are and why you are worthy of note. You can include #hashtags for keywords and links to supporting content or profiles if you wish. If you mention you are employed by a legal firm you may wish to state something along the lines of “Opinions are my own.”
7. Follow people
One of the best ways to build up your following is to follow other interesting Twitter users and industry thought leaders and frequently “Favourite” and “Retweet” their tweets. You can get on their radar by Direct Messaging them with intriguing messages and alerting them to content they may find interesting. Twitter users that you may wish to follow include:
- lawyers and law professionals
- law firms and legal practices
- businesses providing legal professionals with various services and products
- law students and professors
- law professors
- legal bloggers, industry experts and thought leaders
- legal societies
- legal recruiters – why not start with EJ Legal (@EJ_Legal)!
- work colleagues (although you may wish to be wary if you are actively searching for a job and interacting with other firms and recruiters).
8. Promote yourself
If you have a blog or website or publish articles anywhere, be sure to include your Twitter handle there so people can easily find and follow you.
9. 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.
10. Engage with peers, industry leaders and prospective employers
Retweet and reply to their posts if you have something interesting to say. Demonstrate expertise and get on as many people’s radar as possible, you never know what it could lead to. Engage with prominent legal groups such as The Law Lounge (@TheLawLounge) and this may result in your tweets being retweeted by them to their large groups of legal industry followers.
11. Twitter lists
In order to categorise your followers and help you view specific types of content on Twitter, create Twitter Lists, eg one for recruiters, one for industry contacts, one for other firms; then add the people you follow into the relevant list. This enables you to view only the tweets from specific lists if you wish to. The people you add to lists will receive a notification that you have added them, so it can be a good way to build relationships, for example by adding leading recruiters to a “Top London Legal Recruiters” list.
Finally – a few more top tips for using Twitter
Be careful when using Twitter for dual purposes. If you are an avid social Twitter user it is probably worth setting up a separate account, where prospective employers or clients have no chance of seeing something that might give them a negative opinion of you as a professional or an individual. Also check with your law firm since they may have a corporate social media policy set up to deter any social negativity reflecting badly on the firm.
Legal updates are something that people in your industry and prospective clients are likely to want to hear. So give your audience a reason to follow you and gain some credibility in the eyes of employers for being up to date with current legal matters.
Be on the pulse with industry news by subscribing to law blogs and following industry thought leaders on social media so you can be among the first to tweet this content and build a positive reputation and attract new followers. Add your own opinions and insights and invite discussion from other tweeters.
Use tools to monitor opportunities. For example, Hootsuite allows you to create a keyword list to monitor and notify you of any tweets that relate to legal jobs that you are interested in, allowing you to respond and engage with the recruiter in double quick time.
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.