There is no doubt that a lawyer’s online presence has long been an important tool in terms of profile building and business development. With the new norms of remote working and social distancing, the old standbys of coffee meetings and after work drinks have been replaced by virtual roundtables and online conferences. As a result, now, more than ever, the online version of yourself is going to be front and centre in terms of your personal brand and therefore it needs to be kept polished and up to date.
Let’s start with the big one – LinkedIn. Whether you are looking to gain clients, grow your network, or appeal to prospective employers, this is likely the first place many of those leads are lurking. I have seen many candidates whose profiles are simply a list of the companies/firms they have worked for along with the title “Lawyer”. As you can imagine, this will not help you float to the top of the pile for any type of targeted search. As LinkedIn continues to develop new features, it is important that you continue to update and build out specifics in your profile. Here are some areas you should examine in order to enhance your virtual brand:
- Job Title: It needs to be more than just “Lawyer”. It should specify your practice area so that your target audience can identify your area of expertise quickly.
- About you: Use the “About” section to flush out the description of your practice and areas of focus. Do you have any specialist certifications? What about an industry focus? Think about the primary goal of your LinkedIn profile – is it to attract clients or prospective employers? Then, tailor your description to that audience by thinking about what information (and relevant keywords) that audience would want to see. And, don’t forget to include any language skills you have. Second languages are becoming more sought after by clients and these can really set you apart in a job search.
- Job Descriptions: While your LinkedIn profile should not go as far as your resume in describing your responsibilities in various roles, it should include a couple of key bullets for each role and, again, these should include the relevant keywords that you have identified.
- Picture: A clear, professional photo will round out a well presented profile. While there are opinions out there that a more casual picture showcases another side of you, the fact is that law remains a traditional profession and this may not be the best place to start taking risks. This article contains some helpful tips on profile photos from the experts at LinkedIn.
Next – when was the last time you reviewed your firm bio? Even though you don’t have direct access to editing this profile, do not forget about it! I have met with many lawyers who say their profiles do not accurately capture the scope of their practice. This is a problem! Make it a habit to review your profile several times a year and connect with your firm’s marketing department to have any necessary changes made. Your practice should be accurately described and it’s great to have examples of deals and cases worked on, alongside any articles or speaking engagements.
Finally, on the topic of external engagements, if you are mentioned on third party sites as a speaker, author, executive, or board member, ask if the publication can include a link to your firm and/or LinkedIn profile. It may not always be possible but it is always worth asking. This is a great way to help turn small interactions into connections as it provides people with an easy way to connect with you further.
If you end up doing a large overhaul, get some feedback on your edits! Like any important piece of writing, a second or third set of eyes is a great idea – they may notice skills or accomplishments that you have overlooked and the last thing you want is to have your virtual brand be marred by a typo.
Jennifer is a Recruitment Consultant with The Heller Group. She is actively involved in the recruitment and placement of lawyers into law firms and corporations. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys hiking with her two dachshunds.
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