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Having a profile on LinkedIn is vital as a soon-to-be professional because it is the world’s leading business social media platform.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t land my training contract as a result of my LinkedIn profile, nor did I intend to. But in an increasingly competitive job market – not least because of the pandemic – every little helps and building up your network can result in a range of opportunities being presented to you. It can also act as a vital source of information, both about law firms and other companies and on wider commercial awareness.
Read this LCN Feature for more: ‘LawCareers.Net guide to networking’.
Setting up your profile
Setting up your profile can initially be daunting – it appears far more detailed than your average profile picture and a short bio. But it can be just as simple if you want it to be, and if you are finding all the general careers pressure just a little bit too much right now, then my advice is to keep it as simple as possible.
Break your profile down into chunks and tackle a section a week. You can always go back and add more detail later, but for now, concentrate on the basics. For example, add in the titles of any work experience you have so far (even if it seems small to you!).
Later, when you have more confidence and have spent some time looking at other profiles, you can go back and add in detail about specific roles and what you’ve learnt. Equally, you may want to keep your profile shorter, and that is alright – it is your profile, after all!
I think some basic level of detail – such as your role, your tasks and some key skills developed – is important at this stage because you’re at the point in your career where you need to prove yourself and cannot simply let a job title do the talking.
To find out more on how to use LinkedIn, read this LCN Blog: ‘How to use LinkedIn effectively in your first year’.
Moving past your profile, it is useful to take some time looking at other profiles, especially a wide range of them. Perhaps the profiles of your peers will be the most interesting initially, as you can gain inspiration from the style of writing used.
But the profiles of those more embedded in your chosen future career – for example, trainees or associates at your dream firm – are also interesting, as you can see what experience they gained to be offered their role. It can also be highly telling about the firm itself!
In addition, a note on posting yourself; I don’t do it often personally, but when I do it is usually about an addition to my profile, for example it could be writing a status about an internship offer or sharing a published article of mine. Perhaps the biggest way in which I have used it so far is to connect with people at the law firms I was researching.
Being able to search by the law firm or internship location is a useful tool, and don’t be afraid to politely message trainees if you have questions about their experiences.
As long as you’re polite and happy to take no for an answer, what’s the worst that can happen?
Some people use LinkedIn a lot more than I do (eg, I only check it every few days, or even weeks). But please don’t feel the pressure to! I view it as something to keep up-to-date with and ensure I have a presence on, but not something that is an everyday task.
Go at your own pace
Tackling setting your profile up and learning how to use it to its full advantage, is a process that I have not finished yet, which is perfectly okay. In a space where a lot of posts can seem scary and sometimes make you feel like you’re behind everyone else, taking only small doses of LinkedIn can be a good thing, so don’t be afraid to take it at your own pace.
For more on the benefits of LinkedIn: