Bethany Wren - How to use Twitter to further your law career
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It’s no secret that everybody and their dog (literally) has a Twitter account to interact with friends and followers, and to post life’s most important updates: from what you’re having for dinner to your latest holiday snaps. But while you’re commenting on the most recent Love Island episode, or bemoaning your latest course assignment online, law firms, barristers’ chambers and recruiters are also on social media, and there’s a chance that they could be seeing everything that you are doing.
Here’s my go-to guide for using Twitter to your advantage.
When it comes to preparing yourself to enter the professional world, there are certain steps to take: tidying and honing your CV, making sure your applications have no glaring errors or spelling mistakes and, most importantly: thinking about how you wish to portray yourself to potential future employers. In this manner, it is also important to take a look at your Twitter account and make sure that it reflects somebody who has the ability to communicate professionally and intelligently, to engage with the latest legal developments, and to express opinions in a reasoned and articulate way – somebody, in short, who would make a first-class junior lawyer.
Obviously graduate recruiters do not have the time to delve four years deep into your Twitter feed to find your most incriminating tweets. It is, however, important to remember that your Twitter (and potentially Facebook and Instagram accounts), if open to the public, can be viewed by anybody and act as virtual representations of yourself to people that may not know you.
The simple solution is to ensure that your privacy settings are updated, so that your tweets remain hidden from those you don’t want to see them. If, however, you wish your account to be open and public, some warning must be heeded about exactly what you share online.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to use Twitter to further your legal career: to keep up to date with the legal world, to see what your favourite law firms and chambers are up to, and to potentially interact directly with recruiters and lawyers from those firms.
Keep up with the legal news
Twitter is a great place to follow the legal press and stay on top of the latest stories, developments and commentary. Our very own LawCareers.Net Twitter account keeps our ear close to the ground, tweeting the new stories you should be aware of, sharing interesting articles, and discussing legal hot topics.
Another useful account to follow is The Law Society’s online newspaper: The Gazette, as well as Commercial Awareness for students, which aims to provide followers with current commercial news stories, and Lexology, which regularly shares the latest legal analysis and insights from top law firms across the world. Look out for news stories from the Guardian Law section too, as well as BBC Business and City A.M. for business and commercial news.
Follow your favourite firms
You might not believe it, but Twitter is actually a great place to start researching the law firms you are interested in. Many firms have Twitter accounts which they use to share updates on their latest deals, developments, publications and activities. Firms will regularly use Twitter to publicise awards and accolades they have won, the work that their solicitors have been undergoing, upcoming events, news articles and job vacancies. It’s the perfect place to get a snapshot of the work, specialisms and culture of the firm, and to stay up to date with the firm’s goings on. Rather than trawling through websites, the most pertinent information could present itself directly on your timeline, which could certainly come in use when making applications, during networking, or attending interviews.
There is, however, a caveat to this type of research. Whereas some firms have embraced social media as a way of communicating (it is 2017 after all), others are less active, and some don’t have Twitter accounts at all. So while Twitter can certainly be a great way to get an insight into some of the firms you’re interested in applying to, you might have to do some more traditional forms of research when it comes to others.
Interact with graduate recruitment accounts
In addition to firms’ general Twitter accounts, increasingly firms are using separate graduate recruitment accounts to connect with potential vac-schemers and trainees.
Take Shoosmiths, for example: their Graduate Twitter account is full of behind-the-scenes glimpses into the graduate recruitment department, advice about what they’re looking for in applicants, upcoming deadlines, and tips from current trainees. They also engage with applicants, congratulate successful candidates and reach out to answer specific questions from followers.
Other firms that use social media in this way include BLM and their graduate Twitter account, DWF LLP and theirs, and Bristows LLP’s graduate recruitment account. By following these firms you are filling your feed with practical and useful application information, as well as finding out more about working for them and having the opportunity to hear directly from their recruiters, trainees and partners themselves – what’s not to gain?
Plenty of smaller and medium-sized firms, and barristers’ chambers alike, also have active Twitter accounts, so whoever you are thinking about joining: make sure to use Twitter as part of the research process.
So remember: use Twitter to your advantage by following and engaging with the latest legal developments, law firms and graduate recruiters. Who knows, something you found out about on social media could someday help along the way to your dream legal career.
Bethany Wren is the communications and events coordinator at LawCareers.Net.