Social media plays a significant role in the job hiring (and firing) process of attorneys. Hiring managers, recruiters, and companies are placing a greater emphasis on using social media as a way of bringing in more candidates. While many attorneys choose to avoid it all together, not having a social media presence can actually hurt you. Conversely, too much of an online presence (and a lack of privacy settings) can blur your professional and personal life to your detriment. The good news is, it doesn’t take a significant amount of effort to make your online persona reflect a positive professional image.
The first thing you should do before adding or editing your social media accounts is Google yourself and see what you find. Examine your search results, including social media accounts, articles, suggested searches, and images. Almost every potential employer (and some clients) will search your name to get better insight on you before contacting you. If you’re aware of anything that may be damaging to your career, search for it and address it before it comes to be an issue. You also don’t want to be mistaken for someone else who has the same or a similar name, so distinguishing yourself professionally can also help avoid confusion.
Defining your social media presence
Once you have an idea about how you appear to potential employers (and clients), you can begin developing your social media presence:
LinkedIn: This social networking site is the number one place for hiring managers to search candidates. Setting up and editing a profile is fairly simple. Include your relevant work history, a professional photo, and begin connecting with colleagues and other professional candidates. It’s important to build up your connections over time before looking for a new job to avoid suspicion from your employer if you suddenly become active.
1. Connect with acquaintances and business connections. If you met someone at a networking event, write a personalized message when inviting them to connect.
2. Keep your profile current and updated. View other attorney profiles for inspiration.
3. Endorse people for skills for which you can vouch.
4. Share relevant links or articles.
5. Be active in relevant groups (attorney networks, local bar associations, or philanthropic organizations) and follow companies, but remain selective about which groups you join.
6. Avoid buzzwords and wordy jargon in your profile.
1. Use LinkedIn like Facebook or Twitter. Keep it professional.
2. Connect with anyone and everyone. If you don’t know them or don’t have a professional connection with them, don’t do it.
3. Spam your network with invites and posts.
4. Ignore your LinkedIn. Check your account at least once a week for updates.
5. Dominate group conversations. Being active on LinkedIn groups is great but don’t make the group about you.
6. Connect your account to Twitter or Facebook. Keep your professional life separate from personal accounts.
Facebook: Facebook and other types of social media are not integral but can damage your public image if not used properly. Essentially, you should keep your profile G-rated. You don’t have to hide your personality, just be mindful of who may be viewing your page. Also, privacy settings are not foolproof because there’s always the unknown mutual friend who can provide access to your profile to a potential employer.
1. Use these accounts as personal outlets rather than strictly professional.
2. Message a friend instead if you are in doubt about posting particular content.
3. RSVP to work events posted on Facebook.
4. Manage your privacy and security settings to keep your profile private. Even though there are ways around them, most viewers will not put in the effort.
5. Be careful about pages you “Like.” This is always public information so keep it tame and avoid controversy.
1. Friend people you don’t know. Facebook is for friends and LinkedIn is for business. Be careful not to mix the two.
2. Complain about your job or company, especially since you may be friends with colleagues.
3. Use your Facebook to advertise yourself for business. Unless you have your own firm (and a company Facebook profile) keep the self-promotion to a minimum.
4. Overshare yourself. No matter your age, there are personal things that should be shared in person rather than online.
LinkedIn and Facebook are great platforms for connecting with people. When used appropriately, they can enhance your professional image and increase your chances of being hired. Stay tuned for next week as we discuss incorporating Google+ and Twitter in your online presence.