Sara Scott, Vice Convener of the Society's In-house Lawyers' Committee looks at why and how in-house solicitors can learn to love LinkedIn and get more out of it by doing just four key things.
As the world’s largest online professional network with over 433 million members, LinkedIn is often the first resource that potential customers, internal and external recruiters, colleagues and collaborators will turn to when considering a business relationship with any professional.
In my experience as an in-house solicitor, LinkedIn is an amazingly easy way to keep in touch with and meet new people relevant to my work, find out about news and opportunities in my sector, and develop my soft skills. I don’t know how I would cope without it!
But how do in-house solicitors get the most out of LinkedIn? Here is my four-point checklist.
1. Create a profile to remember
Is your photo a holiday snap? Is your headline dull? Is your summary an afterthought? Is your profile incomplete and out of date?
If you said yes to any of these then it might be time to give your LinkedIn profile a little love. It is your online CV and the first impression that people will have of you in a business context.
- Get a professional picture – this is business, not Instagram.
- Give yourself a catchy and descriptive headline.
- Bring your profile to life with a summary in the first person (I, me). The best summaries describe you and your key strengths in a highly positive nutshell. Get inspiration from other people’s summaries as a starting point and keep on improving and updating it.
- Highlight your most impressive accomplishments in your job experience.
- Complete the rest - the more complete your profile is, the better you rank in search results so do complete each section to get to an “All Star” rating. Add visuals to stand out from the crowd.
2. Make the right connections
When you meet someone new do you send them a connection request the next day? Are you connected to people you work with across your organisation?
Unless you are living under a stone, your business network will naturally continue to grow and evolve and your LinkedIn connections should follow suit.
- Keep sending connection requests to grow your network, maintaining the quality as well as the quantity. Easy ways to search out the people you know are to either go through your recommended connections list on LinkedIn or find someone you know who has lots of connections and use their list.
3. Give a little
Have you endorsed any of your connections for their skills or given a recommendation? Have you received any yourself?
Endorsing and recommending others gives your connections a helping hand and you might just receive one in return, giving your profile instant credibility.
- Endorse those connections that you rate or even write a recommendation for them.
- Make sure you can receive endorsements yourself by adding key skills to your profile.
- Say thanks or return the favour when you get an endorsement.
- Bite the bullet and ask your key stakeholders to write a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile - if you don’t ask you don’t get!
4. Engage in the business conversation and start your own
Do you regularly like or comment on other people’s updates? Do you join in with group discussions? Do you post any content of your own?
Business conversations are happening on LinkedIn and your connections may forget about you if you aren’t involved.
- Join relevant, useful groups and engage in conversations - you might even “meet” new people or learn something new to help you in your job. Here’s one group you might like!: In-house Law Scotland
- Congratulate your connections on their milestones - whether it’s a work anniversary, birthday or new role. It takes seconds but means a lot.
- Check the “Home” and “Interests” section of your LinkedIn account once or twice a week to keep in the loop with updates from others. It’s easy to engage by liking or commenting.
- And if you are ready: do add value with your own content. Help your network and maybe even become a “thought leader” by sharing useful articles which relate to your sector, a public news release from your organisation, some snippets from a topical external training event or, even better, writing your own updates or posts.
I hope this four-step checklist helps you learn to love LinkedIn and, most importantly, get more out of it to help your networking, your profile and ultimately your career. If you have any questions or need some help then connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know!
Interested in learning more about social networking? Save the date for our seminar “Social Media Essentials – an update for in-house lawyers” on 11 October 2016. More details coming soon.
If you’d like contribute a guest post to our in-house blog, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Contact Beth Anderson, Head of Engagement for In-House Lawyers