A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

How Law Firm Managers Should Use LinkedIn To Find Jobs

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

by Irene McConnell, Director, Arielle

I speak to a lot of managers and professionals who think that LinkedIn is a waste of their time.

I’ve been on LinkedIn for a while, but I haven’t found it very helpful” is common feedback.

If that’s you, I completely understand.  Most advice you read online tells you that you just need to “be on LinkedIn”. So, you log in. You might read and post some content. You join a few groups, because LinkedIn says it “improves your visibility”. 

Your endlessly compare yourself by stalking profiles of other users. At best, you endlessly make tweaks to your profile until you feel like you’re winning the “Best-Looking LinkedIn Profile at My Firm” award. At worst, LinkedIn becomes your guilt-free form of procrastination. 

In the meantime, your odds of securing a great job by using the platform remain the same. 

Why Do You Need To Be On LinkedIn?

Let me share with you what’s happening in the world of recruitment and job search.

In a recent talk, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner made it quite clear that jobseekers on LinkedIn already enjoy an almost unfair advantage over candidates who stick only to job boards. 

I think that this is just the beginning. In the next 5 years we'll see it completely upend up our flawed recruitment industry, presenting well-connected LinkedIn users with a flood of job opportunities. 

Most of those opportunities will be in senior, prestigious and rare roles. Have you ever wanted to be in the running for management jobs which never get advertised? Watch Weiner’s talk and see my detailed take on why you can’t afford not to use LinkedIn to its full potential in 2014.

Now, before you head off to look for career opportunities on LinkedIn, I want to make sure that you avoid the most common trap.

The “Spray & Pray” Approach Doesn't Work

Plenty of management jobs are advertised on LinkedIn today, but if you spend the afternoon pushing “Apply Now” button on as many listings as possible, is likely to be a waste of your time.

The biggest mistake job seekers make on LinkedIn is this - they forget that it’s, first and foremost, a networking tool. LinkedIn is old-fashioned networking, supercharged by technology. 

You can significantly increase your chances of getting hired if you already have a pre-existing 1st degree LinkedIn connection with a decision-maker at a company you want to work for.

The good news is - if you’re a manager at a law firm, you’re probably not a stranger to networking. You simply have to expand your networking skills into the online world.  I suggest you set aside some time - about 1 hour each week - to build your LinkedIn network with the aim of achieving that goal. That way, when a firm you want to work at posts a job ad, you’ll be already positioned as “someone they know”.

In many cases, however, you won’t have to wait for a position to be advertised - you’ll know about the opportunities long before they get are made public. 

9 Steps To Get Results

I suggest you develop a LinkedIn networking workflow which is based around the following steps:
  1. Make a list of 5 firms you want to work for. Follow their LinkedIn pages and Twitter accounts.

  2. Begin to build up a picture of the strategic challenges the firms are facing, their goals and achievements. Start to piece together ways you can add value to their business.

  3. Use LinkedIn to identify the decision-makers at those companies. Partners, C-level executives, HR managers, perhaps senior counsel - your ultimate goal is to have 1st degree LinkedIn connections with them. When the timing is right, a message to them will help you stand out. Don’t contact them just yet.

  4. Identify employees in similar roles to yours in those firms who are active in LinkedIn Groups. Engage them in conversation. If you find common ground, follow them up with a connection request. See What To Write In Your LinkedIn Connection Requests.

  5. Find employees who publish a professional blog or who write guest blogs for industry publications. Engage them in discussion on their blogs and, if you click, follow up with a connection request on LinkedIn.

  6. Add to the conversation on your target companies’ social media accounts. If you have a great chat with someone, follow up with a connection request on Linkedin.

  7. Publish 2-4 original articles to your LinkedIn profile which discuss issues related to managing a law firm and provide your take on overcoming those issues. Post those articles in relevant groups and participate in the discussion. You guessed it - follow up your chats with a connection request.

  8. Try to take the conversation offline. Invite a few of your new connections for a one-on-one 15-minute coffee catch-up to find out about the company culture.

  9. Find out if the company is hosting an event you can attend. Meet employees who work there, be honest about your ambitions to work there. Follow up people you meet with a connection request.
By now you should have a number of 1st degree connections with employees at your level and a significant number of 2nd and 3rd degree connections with decision-makers at those companies. Ask your 1st degree connections for introductions to the decision-makers. For detailed guide on how to make powerful introduction requests, see How To Contact Employers & Recruiters on LinkedIn.

Follow up, but don’t be a pest

If you take away anything from this post, I’d be very happy if it was this - LinkedIn is not Facebook.

It rewards job seekers who are very clear about their objectives and use the platform with a networking mindset - that is, strategically and patiently.

About our Guest Blogger

Irene McConnell
Irene McConnell (nee Kotov) is the founder of Arielle Careers, a personal branding agency which specialises in LinkedIn profile optimisation, resume writing and online presence creation. 

You can connect with her via Google +.

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