If a new job is looming for you this year, you are probably focusing on updating your legal resume. Although your CV is a threshold requirement for applying for a job, it is seen by a limited audience. In contrast, your LinkedIn profile is visible by hiring partners, legal recruiters, and lawyers in and outside your area of practice.
With over 700 million users on the platform, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to be seen, noticed, and noticed when you’re (and not) looking for a job. It also gives you the opportunity to network and connect with other attorneys who might be where you want to be in 5, 10 or 15 years. This connectivity can have long-term benefits for you and your legal career.
As a career expert and professional LinkedIn profile writer, here are four immediate changes I recommend you make to your LinkedIn profile to increase your professional visibility:
Customize your URL and use a professional photo
Personalization of your LinkedIn URL (for example, www.linkedin.com/in/thewritingguru) strengthens your personal brand and makes it easy for others to confirm your identity (especially if you have a common name). It also takes less than 30 seconds to do.
Go to your profile and click on “Me”. Next, click on “View profile”, then on “Edit public profile and URL” (on the right of the screen). Then click on “Edit your custom URL”. Remove unnecessary letters / numbers after your name. If you have a common name, consider including the initial of your middle name in your URL. Most importantly, don’t forget to drop your LinkedIn URL in the contact information section of your resume. This makes it easy for a recruiter, recruiting partner or key executive to locate you on the platform.
Another important thing to remember: LinkedIn users with professional portraits get 14 times more views than those without. If you are on a tight or limited budget due to COVID-19, have a family member take a photo of you against a solid background and use an app like Facetune or Photoshop to retouch the photo. LinkedIn also offers additional editing features.
Create a keyword-focused title and summary
Your title and LinkedIn summary are equally important. LinkedIn will default to using your most recent job title and your company / business as the title, leaving you wasted real estate and reduced visibility. While your current job title (eg, IP Counsel at Amazon) is important, you also want to create equity around your area of practice with key specialties that will be highly searchable.
Here’s an easy-to-build formula that works well for LinkedIn titles: Job Title / Target Role and Industry / Sector | Areas of expertise or value-added skills. You can implement the formula like this: Consulting at Amazon – Intellectual Property | Trademark transactions, patent protection and data confidentiality
The recap section (now called the “About” section) is a prime additional space for you to share your first-person legal career story. Before writing your LinkedIn summary, take a look at job descriptions that match your current role and the role you want to take next. Compare jobs and see what technical and technical skills are mentioned. Next, think about your best skills, unique worth, key career earnings, and professional interests. Merge them into your summary so that it becomes a personal iteration of you rather than a generic iteration that can be easily plagiarized. Remember to use short paragraphs of two or three sentences for better digital readability. Also consider adding bullet points.
Summarize your experience and keep it relevant
When entering your experience section on LinkedIn, keep your CV next to you and compare job titles, company / company names, and employment dates. They need to line up. If not, you may appear misleading about your employment history. Cut out experience that is unrelated to your legal career path. Details of your experience can be beneficial, but don’t toss your resume in your profile. Remember that your CV will contain in-depth details and confidential data. For LinkedIn, provide shorter descriptions (two or three sentences) focused on keywords and areas of responsibility.
Maximize your skills and approvals
The skills and recommendations section gets a lot of neglect on LinkedIn. However, it plays an important role in your visibility and ranking on the platform. You can list up to 50 skills and pin your top three skills. Consider relevant skills found in job postings that match your career goal. Keep in mind that if you haven’t touched this section, LinkedIn will default to using your Most Recommended Skills. If you created your LinkedIn profile during your law school or your first few years of practice, you might find that your top three skills look like things like legal research, legal writing, and Microsoft Word. If you’re 10 or 15, the best skills should be more solid and influential, such as corporate compliance, governance, or even trade litigation.
Don’t let your LinkedIn profile fail to be powerful. Implement these tips to get immediate traction on your profile for your legal job search and legal brand.
Wendi Weiner is a lawyer, career expert and founder of The writing guru, an award-winning resume writing services company. Wendi creates powerful professional and personal brands for attorneys, executives and C suite / board leaders for their job search and digital footprint. She also writes for major publications on alternative careers for lawyers, personal branding, LinkedIn storytelling, career strategy and the job search process. You can reach her by email at [email protected], connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her on Twitter @thewritingguru.