Are you looking to change firms or roles? Updating your old résumé is a start. Being present online, however, may boost your legal job search efforts.
Recently I spoke with Mike Lymer, who leads the Legal Search Practice at IQ PARTNERS Inc., about social media and legal recruitment. For him, LinkedIn plays a key role in finding the right candidates given the platform functionalities. He finds Facebook to be a more personal sharing platform where users aren’t looking for jobs. He does believe that Twitter is a good means to build one’s personal brand.
Let’s learn more about how your online presence can play a role in a legal recruiter’s search for candidates…
Question: I understand you look online when you’re searching for candidates to fill a legal position. Where are you looking to discover someone who may be right for the role?
For me, the primary source for searching for candidates in the legal field is definitely LinkedIn. It’s very easy to use and provides some of the key initial information that is going to be essential to my search. In addition, its immensely accurate search function allows me to pinpoint my search to candidates with the background I’m looking for very efficiently, which is an extremely important part of the process. I must note that LinkedIn is not the only source I use to search, but because of the size of the network and its ease of use, it certainly forms the initial steps of most searches I’m engaged on.
Question: If someone sends you his or her résumé in response to an ad, do you take the initiative to do an online search to see if you can learn more about the person?
Absolutely. For applicants to positions I have posted, I’m looking to make a quick assessment of their suitability for the role and often a quick glance at a LinkedIn profile or website bio will offer some relevant information that a résumé may not glean. As well, with respect to LinkedIn, I’m looking for common connections between myself and the candidate. This will give me a good idea of which circles this individual runs in and will often give more insight into suitability.
Question: How can social media presence help boost someone’s chances of getting an interview or being headhunted?
I’m not sure that there would be a direct correlation between social media presence and an increased chance of getting an interview. However, the chance of being headhunted most certainly would improve through increased social media presence. As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn provides an initial step for a good number of searches and so it goes that an increased presence on LinkedIn and other social media will lead to a greater chance of a recruiter finding a candidate online. That being said, presence alone is not enough to get the attention of the top head hunters working on the most sought after positions. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a working résumé that highlights key attributes of the career history.
Question: Have you found that showing your expertise online plays a more significant role for certain types of positions?
I would say that showing your expertise online and giving information back to the market is a valuable practice to anyone building their online profile. In particular, roles where developing business is a focus generally gain greater results from increased online presence.
Question: Have you come across any online presence of a candidate who you were impressed with? If yes, can you describe why you were impressed?
There are definitely profiles out there that are much more impressive than others. It’s truly surprising how many people don’t cover off the basics with their online profile, such as having a current profile picture and a basic description of who they are. That being said, I’m impressed by anyone who shows engagement in the community they operate in, provides information back to the market and clearly articulates their experience in a direct and easy to understand way.
When it comes to résumés, I believe people like to use buzzwords to tap into the keyword searches that many corporate applicant tracking systems use to screen in potentials. I truly appreciate résumés that are direct, have meaningful content and keep the flowery language to a minimum. While it’s okay to use these words sparingly, a good thesaurus and some imagination will allow you to substitute those overused words with more accurate and substantial ones that will resonate more directly to those reading the résumé.
Question: Do you have any other online considerations for lawyers and other legal professionals to think about when they’re looking for a new position?
For anyone within the legal field, I cannot put enough stress on the value that LinkedIn can play in your search. That being said, it isn’t enough to simply just have a profile. It must have a picture and exhaustive detail around the work history. In addition, participation in the community through commenting, publishing, connecting, and contributing to relevant LinkedIn Groups will also generate increased profile views which will ultimately help when looking for a new position.
Thanks, Mike, for this insight from a legal recruiter’s point of view!
Whether you’re looking for a new job, it’s always a good idea to regularly review and update your LinkedIn profile. If you’re making many changes or do not want others to be notified of changes to your profile, don’t forget to click on the white button to show “No” under “Notify your network?” before editing your profile. You can find this button on the right sidebar of the Edit Profile webpage.