The Complete Guide to LinkedIn for Lawyers & Law Job Seekers

24 Ways to make yourself more employable

LinkedIn is the biggest social media platform for professionals. Until now it has only seen moderate uptake by those in the law industry. Both legal firms and specialist law recruiters are tuning into the power of LinkedIn to find prime law candidates and to find out more about their applicants. Are you ready to get spotted? This cheat sheet contains a number of specialised tips and tricks to help you get noticed and tick the recruiter’s boxes.

Why should you be using LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the number one place to show off your career successes and expertise to prospective employers and recruiters. It is the place people go to see what you've accomplished, where you've worked, and which parts of the industry you are most interested in and engaged with. LinkedIn is today's professional networking.

Your profile is a professional snapshot of you - so make sure it is good!

Here are a few tips that will help you optimise your LinkedIn profile.

Quick Fix Checklist

    • Complete every section of your LinkedIn profile
    • Add a professional profile photo
    • Add a cover photo to your LinkedIn profile
    • Update your headline
    • Claim a customised URL
    • Optimise your profile contents for search
    • Optimise anchor text for your personal blog or website
    • Add, remove & rearrange sections of your profile

Quick Fixes

1. Complete every section of your LinkedIn profile

This first one is a given but important nonetheless. In order to get your foot in the door, you need to stand out from the crowd. This means completing all sections with as much useful information that recruiters will be looking for. Aim for 'All-Star' status on LinkedIn's profile strength chart!

According to LinkedIn, users with 100% profile completeness are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities. This means completing:

  • Your industry & location
  • Current position with description
  • Two past positions
  • Your education history
  • Minimum of 3 skills
  • A profile photo
  • At least 50 connections.

2. Add a professional profile photo

As part of completing your profile, a professional profile image is very important – try to ensure your head fills the thumbnail as smaller versions are used throughout the different features in LinkedIn. You may wish to use the same profile image for other professional profiles across the web so that your personal 'brand' becomes recognisable.

Top Tip

  1. Good opportunities are fleeting. All too often candidates forget to change their contact information, or simply forget to check their inbox. Time is of the essence when it comes to the job hunt. Keep your finger on the pulse and make sure that if you want to be reached, you can be reached.

3. Add a cover photo to your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn also offers the option to include a larger cover photo of size 1400px x 425px. This is where you can show more of your personality. A great way to display your competence is to use a photo of you in your work environment doing what you do best. e.g. giving a presentation.

If you don’t have a cover photo already, there will be blue space above your profile asking to add 'a background photo'.

4. Update your headline

Your headline is important. Your headline shows up wherever people hover over your name and within search results.

You only have 120 characters to get your message across, so choose your words wisely.

LinkedIn pre-populates your headline (directly below your name on your profile) based on your current position and employer but you can edit this to better explain your involvement in your niche. This is a great opportunity to use keywords to help head-hunters find you.

5. Claim A customised URL

Updating your profile to include a personal URL looks professional (great for CVs, business cards or email signatures) and it can help you show up more prominently in search results when a prospective employer searches for you.

It is a very simple change to make and is explained in this video.

6. Optimise Your Profile Contents for Search

Ensure your profile content includes phrases and terms that prospective employers may be using to find potential candidates and make it clear what area of law you specialise in.

LinkedIn's search function (and search engines) use keywords to find the most relevant content to display within search results. Invest the time in your profile to get found!

Top Tip

  1. Consider using words and phrases such as 'Commercial Litigation Lawyer, 4 PQE' or 'LPC Law Graduate'. N.B. Remember to be cautious in the wording you use if you do not want your existing employers to be aware that you are considering a move!

7. Optimise your anchor text for your personal blog or website

If you want to include a link to your personal website or blog, rather than choosing LinkedIn's standard 'Blog' anchor text, customise it to include keywords that indicate what your blog is about. e.g. 'Life of a Lawyer'

Each profile can display up to three websites.

8. Add, remove & rearrange sections of your profile

LinkedIn offers plenty of options for personalisation of content, one of which is the sequence in which the different sections appear. By clicking 'Edit', each section shows a two-directional arrow which allows you to drag and drop the various sections into place. You can use this to maximise the visibility of your greatest achievements and most impressive attributes.

Be a LinkedIn Pro Checklist

    • Consider upgrading to a premium account
    • Get recommendations
    • Get endorsed for your skills
    • Be memorable and showcase samples of your work
    • Express your passion & interest in your profile and newsfeed
    • Engage with peers, industry leaders & prospective employer pages
    • Participate in discussion groups
    • Be active on LinkedIn regularly
    • Configure privacy settings
    • Take advantage of saved searches
    • Quickly turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume
    • Create content on LinkedIn Pulse
    • Utilise plugins for your preferred email client or browsers
    • Link to external sites & profiles
    • Profile badge for website or blog
    • Connect to the EJ Legal business page

9. Consider upgrading to a premium account

If you are serious about finding the perfect role, a LinkedIn Premium account has many benefits including:

  • See everyone who has viewed your profile
  • Contact anyone via InMail
  • View profiles of everyone in your extended network
  • Extended search functionality
  • And much more.

10. Get Recommendations

A recommendation on LinkedIn is similar to a personal testimonial, a written reference by a colleague, your old boss or clients you have worked with. Recommendations carry a lot of weight in employers’ eyes and LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to directly ask for reference from LinkedIn connections. A good way to achieve recommendations is to give them to others and ask them to reciprocate!

11. Get Endorsed for your skills

An endorsement (not to be confused with a recommendation) is for a particular skill you may have. You can add skills to your own profile that others can click on to endorse you for. Additionally, users may wish to endorse you for an unlisted skill. While endorsements are not as strong a signal as a recommendation, they highlight your key skills and demonstrate that colleagues, clients and connections recognise your capabilities in specific areas. Like recommendations, the easiest way to receive endorsements is to give them.

Top Tip

  1. Odds that a head-hunter will be contacting you about your dream role upon your very first contact with them is low. Your real intent should be to build a relationship with the head-hunter so that you’re the first port of call for when that dream role comes along.

12. Be Memorable and showcase samples of your work

The chances are that prospective employers are looking at tens or even hundreds of CVs and LinkedIn profiles as part of the recruitment process.

Be sure to include stand-out achievements and your most impressive skills within your profile. More recently, LinkedIn has implemented functionality to upload supporting files or link to supplementary content on the web such as images, videos, presentations and documents (more information) to make your profile shine.

13. Show Passion & Interest

Interviews are designed, among other things, to gauge how passionate you are about working for the company and within the industry. Pre-emptively express this passion by posting information and articles and sharing relevant news within your feed. Giving your own views on stories and news helps demonstrate a strong, knowledgeable personality and keeps you up to date with the latest progressions and stories in the industry. This will also keep you informed for any topical interview questions that might come up.

14. Engage with peers, industry leaders & prospective employer pages

Connect with key industry leaders and influencers and start engaging with their posts and profiles. Demonstrate your expertise through actively contributing your thoughts and views with others around.

15. Participate in discussion groups.

Many top recruiters and employers are members (or even founders) of LinkedIn discussion groups.

Joining groups and participating in discussions and debate is a great way to build relationships with more valuable connections, whilst building and passing on knowledge.

16. Be active on LinkedIn regularly

As you build your network, you will find that your newsfeed populates more and more frequently. Keep on top of it - you never know when chance encounters or awesome job postings will happen.

Top Tip

  1. Involvement in discussion groups allows you to bypass the first degree connection requirement to message participants and see profiles without being connected. For example, start with The Law Lounge.

17. Configure your privacy settings

Like with most social networks, for privacy reasons you have the option to hide certain parts of your profile from non-connections.

However, LinkedIn is one of the places where you potentially want people to be able to find and learn about you – after all they could be a useful connection or even your next boss!

18. Take advantage of saved searches

LinkedIn allows you to save regular searches to help you grow your industry connections. You can save up to 10 job searches to find peers and people within an industry.

Once conducting a search, you can save the search options and opt to receive a regular email of new members to these networks.

19. Quickly turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume

Now that you have invested in a great LinkedIn profile - why not turn this into a resume? LinkedIn enables you to quickly and easily turn your profile into a resume using the Resume Builder Tool.

Simply choose a resume template, edit any details you need, and export it as a PDF that can be shared.

20. Create content on LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn Pulse allows individual professionals to write blog-like posts to boost their personal brand and showcase their expertise. There are now over 130,000 articles published every week through Pulse.

What's also great about these posts is that they will show up in search results for your topic and keywords. Boosting your personal brand.

21. Utilise plugins for your preferred email client or browsers

One quick way to build up your LinkedIn network is to import contacts from your email address book. However, did you know you can download browser and email plugins that help you identify new connections on LinkedIn when you are simply using the web? Both Gmail and Outlook have tools that dynamically display a sender's LinkedIn details right there within the email.

Below is a screenshot showing the Rapportive plugin for Gmail.

Want the inside scoop?

  1. Chrome (LinkedIn for Chrome) and Firefox (LinkedIn Companion for Firefox) web browsers have a number of plugins allowing you to identify existing connections and potential employers.

22. Link to external sites & profiles

You can promote your presence on other social or industry platforms and your content on other websites by adding customised links to your LinkedIn profile. Consider what links may enhance your personal brand or illustrate your area of specialisation.

23. Profile badge for website or blog

Promote your LinkedIn profile on your blog or website and grow your connections by embedding a badge. LinkedIn even supplies the code for lots of different styles to best match your layout.

24. Connect to the EJ Legal business page

Here at EJ Legal we regularly post our top jobs, latest vacancies and the latest industry news.

Follow us at LinkedIn and let us help you find your next job.

5 Biggest LinkedIn mistakes

  1. Not spending enough time on your profile
    Remember, LinkedIn is the online equivalent of a CV – make it work for you by completing as much as possible, and as accurately as possible.
  2. Sharing the wrong kind of information
    LinkedIn is not a place for being vocal about last weekend’s football match. It’s not as casual as Facebook, so ensure you keep it relatively professional (although personality can go a long way).
  3. Spamming discussion groups
    Don’t try and hard-sell yourself, focus on adding value to the conversation.
  4. Inviting strangers to connect
    LinkedIn discourages individuals trying to connect with complete strangers. Seriously consider whether it is worthwhile inviting strangers as you run the risk of annoying them and being reported as spam.
  5. Failing to proof-read
    Just like your CV, you should be going through your profile with a fine-tooth comb and asking others to go through it on your behalf. Don’t jeopardise your chances of an interview by being sloppy.