All posts by Frank Nilsen

Why Everyone Keeps Telling You LinkedIn is so Great

by Katherine White

If you search the Internet you will find a lot has been written about LinkedIn, clearly the most widely used online professional networking site. Business colleagues may visit your profile before an important meeting, search firms constantly use this tool to identify new candidates for positions, and your former and current colleagues who are sources of referrals of all kinds will benefit from knowing what your current work entails and more about your skills.

How are NALP members using this valuable tool? A few examples, along with a series of step-by-step tips for enhancing your LinkedIn profile, follow.

A Personalized Network

Betsy Armour, Assistant Dean and Dean of Career Services at the USC Gould School of Law, only accepts invitations from people she knows. She uses LinkedIn to connect with her own professional circle and strives to preserve the integrity of her connection list. As her friends and colleagues move, she is able to keep in touch with them at their new organizations. When Betsy made her recent career move, she really appreciated the outpouring of well wishes from people in her network.

Keeping in Touch with Alumni

Wendy Siegel, Director of Recruitment and Marketing at NYU School of Law, uses LinkedIn daily — mainly to find alumni in alternative careers to refer to her students. She notes that it is difficult to find alumni in these nontraditional jobs otherwise, and LinkedIn is a great tool. In addition, she loves getting updates about alumni as they change jobs, so she can congratulate them and stay in touch. Members who work with alumni from their law firms find that the same benefits apply.

Read the Feed

Sue Manch, Firmwide Director of Recruiting and Development at Bingham, utilizes the LinkedIn news feed on the home page to keep up to date on what’s happening in legal recruiting, professional development, business development, marketing, and other related industries her contacts write about.

Status Updates

Megan McGrath, Assistant Director of Employer Outreach at GW Law, notes that when she was on the law firm side she used the status function to post job openings and included a link to her firm’s online application site. She also recommends posting publications as a link on your profile and as status updates.

LinkedIn Profile Search Leads to Job Lead

I recently reviewed the profile of an alum at a small law firm in California to determine whether he would be a good connection for a law student I was counseling. I did not send the alum a message. Later that day, I got an invitation to connect. The alum reached out because he saw I had reviewed his profile and wanted to share a job opening with our school. This is not common, but it is a great example of how both parties can benefit from using LinkedIn.

There are many more examples to share, but let’s now turn to a few tips to get you started, or to help you enhance your LinkedIn profile if you are already up and running.

Completing Your Profile:

  • Enter at least one good line about the work you did at each job. What skills do you have? Describe what was required at each job without duplicating every detailed entry from your résumé.
  • Highlight the experiences that fit the career path you are planning for your future. If you are hoping to move into professional development, for example, you can note the PD projects you have worked on in your summary.

Branding Yourself — The Photo:

  • Choosing a professional photo is important. First impressions matter. It might be worth it to have a professional head shot taken so that you will present at your best. At a minimum, have a friend take a photo for you (a nice background as with an outside shot is often more appealing).

Profile Heading:

  • To maximize your profile, be sure to include a descriptor in your job title if it’s not clear from the title what work you do. While most NALP members have titles that are descriptive, consider this when advising lawyers or law students about their headings.
  • The heading is meant to be short, so you won’t have a lot of space — but try to capture the most important message in the heading.

Summary Statement:

  • Your summary statement is perhaps the most important section of your LinkedIn profile. Take the time to write something that hits on your strongest skills and what you want to be known for.
  • Subheadings are a great idea — they pull the reader’s attention to the topics you consider most important and break up the text.
  • Review summaries of others in your field to get ideas. Do you get a clear picture of the person and their work from their summary?
  • Think about the purpose of your presence on LinkedIn. What does your summary convey about your career and accomplishments? If you are looking for a job you will want to include skills and descriptions that show how your experience will fit the requirements of the work you are seeking.

Key Words in the Summary:

  • LinkedIn is a search engine driven by key words. Colleagues, business contacts, and search firms will be able to find you if you include key words that best describe your work.
  • Go to the “Advanced Search” bar at the top of the LinkedIn home page to search for specific keywords, and you can find people in jobs like your own. Type into the “key words” field, for example, “professional development” or “career coach” and see what the job descriptions of the people who show up in your search reveal.

Consider the ABA Rules in Describing Your Work:

Going Beyond the Basics — Groups:

  • You can join groups on LinkedIn to connect with others through industry groups, professional organizations, alumni groups, and alumni subgroups. If you are at a law firm and your firm has an intellectual property practice, you might want to join some IP groups, for example.
  • Group members often post jobs; trends in an industry are discussed; and you can connect with people you might not otherwise meet through the Groups function. You can adjust the settings for how often you would like to receive announcements of group discussions, and you can also follow groups on LinkedIn.

Customize Your Settings:

  • You can guide access to your profile and other details about your LinkedIn settings. To make changes, go to your photo at the top far right end of the toolbar. Click to open the menu, and choose “Privacy and Settings.” From there you can manage frequency of group emails, who can see your profile, and other settings.

Finally, if you would like to learn more about LinkedIn’s features, contact LinkedIn and they will arrange to offer a tutorial for your organization. LinkedIn is an evolving, dynamic social media site. Happy Networking!


 Katherine White is the Chair of the NALP Experienced Professionals Section. She is also Director of Employer Outreach at The George Washington University Law School and an attorney coach with KT White Law Careers, LLC.


Reprinted from NALP Bulletin, November 2014. © 2014 National Association for Law Placement, Inc.® (NALP®) All rights reserved. This article may be printed for personal use only. Any reproduction, retransmission or republication of all or part of this material is expressly prohibited unless NALP or the copyright owner has granted prior written consent. For reprint permission contact the NALP office at (202) 835-1001 or www.nalp.org.

7 Steps to Follow to Make a Successful Move

Many of you and the experienced attorneys I work with – have never really had to look for a job before. They were hired as a summer associate out of law school moved with a group at their law firm to another firm – or were enticed by a client to go in-house. Or, began their careers in the government and stayed there.

If that is your situation – you might benefit from hiring a career coach to help you think about your next move – do you want to stay in your current field or industry? Or is now the time to try something you have always wanted to do? And what does that something look like? The following are ideas I presented at a PLI webcast last spring, “Career Moves and the Experienced Attorney.”

7 Steps to Follow to Make a Successful Move

  1. Taking Stock – Take the time to assess your situation and reasons you want to move, before starting your job search.
  2. Research Market and Develop Goals – What is going on in the market? If you are moving in to a new field, you should thoroughly research that field, and talk to people in the field.
  3. How do YOUR skills match up? – Make a list of your skills; what do you have to offer? What don’t you like about your current work? What are your strengths, and then go after jobs that will be a fit.
  4. Gather Intel – Informational Interviews – Talk to people who are in the line of work you want to transition to. When applying for jobs, it is important to apply your research and analytical skills. What is the most important to the employer? Read about the employer’s successful business transactions, or if it’s a law firm or government agency, recent wins. What is in the news that might impact the employer, and how could you add value to their business, organization or firm?
  5. Enlist Contacts to Pave the Way – Who do you know who can recommend you to the future employer? Identify the people who can help.
  6. Apply for the job – Be SURE your resume fits the job description. Take the time to customize it for the type of organization – a corporate resume is much different that a law firm resume. First impressions count!
  7. Make the Most of the Interview – Thoroughly prepare for the interview. This again, is where a career coach can help. Treat the interview process like an oral argument or a major business development meeting. A practice interview session will boost your confidence and prepare you for questions you may not have anticipated.

My services include:

  • Career Transitions
  • Creating a Strategic Career Plan
  • Resume Review
  • Interview Preparation
  • Management Coaching
  • How to Build your Professional Network and Business Development Skills

Seven Tips for Lawyers: Making the Most of LinkedIn

If you search the Internet, you will find a lot has been written about LinkedIn, clearly the most widely used on-line professional networking site. Potential clients and business colleagues may visit your profile before an important meeting, search firms constantly use this tool to identify new candidates for positions, and your former and current colleagues who are sources of referrals of all kinds will benefit from knowing what your current work entails and more about your skills.

The following are a few tips to get you started, or to help you enhance your LinkedIn profile.

  1. Branding Yourself – The Photo
    1. Choosing a professional photo is important. First impressions matter. It might be worth it to have a professional head shot taken, so you will present at your best. At a minimum, have a friend take a photo for you (a nice background, like an outside shot, is often more appealing).
  2. Profile Heading
    1. Most attorneys use their job titles as a headline. Associate, General Counsel, Partner, Senior Counsel, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. To maximize your profile, be sure to include your practice area in your headline, or a key word about your work. “Partner and Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Practice,” for example. Or, “The Law Offices of Mary Flood, Employment Attorney.”
    2. The heading is meant to be short – so you won’t have a lot of space, but try to capture the most important message in the heading.
  3. Summary Statement
    1. Your summary statement is perhaps the most important section of your LinkedIn profile. Take the time to write something that hits on your strongest skills, and the practice experience you want to be known for.
    2. Sub headings are a great idea – they pull the reader’s attention to the topics you consider most important, and break up the text.
    3. Review summaries of others in your field to get ideas. Do you get a clear picture of the person and their practice from their summary?
    4. Think about the purpose of your presence on LinkedIn. If you are in private practice, and you want to brand yourself for clients, describe your practice areas in a concise way, but also use language that describes your work in a particular industry or industries.
    5. If you are looking for a job you will want to include skills and practice descriptions that show how your experience will fit the requirements of the work you are seeking.
  4. Key Words in The Summary
    1. LinkedIn is a search engine, driven by key words. Potential clients, colleagues, and search firms will be able to find you if you include key words that best describe your work.
    2. Go to the “Advanced Search” bar at the top of the LinkedIn home page to search for specific keywords, and you will find people in practices like your own. Type into the “key words” field, for example, “intellectual property” or “transportation” and see what the job descriptions of the people who show up in your search reveals.
  5. Completing Your Profile
    1. Enter at least one good line about the work you did at each job. What skills do you have? Describe what was required at each job without duplicating every detailed entry from your resume.
    2. Highlight the experiences that fit the career path you are planning for your future.
  6. Consider the ABA Rules in Describing Your Work
    1. It would be prudent to review the ABA rules in describing your services – the terms “expert” and “specialist” must be properly used.
    2. See this recent article for more information: American Bar publication.
  7. Going Beyond the Basics – Groups
    1. You can join groups via LinkedIn to connect with others in your field of practice, industry groups, professional organizations, alumni groups and alumni sub groups.
    2. Group members often post jobs, trends in an industry are discussed, and you can connect with people you might not otherwise meet via the Groups function. You can adjust the settings for how often you would like to receive group discussions, and you can also follow groups via LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is an evolving, dynamic social media site. Happy Networking!

Senior Law Firm Associate Recently Promoted To Partner

“Our work together exceeded my expectations – Katie helped me identify the challenges unique to my practice specialty and my own marketing strengths and weaknesses in formulating a focused networking and business development plan I could manage and execute. I really appreciated her high level-experience “in the trenches” at several leading law firms… I’d enthusiastically recommend Katie to any lawyer interested in developing their networking and business development skills, and to any law firm working to improve those skills in its own lawyers.”

– Senior Law Firm Associate Recently Promoted To Partner

Services

Katie White, of KT White Law Careers offers an unusually broad and knowledgeable “insider’s” perspective to clients seeking career advice.  Here is what sets her apart:

  • Senior management positions with responsibilities for recruitment, professional development, and associate relations at several major U.S. and international law firms
  • Coaching, counseling, and marketing experience at a major law school with marketplace expertise in government, in-house and public interest sectors
  • Insight into navigating law firm politics and culture and translating this experience into new markets
  • A results oriented and practical approach to career development

Services

Coaching: We provide coaching to attorneys in a variety of industries and at all career levels. We have worked with senior and junior in-house counsel, law firm partners, counsel, and associates, attorneys in local, state, and federal government, and non-profit organizations and association counsel.

Presentations: Program topics include Goal Setting for Career Success; How to Utilize LinkedIn; Interview and Resume Writing Workshops; Practical Time Management Tools, and other topics relating to Career Development.

Career Transitions

Attorneys in the process of making a career change receive individual coaching sessions:

  • Initial meeting includes an assessment to determine client interests, skills work history and future plans, and identification of ideas for the next phase of the client’s career;
  • Market analysis and brainstorming about how to move from private sector to public sector, from law firm to in-house, from government to private practice, etc.;
  • Resume review and advice about tailoring resumes to fit the requirements of specific jobs and industries;
  • Cover letter and application materials review;
  • Networking tools and ideas for use of contacts in job search process; and
  • LinkedIn training to optimize networking contacts.