Why your digital footprint can make or break your job prospects
Today’s job marketplace is incredibly competitive and law firms face two very distinct challenges: how to find the best legal professionals people to come and work for them and how to keep the talent they already have.
Our job as recruiters is to focus on the former but the approach we take in ensuring we secure the right person for the right role also tackles the latter. It’s about doing our homework.
Anyone can write a brilliant CV, but a CV is little more than a marketing document whose purpose in life is to ‘sell’ the applicant as a candidate of choice. Taken in isolation, a CV is not enough on its own to win you an interview – there are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration first.
Indeed, just because the CV in front of us ticks all the boxes of what our client is looking for in an applicant, that doesn’t make them the candidate of choice. But what we find out about them online could.
Your digital footprint can tell us more about your suitability for a role than a beautifully crafted CV ever can. The key thing to remember is that the success or failure of a law firm depends on its own reputation and that of the people who work there.
That means only recruiting those who demonstrate their talent on a consistent basis:
Have you published articles for the local paper or trade press? Have you spoken at relevant events or been part of a roundtable or panel debate discussing a topical issue? Do you write for the firm’s blog or perhaps you run your own blog?
These are actions that help to position you as a thought leader within your specific area of practice, whilst raising your profile and that of the law firm you represent at the same time.
Networker, engager and influencer
How active are you on social media and how often do you engage with your online community? Who are you engaging and connecting with – colleagues across the profession as well as those in the same law firm, clients (former, current and prospective), membership organisations or even the media (local press and trade journalists)?
How up to date is your LinkedIn profile – do you contribute to relevant group discussions or post articles on your personal profile? What is your opinion on certain topics – neutral or controversial?
When searching potential applicants for our clients, we are looking for people who can bring more to the table than simply an impressive set of qualifications of years of experience.
With the legal sector becoming increasingly competitive, to stay ahead of the curve law firms need people to ensure that they remain front of mind for any potential client who may require their services. By being seen to be ‘hanging out’ with the right people, whether online or offline, will immediately raise your stock in the eyes of a future employer.
Personal brand builder or destroyer?
Sometimes what you don’t say online positively or negatively impact your chances of job success. The single most important thing to consider when using social media to help find your next position is to represent yourself in the right way.
Avoid posting pictures of yourself partying the night away or having after-work drinks with your colleague every week – too many of these images will see potential employers question how reliable and on-the-ball you will be when you show up for work the next morning.
Similarly, sharing posts on any of your social profiles bemoaning a bad day at the office, the boss who gets on your nerves or the client that drives you crazy will cast a shadow of doubt over your professionalism, ethics and respect for confidentiality.
The simple rule of thumb is this: If your current boss saw what you were posting, would they approve or would a short-sharp-trip to the HR department be the most likely outcome?
Employers want the best people to work for them, so they need to see that these people actually practice what they preach. We can all claim to be experts or specialists, but you need to be able to demonstrate these things.