Most law students disregard social and professional internet networks as things not to be considered in their efforts to build a career or find a job. Usually, networking for law students involves fostering ‘real’ contacts like adjunct professors, internship contacts, practicing attorneys, legal staff and real people with whom they can socially interact within a physically relevant space. Also, networks like Facebook and Twitter are used so much for personal and social networking that few law students regard these resources as tools for building professional networks. However, there are professional networks like LinkedIn and others which may be used quite beneficially by law students.
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Why law students avoid internet social networks as part of their professional networking
There are some reasons why law students avoid social networking and many of these reasons are true for the uninitiated. However, if a person is aware of the pitfalls and risks concerned with internet networking activities then such risks can be kept at a minimum and advantages at their maximum. The principal reasons why law students avoid internet social networks for professional networking include:
- Privacy concerns
- Perception of inferiority of internet social networks when it comes to professional networking
- Time wasting endeavor
However, internet professional networks, especially LinkedIn can be used to great advantage to network with other professionals, and also to ‘learn’ a lot about one’s own industry.
How internet social networks can be of value to law students for professional networking
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There is no doubt that on a regular basis, “real world” networking pays off quicker than professional networking on the internet. Nonetheless, there are certain advantages of internet social networks that cannot be refuted including:
Tips for using internet social networks to their best effect
- High page ranks of internet social networks make it certain that your profile on such networks become visible on the first page of any search. Since a law students seem unable to avoid social networking altogether, it is better that a professional profile be there on professional internet networks like LinkedIn. For instance, if a professional is searching for a law student by name, at least professional profiles in professional social networks are also on the search engine page instead of the only casual profiles on ordinary social networks. In fact, this online balance may be attractive to certain employers.
- Internet professional networks like LinkedIn help you enormously to develop and market your brand and influence what people come across when they search for you on the internet.
- Internet social networks allow you to establish and maintain relationships with old classmates, alumni, and colleagues.
- Internet social networks allow you to seek advice from experts or to establish relations with them quickly.
- Internet social networks allow you to find references who can recommend you for a job.
Internet social networks can be used for building a professional career provided the below stated tips are followed.
- Use social network invitations to connect with people of relevance.
- Do not use generic language in the invitations, but use a personally created draft.
- Develop your brand with regular profile updates, by creating groups, and by answering questions posed by other members.
- Answer questions raised on law as the questions are raised and your questions will get noticed.
- Entering legal discussion will help you to make expert contacts.
- Search for jobs from the jobs board which almost every social network seems to have nowadays.
- Use internet social networks to research about potential employers.
Finally, there is no doubt that for law students, “real people” networking is the best and most efficacious, but internet social networking is an unwatched arena, which can spell the difference in your career.
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Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
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