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published September 19, 2017
All law schools have some sort of alumni association set up. Alumni associations usually hold mixers, and although these types of events can seem cheesy, they are a good way to meet alumni you don’t know. Another benefit of networking events is that if you do meet someone in your practice area or in the firm you desire, you can talk to them face-to-face and use the opportunity as in impromptu informational meeting.
Alumni associations also tend to have exclusive job boards as well as a detailed directory of alumni. The directories often classify lawyers by where they work, where they’re located, and what practice area they are in. The best thing about this directory is that alumni who want their information publicly available make it so because they have fond memories of the law school and want to help out others. Access to these job boards and the contact database alone can make your five-figure or six-figure law school debt worth it if you use the contacts to your advantage.
If the phrase “networking events” fills you with dread, you can also meet alumni at college events like career panels, lectures, or even sports games or social gatherings. These events tend to be less stressful because there isn’t an expectation to talk shop, and you can get to know alumni in an informal setting and then ask for a follow-up coffee or lunch at a later date. To find these events, check out the school website, Meetup, social media, or through friends.
LinkedIn is the social media platform designed for job seekers and employers, and lawyers can use it to connect with alumni that they know and don’t know. On this platform, many alumni form private law school groups where they share industry news and job listings, and LinkedIn makes it easy to search users who list their law schools and their current and past companies. Well-written profiles also feature biographies that detail what each attorney focuses on and what some of their biggest cases have been.
To attract people to your page or get them to want to respond to you, make sure you fill out your profile completely, including using a professional photograph.
Out of the major social media platforms, Facebook is one of the most intimate. You “friend” people usually only when you actually know them, and people on Facebook tend to share personal moments such as birthday or engagement photos versus professional content that is found on LinkedIn or Twitter. Because of Facebook’s more personal nature, it’s actually a great resource for job hunting. You can reach out to your law school friends in a private message, you can join networking groups, or you can post on your wall about your job search. On Facebook, you should not friend alumni you don’t know. Save those types of connection requests for LinkedIn or Twitter.
Twitter is one of the broadest social media tools because of its feature, the “retweet.” Even someone with only 200 followers can end up with a viral tweet, and anyone can end up with a slew of followers if they continue to post quality content.
For savvy job seekers, they can use Twitter to post interesting insights about the legal world; and they can follow, like, and retweet alumni that they know and don’t know. For lawyers, one way to stand out on Twitter is to tweet about lawsuits and legal news, and to take it a step further, they can offer their insights into cases. Sometimes this can lead to controversy, but controversy may get you more attention and more followers, which could actually help you with the job search and attracting alumni who is hiring.
Twitter allows users to make their tweets private. If you are using Twitter to promote yourself and network, this isn’t a good idea because you won’t end up attracting followers and potential new contacts will not get to see your personality and thus will most likely not respond to you.
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