Remote working, video meetings, online systems and digital appointments are now standard parts of the daily working lives of legal professionals. Due to the pandemic, people have had to turn to online and digital alternatives for many aspects of their work. This is also true for other areas of our professional lives. Networking, professional development and career progression are still required, even though conventional face-to-face events, interviews and conferences are on hold. One of the best online resources available in this respect is LinkedIn.
While we are working from home, it is beneficial and motivating to be part of a community. In this article, ILSPA will outline why LinkedIn is an essential tool for Legal Secretaries (and other legal professionals) in the current climate.
One of the main purposes of LinkedIn is networking and creating connections. Having a good network of connections holds so many benefits in the professional world. Advice, information and opportunities can be sought. Like many industries, the legal sector encourages and promotes networking for its members. With the absence of in-person events, platforms such as LinkedIn have come into their own. Being a professional rather than social network, it is a great place to reach out to people for career purposes.
If you don’t have a profile, or if you are the type of person who has a profile but doesn’t really use it, now is the time to start. LinkedIn is busier than ever with people embracing online networking, so it has never been easier to get involved and build good relationships with other legal professionals.
Due to the current climate, there has been a surge in online networking events, many of which are promoted through LinkedIn. So even if you are not someone who feels comfortable approaching people by sending a message or requesting to connect, there are still plenty of opportunities.
You can also join groups associated with your role, your skills or your sector. This automatically opens up a network of people who all share an interest with you. Networking does not need to stop just because you cannot meet people in person.
A great advantage of LinkedIn is that it gives individuals a chance to create a professional and personal brand. Nowadays LinkedIn is a little less about being an online CV and more about providing a well-rounded professional profile. If you do this well, you will find your profile does a large amount of work for you. By providing detailed information on your studies, skills, experience and volunteering, and updating it regularly, people can get a really good idea of your expertise and achievements. LinkedIn will recommend suitable connections from the information you have provided in your profile. You will also be recommended by LinkedIn to people who work in the same field as you.
If you can take this opportunity to play an active part and show yourself to be a knowledgeable and enthusiastic member of the community, even better.
LinkedIn has always been a fantastic tool for people who are looking for a new job. Not only are vacancies advertised directly on LinkedIn by recruiters, but they are also shared by the community. This makes your network a great place to look for roles that are relevant to you. People can share job vacancies with their network or even send an announcement directly to you if they know you are looking for work.
Another advantage of using LinkedIn when searching for a job is that you can research as well as communicate with companies and individuals. You can do this to gather information and advice for your application. You may find that you have existing connections associated with the company who you can speak to about the position and company culture.
Companies use LinkedIn to find information about potential candidates and applicants. You can give yourself a good advantage by creating a strong and impressive profile that sells you on your behalf.
Now more than ever it is important to stand out from the crowd. Opportunities to sell yourself in person to recruiters are rare at the moment. LinkedIn provides you with a way to get yourself out there in the job market.
Continual professional development is a key aspect of the legal profession. Just like Lawyers, Legal Secretaries should be proactive in advancing their knowledge and improving their skills. This ensures that they are competent and efficient in their roles. You would be forgiven if CPD had taken a back seat in 2020. With extra demands on people’s time and significant shifts in working habits to get used to, some people may not have had the chance to develop themselves professionally. You may have also found that some of your CPD courses or events did not take place.
If you are looking to undertake CPD in 2021, LinkedIn is a good online resource for knowledge and learning. Just browsing your feed will give you access to articles, webinars and online events that your connections have shared or are promoting.
You can follow ILSPA on LinkedIn for updates, information and advice.