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Yes, Online Profiles Matter for Lawyers: Eight Simple Tips for Maximizing LinkedIn

You are on LinkedIn, right? No?! Well, it’s time. LinkedIn is a high quality, FREE, professional social media platform that you NEED to be on. It is more business-oriented than Facebook, so if you are uncomfortable with the idea of having a personal profile or business page on Facebook, you definitely need to have a solid presence on LinkedIn. It is a place for clients and referral sources to find you. It is also an excellent place to list job openings in your firm or to be recruited. The complete maximization of LinkedIn is beyond the scope of this article, but here are some highlights.

Eight simple tips for maximizing the impact of your FREE (did I mention this?) LinkedIn profile:

1. Upload a NICE, CURRENT Headshot. Every lawyer needs a professional headshot. If you are even just 3 months into practice, you should have this done. If you work for a firm, they should pay. If you work for yourself, find someone good and “just do it!” If you are in a government or public service position, you still need one. I recommend having your hair and makeup professionally done as well. Gentlemen, this includes you. Get a fresh haircut, beard trim, and let the makeup artist apply a little powder. No one wants to look “shiny” in a headshot. You will want to use these for at least 3-5 years. Do NOT post a “selfie” from your phone to LinkedIn. Your profile will not look professional or serious. It is better to leave the photo spot empty (or use a stock photo) than to post something unprofessional.

2. Consider Updating Your Resume Before You Go Too Far Into The Profile Edit. This is an easy and efficient way to make sure you get everything correct. Bonus material: it is a good idea to keep your resume current at all times anyway. You never know when you might need to submit it. Plus, it is ONE place to keep all pertinent jobs, memberships, and speaking engagements organized and up-to-date.

3. Start At The Top With Inputting The Data You Are Prompted To Add, i.e., education, experience, etc. A recent approach is to put in a short (three word?) tagline in the “Headline” field. This is catchy and powerful. Your marketing company may have already created this tagline for you. Be aware of your state’s rules on what you can claim. For example, some states do not allow you to call yourself a “specialist” if you are not board certified. Input information into every field below that exists.

4. Consider Writing Articles For Publication: LinkedIn has a nice template for creating articles from scratch. This is an easy, FREE way to showcase your knowledge and expertise. Plus, any articles you write on LinkedIn can be shared to your website blog (or elsewhere). Be sure to add a nice photo at the top of the article. You can insert any photo you have taken or stock photos from online sites. Those are also often FREE.

5. Recommendations: These can be from any professional or friend that you know, including clients, opposing counsel, co-counsel, or simply a colleague or friend who can honestly comment on your wonderful attributes. I HIGHLY recommend spacing out requests to colleagues so it does not appear you lined them all up on the same day. This looks disingenuous. Also, you may not want to request a recommendation from someone you are not likewise comfortable endorsing, because he/she is bound to ask that you return the favor. You are more likely to receive a recommendation if you include a personal note to the person (via the LinkedIn request) you are asking to give the recommendation. Whatever he/she writes will be sent to you in advance for your approval.

6. Upload Photos And Video: Whenever possible, upload quality photos and videos to your profile. These can be still shots, video of you speaking, testimonials from clients (pending bar approval), etc.

7. Seek and Provide Endorsements for Skills: This section allows your contacts to endorse you for various skills. You can return the favor of course!

8. Simplify Your Life by Downloading the Linkedin App: Like almost everything in our lives, yes, there IS an app for this! You can download it on your phone and set

it to allow notifications (the little red dot on top of the app icon) or not. Personally, I like to see the notifications so I can respond promptly.

I hope the above tips have been helpful to you. As promised, they are all very basic. I am happy to advise you on how to maximize LinkedIn or to do it for you. Just text or call me at 904-994-2481 or email me at CarpeArgentumCoaching@gmail.com.

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