LinkedIn has long been the preferred choice for lawyers as a social business tool. There’s lots of studies to support that, and it likely doesn’t come as a surprise to many.
Given this importance that many lawyers claim to have regarding LinkedIn, though, I remain a bit surprised that some of the most basic profile elements are often MIA.
Take a look at the pieces below. If you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while — or a decade — you probably have taken advantage of these. That said, a simple comb through of your profile (or a colleagues) is probably worth your time. Chances are there are a few areas that could be improved upon with relative ease.
1. Snag a custom URL
It’s easy to clean up the look of your profile’s web address. Change this: ca.linkedin.com/pub/steve-matthews/01/234/567 into something like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevematthews.
2. Add websites to the Links area
Take a minute and add links to your firm website, your blog, any other relevant sites you contribute to or are involved with in some way. Don’t forget to include your lawyer profile page on the firm website.
(Learn how here – and be sure to choose “other” and label your websites with their actual names rather than “my website” or “my blog”)
3. Clarify your professional headline
Include a description of what you do, not just your position. For example, change your headline from “Senior Partner at ABC LLP” to “Corporate Finance & Securities Lawyer, Senior Partner at ABC LLP”.
4. Prioritize your past positions
If you’ve held a lot of positions throughout your career, consider trimming the descriptions of any that are more than 10 years old. Eliminating older jobs might not be doable, as it’s a big part of who you are; but reducing the descriptions will help make sure the jobs section doesn’t completely dominate the profile page.
5. Add contacts strategically
Consider the contacts that send you work directly or by referral, and their common characteristics. What position/title do they hold, for example. Use that title or characteristic and do a search on LinkedIn for other people from your past, or potential future contacts. If you’re not mining for potential new business via contact demographics, you’re missing one of LinkedIn’s most powerful tools.
The LinkedIn search feature can be helpful in this regard — triggering memories of your past experiences, or getting ‘the right people’ on your radar who are within x degrees of separation.
6. Add a recent presentation or publication
Have you recently written an article (think CLE, firm newsletter, etc.) or given a presentation? Get more mileage from it by posting it on LinkedIn. As a bonus, adding text or new sections makes your profile eligible to be included in LinkedIn’s email alerts to other members. When your colleagues receive their roundup of profile news, your profile is included in that message. Just make sure the change is somewhat substantive.
7. Ask for some recommendations
This isn’t a volume exercise, but acquiring a couple of impressive testimonials from very close contacts rarely hurts. Not everyone uses the “Recommendations” area, but it can be a nice touch. This also isn’t an exercise in strict reciprocity, but while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to write a few recommendations for some of your key contacts.
Any other ‘basics’ for lawyers to improve their LinkedIn profiles? Chime in with a comment.