Effective networking is not complicated, but calculated. So below you’ll find a few, simple mediums that will allow you to network within your industry subtly and successfully.
Leaving The Law Blog writes about LinkedIn:
“Haven’t heard of it? It’s a social networking site for professionals. Actually, it’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon on steroids.”
LinkedIn is a great networking tool for lawyers. Like other social networks, LinkedIn allows a person to link themselves with friends and fellow professionals. It’s an online resume that’s searchable by recruiters and employers.
With the paid version, membership also allows a person to request introductions to 2nd degree professionals, send emails to people out of your network, and obtain more information about other members (provided the privacy settings permit).
Most people use Facebook as a social outlet. However, this social media tool can be used for networking as well.
Many law firms or legal services companies now have Facebook pages, so it’s a great way to find out a little more information about other professionals in your field, in addition to the firms for which they work.
Plus, with appropriate privacy settings, you don’t have to worry about your current job watching your every move, should you decide to move.
3. Professional Organizations
Because a lawyer pays so many dues to the state bar, as an attorney, it’s easy to eschew expensive memberships to other professional organizations.
But, memberships to legal associations and organizations will provide important introductions to the who’s-who of the industry in your area.
Google “American Association of….” and fill in the blank as a start.
Yes, your neighbor’s block party could lead to future employment. Don’t underestimate the power of sociability and third-party connections.
If you’re looking to change careers or move firms, the first step might be stepping out of your comfort zone, and attending a social event or two. Personal recommendations go a long way, especially in today’s sterile, digital world.
Finally, given the opportunity, don’t forget three simple networking behavior tips:
- Hand out a business card.
- Sell your elevator pitch.
- Follow-up with a phone call or e-mail.
Be proactive in your networking. Even if you’re not looking for a new job, professional networking will come in handy when you need a second opinion on a case or a referral for a client.
The key to successful networking is an ability to take initiative, sociability (online and off), and the confidence to introduce yourself and show what you’re about in 30 seconds or less.