LinkedIn 101 for Lawyers - Your Profile and Why it Might Be Terrible

LinkedIn has over ½ a billion users (including 2 new LinkedIn users every second). That’s a lot. Of those, more than 177 million are Americans. This means it is time to stop dragging your heels and admit you need to update your profile. 

You may not believe it, but LinkedIn is a perfect resource to build your personal brand and find an effective method for networking. To do this though, you need a a top-of-the-line profile. Maybe you think you’re too busy. Maybe you just don’t know where to start. No worries! We’ve got you covered. Just follow our helpful list to build a profile worthy of 2019. Don’t be this guy. 

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Profile Picture

The first step to an award-winning (if they give awards for this) profile is your photo. No selfies. Get a professional head shot. 

  • Clear, friendly, and appropriately professional image

    • Try to smile. Makes you look warm and engaging

  • Avoid full-body or head-only shots. Show your head and shoulders

  • Square photo, 400 x 400 pixels

  • Make sure profile picture is visible to everyone

  • Avoid dark lighting or blurry photos

Cover Photo 

You might have thought the cover photo was a trend that would go away. Well, it isn’t so get with the program and put one up! Having a cover photo shows you pay attention to details. Not having it makes your profile look incomplete. While you could have a company-branded photo or logo as your cover image, you can also use something that highlights you - your interests, hobbies or past-times. This is where you can highlight something that makes you you. Just make sure that it follows these specs - 1584px x 396px.

Headline

Do you want to show up higher in LinkedIn search results, get more traffic to your profile (ahem, recruiters), and have a more impressive personal brand? Then step up and write a killer headline! LinkedIn autofills your headline with your title and current company. Maybe you want to show potential clients (or employers) your expertise or you want to better communicate what you do. This is where you use the headline.

Attorney is pretty generic, just like associate, partner, equity partner, of counsel. And on and on and on. What exactly do you do? Or is there something you want to do? Remember, this shows up in searches, and not just on LinkedIn. Be strategic (just don’t use that word as it’s too buzzy). 

Just make sure to err on the side of brevity and keep it 120 characters long. 

About / Summary 

Now you get the chance to add a little more to your profile. The about/summary section is where you can add the details to what makes you the best lawyer for the job. While this section is not weighted as heavily as the headline in search, it still plays a role. 

Additionally, in just a few sentences, it should give the reader a clear idea of who you are, what sets you apart, and what you're looking for from the viewer. Add call-to-action at the end to tell them to reach out or follow you. Avoid using legal jargon and buzzwords and remember to show (versus tell) about your skills and talents. Organize the summary in short paragraphs and don’t start each one with your name, vary the sentence construction. 

One item of note, keeping the summary to less than 270-320 characters means the ‘see more’ won’t appear. Most people are busy and have limited time so they will not see more. They will move on. For example, this section has 1,073 characters so it’s too long for a summary on LinkedIn. LinkedIn will cut you off at 2,000 but don’t try to get to that. 

Work Experience 

Last year LinkedIn updated the work experience section so that you can group different positions held at the same company. See how much better this looks? 

LinkedIn Work Experience

If you can, take advantage of the improved layout to show promotions or other career growth. Highlight any publications or rulings that show you are an active and talented attorney. Numbers stick out so any way you can incorporate stats into your work experience, the better. 

Education

This should come easy.

  •     School

    • It will fill in the school once you begin typing. You want to make sure you are connected to the correct school. 

  •     Degree

  •     Field of study

  •     Grade

  •     Activities and societies

  •     Time period

  •     Description

Just remember with the above list, if it isn’t going to help you get a client or new job, don’t go into overwhelming detail. Just highlight the important stuff. If you are in Generation X, no one really cares if you made dean’s list. Not anymore. 

All the Rest 

LinkedIn offers almost limitless options to beef up your profile. Additional sections include 

  • Licenses & Certifications

  • Volunteer Experience

  • Patents

  • Publications 

  • Courses

  • Honors & Awards

  • Languages

  • Exam Scores

  • Organizations 

How will you meet your next client? Could it be through a shared interest in an organization or other volunteer experience? Speak German fluently? Well here is where to put it if you already didn’t in the headline or summary (or put it again). Just remember, going too detailed can make you look a little coocoo (“I had a 3.7 GPA 37 years ago” - maybe let that go). 

LinkedIn offers lawyers the chance to build their personal brand and monitor it digitally. Take advantage of this FREE platform and get going on making your profile amazing. 

Overwhelmed but want to improve your LinkedIn profile and maybe your personal brand? Reach out, we can help. Nimble has been working with attorneys and HR professionals to help them present their best self professionally.