The Undeniable Ruth Rotating Header Image

LinkedIn

LinkedIn for Law Students – The Follow Up Questions

I had the pleasure of being part of LexisNexis’ webcast on how to use LinkedIn for law students. I was there to talk about how I use LinkedIn in my professional life. We had over 1000 students tune in for the webcast and they had the option to ask questions during the show, but we didn’t have time to get to all of them, so here are my responses to some of those questions.

LinkedIn Chocolates by Nan Palmero from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

LinkedIn Chocolates by Nan Palmero from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

How Important is it to Include my Photo in my Profile?
Very important. If you don’t have a photo on your profile, I will assume that you haven’t been active on LinkedIn since the day you created your account. Why would I want to connect with someone on a platform where they don’t want to connect with anyone? I don’t. So yes, you need to put your photo on your profile, and make a picture of you, not your pet or your kids. This is a professional forum. (And some of us are really bad at remembering what people look like so having your photo on your profile is a big help.)

I’m hesitant to Enable Endorsements because of the potential Ethical Problems. Any Advice?
I enabled endorsements but I don’t give them a lot of weight in general because people can endorse you for skills that they have no actual knowledge if you have them. If someone tries to endorse me for a skill I don’t have or a topic that is outside my areas of practice, I don’t allow it.

How much of a Job Description should I include for each Position that I have held?  I do not want it to be a Restatement of my Resume.
I think mine are basically cut and pasted from my resume. If you don’t want to do that, be as brief as you can while giving an accurate description of each job.

How do I Tailor my Profile to keep my Options Open and Not Turn Off Potential Employers or those I am looking to Maximize Opportunities with even when they Conflict?
Keep your descriptions focused on your skills and interests that will appeal to most people. Avoid the specifics that might make you a turn off to a particular audience. For example, you can say you’re interested in a certain practice area without stating which side of the fence you’re on.

How do you Feel about the “Request an Introduction” function in LinkedIn?
Introductions are basically endorsements so definitely ask for introductions if you know someone who knows the person you want to meet. On LinkedIn, I connect with anyone who doesn’t look like spam, and a lot of other people do the same. Don’t be upset if you request an introduction and the person responds that they can’t help you because they don’t actually know the person you want to meet.

My LinkedIn Connections as of Nov. 17, 2013

My LinkedIn Connections as of November 17, 2013

How Often should I Post to LinkedIn?
As often as it’s relevant. It may not be relevant to post on a regular basis. I do because I post links on my blogs and videos, but not much more than that.

How do we Connect when we Don’t Know the Person? LinkedIn requires you know the person as a Friend, Colleague, etc. when attempting to Create a Connection.
I’ll say I’m a friend even if I don’t know the person but I personalize the request to connect so they know why I want to connect with them. This appears to be a generally accepted practice.

Do you Recommend putting Less ‘Formal’ Forms of Contact (such as Twitter) on LinkedIn?
I would put all your contact information for all the forums where you want to connect with people. Always include an email address and they it’s your choice to add your phone number, Twitter handle, blog, etc.

When should I get a LinkedIn Account?
Yesterday.

Always remember that LinkedIn, like all social media platforms, is a communications tool. Having an account is not enough; it’s what you do with it that matters.

I hope this has been helpful. If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, feel free.

How Should I Respond to the Guy who Hit on me via LinkedIn?

When it comes to social media, the easiest places to connect with me are Twitter and LinkedIn. Anyone can follow me on Twitter (and all my tweets are public) and as long as you look like a real person and not spam, I’ll accept your invitation to connect on LinkedIn. I only seek out people on LinkedIn if I know them in real life or if there’s someone I want to meet and LinkedIn is the only way I can contact them.

Question 1 by Virtual EyeSee from Flickr

Question 1 by Virtual EyeSee from Flickr

I recently accepted an invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn who lives out of state, who shortly thereafter sent me a question about whether I could help with a tax question for him and his business. My profile says I do business law so I’m not surprised to get a question about taxes that’s related to running a business. For the record, I don’t do tax law and I suggested he contact his state or county bar association and request a referral.

He responded and thanked me, and then he asked ask if I was married because he’s “simply stunned at [my] beauty.” He wants to be my friend and get to know me better.

How do I respond to that? Who hits on someone via LinkedIn? It’s weird, especially since we live in different states! I look at LinkedIn as a forum for professional networking so it threw me off guard to have someone approach me with a romantic tone, especially since he doesn’t know anything about me except what’s on my profile. It’s like he wants to date my resume. Is that bizarre to anyone else?

I haven’t responded to this and I’m not sure if there even is an appropriate response. I’m not interested in getting to know him because (1) I don’t know him (and don’t plan to since he doesn’t live anywhere close to me) and (2) it’s weird that he hit on me via LinkedIn. (And people who do know me in real life know what a big deal it is for me to consider something “weird.”)

If you have any suggestions about what I should say to this guy (or not) please leave it as a comment.

PS – In case you haven’t figured it out, anything you do or say in my presence can and will end up on my blog. Life is blog material!

I Was Cyberbullied – Part 4 of 4

This is the final installation of my four-part story with cyberbullying. You can read it from the beginning here. Back to the story . . .

After finals were over, I filed a formal report with the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. They said there was nothing they could do at that point, but that people like her engage in the same behavior repeatedly. They suggested that I send my bully an email informing her that any future contact was unwanted and would be reported to the university as harassment. If she contacted me again, it would be actionable. I disagreed with their assessment, but I sent my bully the email.

Seclusion & Serenity by Iwona Erskine-Kellie

Thankfully, my bully only had one more semester of school and we didn’t have any classes together. If we had been in any of the same classes, I would have asked the school to make her change. It was still nerve-wracking to see her on campus, but we never had direct contact again. Last I heard, she moved to California. Shortly after graduation, I blocked my bully and my other former exec on Facebook. Doing that made me feel like I was closing the door on that chapter of my life.

I had an unsettling experience last week with my bully – she asked to connect on LinkedIn! I was surprised she would want to be a connection given her animosity towards me. I suspect she uploaded all her contacts to her LinkedIn account and requested to connect with all of them, not thinking that there might be people in her contacts list that she doesn’t want to be connected to. I looked for the ability to block someone on LinkedIn and was shocked to learn that LinkedIn doesn’t provide that ability. The best you can do is deny someone the ability to connect with you. I expected them to have a stronger anti-harassment provision. I would like to block her on that site too, but that is not an option at this time.

So there’s my story. It was hellaciously stressful to be the victim of cyberbullying. I’m so grateful that I had support from my friends, my family, and the law school. I can’t imagine how much worse it could have been if I had to endure it alone. Unfortunately, that’s what happens to too many children. They’re ostracized from their peers and they’re too afraid to ask for help from their parents or teachers.

To all the victims of cyberbullying, I know it’s hard to admit that you’re being bullied, and I know it’s scary to ask for help, but do it. You don’t have to go through this alone and you don’t have to continue to be the victim.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Reinventing Professional Services – Top 5 Tips For Lawyers

Photo courtesy of Ari Kaplan Advisors

Ari Kaplan’s new book, Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace addresses the question of how professionals can integrate new technologies into their businesses to be more influential and effective.  Loaded with resources and stories from professionals in all industries, Ari’s book provides suggestions about how to use social media, blogging, e-newsletters, and video/audio recordings that makes them less daunting.

As I read this book, I reflected on the legal profession, which has the stereotypes of being dignified and particular, and where deviating from the norm is often frowned upon.  Many lawyers and law firms shy away from online resources and tools.  Perhaps this is because of the strict rules in the profession about advertising and soliciting clients, or because members the profession have a low tolerance for making mistakes.

I’ve compiled the top five lessons lawyers can integrate from this book into their professional lives.

1.       Social Media is a Tool, not the Goal.
It seems that a lot of professionals think that having a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, or a blog is enough, but then they never use them.  Doing this is like buying a hammer and never building anything.  These professionals do not understand that these are tools to communicate more effectively with other professionals and clients.  These are merely channels to “cultivate relationships.”  These are fantastic tools for building trust by being genuine and consistent.  Using these tools is not a one-time event; it requires “habitual participation.”

2.       Be a “Visible Enthusiastic Expert.”
This is one of the best lessons I took from this book.  Being a visible enthusiastic expert means being part of the online conversation on topics where you have interest and expertise.  It’s important to contribute “rich content” and to convey your passion.  Conversing with other experts in an online forum is an effective way to become associated with them.  Even the simple act of sharing a link to another’s work shows that you are aware and informed about a topic.  Additionally, being transparent about who you are and what you can do without being a salesperson conveys to others that you care about a particular issue or population.

3.       Pick Your Targets.
Having a solid online presence is a good start, but it’s not the end.  When there are people you want to connect with, you have to reach out to them.  Don’t wait for them to find you.  Websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ are instant ice-breakers for introducing yourself to new people.  They provide comfortable opportunities to ask a person for advice or for an informational interview.  If your first attempt at interaction fails to produce the desired result, be sure to follow up.

4.       Do Not Be Afraid to Fail.
Law students are instilled with the notion that they must always be perfect – perfect appearance, perfect cover letters, perfect work product, etc.  They graduate thinking the worst thing they could do is misspell a word on an email.  This can make them gun shy to try new things.  Ari’s book demonstrates that most of these new tools are easier to use than you think.  He encourages readers to consider who they want to connect with, where they are interacting, and to join the conversation.  He promises that you will fail some of the time, and that’s ok.  If you try using an e-newsletter and it doesn’t work for you, you can use another tool like blogging or LinkedIn to reach your audience.  Figuring out what works for you and your business is part of the process.

5.       Never Forget the Value of In-Person Contact
Using technology to communicate with someone is less intimidating than picking up the phone; however it is more impersonal.  Nothing will ever replace face-to-face contact, which is more personal and memorable.  It is important to look for opportunities to meet people in person whenever possible and to continue to build relationships with thoughtful follow up.

Using these tips and tools requires willingness and commitment.  The potential benefits of using technology should overpower any fears that come with trying new things.  Always keep in mind that these tools are to facilitate interaction, not for self-promotion.

Ari Kaplan, a Fastcase50 honoree, is the principle of Ari Kaplan Advisors in New York City and the author of The Opportunity Maker, Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development (Thomson-West, 2011).  I bartered this blog post in exchange for a copy of his new book. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

SALK Day 8 – Amanda Ellis – The Social Media Connection

My sponsor today is Amanda Ellis, attorney recruiter and founder of Amanda Ellis Legal Search.  Her firm assists associate level attorneys in finding jobs.  She is also the author of The 6Ps of the Big 3 for Job-Seeking JDs, a book that provides a detailed overview about how attorneys can use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to develop business or find a job.  She also maintains a blog on this topic with tips and her appearance schedule.  Many professionals are afraid of social networking sites.  Her book does a great job of instructing professionals on how to use these sites and tips for having a professional presence online and building relationships with others.  I’m looking forward to implementing some of her suggestions on how to use LinkedIn to find a job in my upcoming search for post-graduation employment.  When Ellis sponsored today, she asked me to share one of my success stories of being a law student and using social media.  I thought I would tell the social media history of Sponsor A Law Kid.

One thing I’ve learned about networking through social media is that it is a process, not an event.  It’s about building relationships and seeing each connection and conversation and a potential stepping stone.

In January 2009, I was a 1L who had just finished her first semester of law school and did not stick out in a crowd.  I attended the first Global No Pants Ride in Phoenix.  I was intrigued by the boldness of Jeff Moriarty for planning such an event and decided that I wanted to meet him.  I purposely stood next to him on the ride and struck up a conversation with him.  By the end of the day we were “friends” on Facebook.  Through Jeff, I heard about Ignite Phoenix, and presented on the legalities of participating in public pranks at Ignite Phoenix #5.  One of the other presenters at Ignite was Kade Dworkin.  Kade and I kept in contact and about a year later, he started his own podcast called Meet My Followers where he interviewed his Twitter followers.  I was on his podcast and listened to his other shows.  One of his guests was Jason Sadler, founder of I Wear Your Shirt.  As I listened to Jason discuss how he makes a living by wearing shirts and creating content, I was inspired to use my blog to fund my final semester of law school.  In November 2010, I launched Sponsor A Law Kid.  This campaign has opened the door for me to connect with attorneys all over the country and opportunities to be a guest blogger for other websites.  It took almost two years and at least seven steps from participating in a prank to being mentioned on Above the Law, The Nutmeg Lawyer, Blind Drunk Justice, and ABAJournal.com.

Twitter is my primary modality for networking.  It is how I create and maintain connections with people in the legal community.  Along with connecting online, I try to connect with as many people as I can in reality through attending events and inviting attorneys to coffee or lunch.  I have stronger connections with people that I have met in person than with people I only know online.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school.  Today’s sponsor is Amanda Ellis.  For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Twitter – The Untapped Resource for Law Students

I joined Twitter about 16 months ago.  I originally joined to keep in touch with my friends while I was in Missouri with the U.S. Army JAG last summer.  Since then, it has become one of my primary networking tools.  It is the easiest way I know to start a conversation with someone.  I’m surprised by how few students at my law school are using it.

Free twitter badge
Image via Wikipedia

A few months ago, Twitter helped me break the ice with Sam Glover when he spoke at my school.  Recently, it helped me create a connection with Tim Eigo and Arizona Attorney Magazine.  I don’t know how he found me, but he started following me in August and said that he liked this blog.  I went on LinkedIn and the Arizona Bar Association website to confirm his identity and then started a conversation with him.  That led to a lunch and hopefully this is the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship.

Twitter has given me the ability to connect with a vast number of people, entities, and information that I otherwise would not have the time to seek out on my own.  It is the main way that I keep up with developments in the legal profession.  It also helps me stay informed about what my friends, local businesses, and celebrities are doing.

Online Best Colleges.com and Rasmussen College published their lists for the Top 100 Legal Twitter Feeds.  These are all wonderful people to follow.  Like them, I also want to acknowledge some of my favorite legal people and entities on Twitter who consistently post informative and entertaining content.

I also want to give props to Erin Biencourt, a 2L at Arizona State University, who is new to Twitter.  She claims that she needs me to give her Twitter lessons because she’s still figuring out how retweets and replies work.  She’s doing better than she realizes because she’s already overcome the biggest hurdle just by becoming part of the conversation.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Targeted Networking

When I first moved to Phoenix in 2004, I didn’t have a job. Catherine Marsh, a woman who was a leader in the financial industry back when women leaders were a rare occurrence, told me that 85% of getting a job is who you know, not what you. This has been true in every profession I’ve encountered, especially when you’re the new guy.

Despite my adventurous attitude, I’m a fairly introverted person. I don’t like big crowds of people, especially when I hardly know anyone. The idea of going to networking events makes me groan. I much prefer to meet one-on-one with people or in small groups where our gathering has a purpose. I have, however, found a few ways to network that seem to work for me.

I prefer to avoid big dog-and-pony-show networking events. I prefer panel discussions and guest speaker events instead. I usually bring my laptop with me, and if there is someone I want to meet afterwards, I look them up on the internet. Most older lawyers don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter account, but many of them have LinkedIn profiles. I’ll request to connect with them, while the event is going on and say how much I’m enjoying their talk. If they have a Twitter account, I’ll follow them. I tend to stay away from people I don’t know on Facebook until I have established a dialogue them unless they say, “Find me on Facebook.”

Last semester my school had an awesome panel of lawyers who are on the ABA’s Legal Rebels list. Since I am not a traditional law student, I was excited to see my fellow non-conformists. Sam Glover from The Lawyerist was particularly interesting to me. I remembering sitting in the audience thinking, “I need to meet this guy.” I hopped on Google and searched for him. By the time he was done describing what he does in his professional life, I was following him and his blog on Twitter and I had tweeted out how much I was enjoying his talk. I was so grateful to hear from someone who was making their law degree work for them in a way that complimented their personality.

While the other presenters were sharing their stories, I watched Sam tinker with his cell phone. I giddily hoped that he was checking his Twitter and saw that I was following him. After the event was over, a handful of people gathered around Sam. As I approached the group Sam looked at me and said, “You must be Ruth.” I was elated. Since then we’ve connected through this blog and Twitter. He’s been a great resource for me.

Targeted networking is a strategy that seems to work best for me. When I hear someone or hear about someone I want to meet, I look for ways to connect with them either online or in person. It’s much less stressful and often more successful than going to general networking events where I may not meet anyone who shares any of my interests in the legal profession. Most lawyers I’ve met are happy to help the neophytes coming down the pike, but usually I have to initiate the conversation.

Enhanced by Zemanta