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This article explains the importance of LinkedIn in the life of a law student. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. Like many law students, while pursuing their course, are actively looking for new opportunities, LinkedIn is the right place for them.
The entire platform is designed to facilitate growth. This article articulates the features of LinkedIn a law student can use, a beginner’s guide to using LinkedIn and the article finally reveals the difference LinkedIn can make in your life.
Why Should You Be on LinkedIn? Law Student Version
LinkedIn is an American business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps. It is mainly used for professional networking, including employers posting jobs and job seekers posting their CVs.
The basic functionality of LinkedIn allows you to create profiles, which for employees typically consist of a curriculum vitae describing their work experience, education and training, skills, and a personal photo. Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates. You can find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one’s contact network. You can save (i.e. bookmark) jobs that they would like to apply for. You also can follow different companies.
The site works like any other social media platform. You can connect with people by sending them a connection request. You can post articles, or updates, you can message your connections and see what they are doing.
Among Law students, the competition is increasing by the minute. The community of law students today encompasses a pool of talent. With the potential for the law as a career growing rapidly, the students aspiring to enter this career are also growing. As a law student, there are many activities that a student has to manage academics, internships, research, moot court competition, debates, article writing competitions, among other things.
Even after mastering all of these activities where does a law student display their achievements and talents? Only on a C.V not quite. A C.V will be viewed by a handful of people from a handful of organizations. It won’t get far. So, what will get far? LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has people from all professions and industries. This is a platform to try out different opportunities.
The toolbar on LinkedIn contains seven sections. Here is a list of these sections and how to use them –
1. Me – in this section is your profile. This is where you display your achievements and talent. This section is all about you. There are many interesting things in your profile. To start of this has your name and your photograph (expected to be a formal and professional photograph).
This section displays your –
- Educational qualifications – here you add which law school you go to and what batch you belong to. Your previous schooling as well. Ex – Symbiosis Law School, Pune
- Experiences – you can add your internship experiences as well as the position you held while interning with the organization, your tasks and responsibilities. Ex – Legal Bites, Content Writer.
- Licenses & Certifications – you can add the certificate for any course you completed or any seminar you attended. This is effective for law students who are pursuing another course along with their law degree such as CS or CA or anyone who has any license from for example SEBI or NISM.
- Skills & Endorsements – in this section, you add your skills and people who are familiar with you endorse you on such skills. You can also take a LinkedIn skill quiz. You can add up to 50 skills.
- Accomplishments – here is where you get to show off your achievements. Any publications of any research papers or article, any patent you hold, courses you have done, projects you have worked on, honour and award, test score, language you know and organization you are or have been a part of.
- Interests – this section simply shows the people or organizations you are interested in or are following.
2. Home – this is what is popularly known as feed-in other social networking/media sites. This section displays posts from your connections (we’ll discuss this a little later). There is also an option to write an article or make a post of your own on the home page. The home page displays what your connections are doing – their posts, their comments, their job updates (we’ll discuss this also a little later) among other things. Much like in other social networking sites you can subscribe to any pages or follow people you find interesting; their activity is also displayed on the home page.
3. My network – this section consists of all of your networking activity, on the left side you will find the option of manage my network which contains your connections, teammates, groups etc Based on your profile your network will display the people you can connect with. As this is a guide for law students, it will show the options of other law students and advocates you can increase your connections.
4. Jobs – this section works according to your experiences and job posts. It provides you with similar opportunities.
5. Messaging – you can message your connections, make sure you remain professional.
6. Notifications – lets you know of all the activity around you.
7. Work – this is mostly for working professionals; however, many law students are entrepreneurs; this section will be useful for them. As they can post about a job requirement or use it to open a page for their organization.
Here are a beginner’s guides to using LinkedIn –
- Your profile – although this has been explained above, let me emphasize on the importance to keep your profile updated. As potential job seekers will look at your profile. Constantly update your profile. There are many features in this section, make sure you use all of them. Keep track of your LinkedIn profile strength as the higher in the level you are, the more chances of being noticed by any recruiter. It is also highly essential to keep track of your dashboard, so you know whether your talent is being viewed or not. You can also feature links, articles, posts and media on your profile so people may view it. This is very useful to get your hands-on new internships and experiences.
- Connections – your connections aren’t necessarily the people you work with or know; these are also people you want to work with and want to know. You can send anyone a connection request. Your suggestions mostly show people from your work. You can view their profile to look at what they have been up to. Your connections can work as a good source of inspiration for you. You will find that a lot of people on LinkedIn are constantly updating their profile and doing good work. You can learn a lot from your connections, as their activity will be displayed on your home page. During the lockdown, there is a lot of activity going on. Call for papers, webinars and even application for internships are posted on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn Groups – like any other social networking site, LinkedIn also has groups. These are more professional in nature. These groups usually constitute of one industry or cater to a particular audience. For law students, there are groups like looking for work opportunities there are LAW jobs – Networking for LEGAL PROFESSIONALS, LIBRA NETWORK – The Legal Networking Group and the like.
- Create content – once you have made a few connections, it is time you start creating some content or at least sharing some. Why is this important? This is important so that people notice you. Your connections vary from students to advocates to any organization you wish to be a part of. When you create content, people see it, who knows you might even bag an internship opportunity.
- Interests – Much like the pages on other social media/networking sites, LinkedIn also has these. These are known as interests; the people/pages you follow are displayed on your profile when a third person views your profile. This is useful as it will help you connect with like-minded people.
As now we have understood the features of LinkedIn, and how to use it, it’s time to know how LinkedIn will help you grow. How does LinkedIn do that? A marketing tool called personal branding. Personal branding is the practice of marketing people and their careers as brands. It is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of an individual, group, or organization.
You can be the most talented person in the room. But it is not going to do you any good if you cannot sell your talent.
Many law students these days develop a varied skill set. In addition to knowledge of the law and the skills required therein, many of you (law students) also are skilled in knowledgeable in finance, economics, computer science, designing, digital marketing, etc. As mentioned above, many students pursue different courses along with law like CA, CS or something in the capital markets. This provides you with an edge. But the problem arises when you are not looked at individually but in a collective of law students.
Your talent might not be spotted right away. This is where personal branding becomes important. When you market yourself as an individual with dual skills/expertise, you become more valued. But you will only become more valued if you market yourself. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for you to market yourself. As the features of LinkedIn allow you to add any number of skills you want.
In the field of law popularly there are four areas of careers you can choose from –
But this is a myth. Law, as a profession is diversifying rapidly. There is legal journalism, legal consultancy, etc. Getting into these fields will be more comfortable with the use of LinkedIn as you will be able to directly connect with such individuals who will be able to help you grow.
Remember the most important aspect for you is to grow.
As a young law student, you have many opportunities. It is your responsibility to exploit these opportunities to the fullest.
To sum it up, all of us need to grow as individuals and as professionals. It is also our responsibility to ensure our growth. LinkedIn simply works as a facilitator to help us grow.