How lawyers can build their personal brand (and get found online)

Published on: 10 Mar 2017

Google is great, really it is. No matter what you are searching for you will find the information you need. When it comes to careers advice, Google seems to be in its element with a gazillion articles offering a wealth of guidance on how to land your perfect job and such like.

The downside is that a lot of these articles are not actually written by HR or recruitment people – the very people who really know what they look for in a candidate. That’s what we will seek to address here.

Our job as a legal recruitment and consultancy firm is a simple one: to find the right candidates for the right roles at the right time. Some roles are advertised, some are interim only and some are never advertised – they are essentially ‘hidden’ roles.

That means we need to search those people who are not only unaware of the vacancy they are probably not even considering looking for a new role either. But they may be open to the possibility of changing jobs – if it presents an opportunity to advance their career.

To unearth the senior legal talent that our clients really want to speak to means searching in the right places and identifying those individuals who truly stand apart from their peers.

And it all starts online.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at five tactics to help you to be found by people like us for the top legal roles that never get advertised.

1 Be very good at what you do

It may seem obvious but by having technical expertise, showing initiative and getting involved in high-profile work that catches the attention of people outside the four walls of your law firm as well as in it, will make you a candidate we would want to speak to.

Of course, being great at what you do is one thing, getting other people to see it is quite another. That’s where the following points come into play.

2 Be visible

Visibility helps build your reputation and gets the attention of your colleagues, your peers and potential employers and recruiters like us. Writing articles and contributing to the firms’ blog page will raise your standing as someone who really ‘gets’ your area of expertise. But to really get noticed you need to look further afield.

Appearing in the local business press and legal industry publications will position you as a leader in within your practice area, as will speaking and presenting at local and national events. Most of these things end up on the internet too, which will boost your online profile and make your more ‘discoverable’. Talking of online…

3 Build your online profile

You can also very quickly build and enhance your online brand using social media, particularly Twitter and LinkedIn.

While many within the sector may be slightly sceptical about LinkedIn, having a profile that serves as a virtual CV that is updated in real time has several major benefits.

Firstly, it showcases your achievements in your current role. Secondly, it also shows that you are a lawyer who understands the importance of marketing and business development.

And thirdly, articles that you post on your LinkedIn profile can be read across multiple networks – if just one of your contacts ‘likes’ your article then everyone within their network could also see it too.

Twitter is a great tool for raising your profile as someone who has their finger on the pulse of what is happening within your field as it allows you post and share content that is relevant, timely, interesting and useful to those within your network. It is also a great way to promote the articles you have written or the events you are attending, for example.

4 Present yourself

While having an online presence is vitally important, it is not the only place that specialist recruiters search for the best senior legal talent.

Attending local business and industry networking events can raise your personal profile in more ways than you might at first think. Your attendance at such events almost positions you as the ‘resident expert’ by default – you suddenly become the X specialist with Y practice area.

The fact that you may be the only person that is attending who does what you do is relatively immaterial; the point is that you are perceived as an expert, which makes it easier for you to get noticed.

Finally, refine and retune

Just because you have had one or two articles published here and there or you have spoken at a couple of events is no excuse for complacency. You need to stay front-of-mind and be mindful that in an age of increasing competition between law firms the battle to find and attract the best legal talent is intensifying.

So to ensure you remain in the running you need to keep on top of your personal promotional activity. It should not be viewed as something you do from time to time but as being integral to your routine.

By Rhiannon Cambrook-Woods, managing director at Zest Recruitment & Consultancy LLP.