Who’s afraid of LinkedIn? Social Media tips

Please read these hints and home truths to help you select and navigate social media to achieve professional success.

‘Social media is a landscape I navigate quickly and well with my friends and family but I’m lost when it comes to applying these tools to my career.’

‘I haven’t grown up in the social media landscape and regard all of that stuff as foreign and, if I’m honest, a bit intimidating.’

Is this you?

Read these hints and home truths to help you select and navigate social media to achieve professional success.


Like it or loathe it, it is here to stay. Don’t see LinkedIn as the enemy or another social media conformist tool, instead, see it as another opportunity to market yourself, make connections and learn “who’s who in the zoo”. After all, why would you turn down an opportunity to know exactly who is going to interview you, where they come from and whether you have any contacts in common?

Often LinkedIn users will have private settings which prevent the public from viewing this information; all the more reason to join today.

‘But what on earth am I going to put on my profile?’ I hear you say. Below are some tips to get you started:

  • Use a professional photo (or at least one that isn’t a carefree holiday snap).
  • Write a succinct summary as an introduction. Use key words such as ‘law graduate’, ‘qualified dentist with a law degree’ or ‘experienced paralegal’. If you’ve already worked in law, use phrases like ‘experienced in back end construction’ or ’6 months’ discovery experience’. Recruiters and some employers use key words when searching LinkedIn for candidates so maximise your opportunity of being headhunted online.
  • Outline your work life to date. You will be asked to insert dates of employment when setting up your profile, but you need not include every job you’ve had. This is sometimes a concern to more experienced applicants who fear ageism.
  • Use the profile space beneath your photo to stipulate that you are currently seeking an opportunity in your desired field so that this information is readily available to employers and recruiters.
  • Include all your qualifications including your impressive grades.
  • Make sure to tag any language skills you have and your level of proficiency.
  • Join groups: former employers, tertiary institutions you have attended, interest groups.
  • When you become more familiar with LinkedIn you can start contributing to these groups too by commenting on articles and trends. Look out for our future blog on Social Media Etiquette
  • Make your invitations to connect polite and, if possible, personal, such as ‘I met you at a recent LIV talk, look forward to keeping in touch’
  • Nurture your contact base- you never know when you’ll need a favour. Post items of interest, congratulate others on their successes, add valuable comments on group sites, ‘like’ articles that are relevant to your industry sector.
  • Assume your profile will be read by a prospective/current employer. Ensure your profile is consistent with your CV.  If your profile talks about ‘aiming for a career inhouse’ and you’re attending an interview at a law firm… oops.


Some firms will use Twitter as a marketing tool, but it holds little benefit for job seekers.

Given the idea is to regularly provide snappy, topical updates (often witty or current affairs related) it may have an adverse effect (e.g. if you are updating your Twitter account every 2 minutes).

Of course this advice is industry and practice area specific.  If your employer encourages it or you’re aiming for a role in an industry that clearly values Twitter, by all means have a go.

Check whether the law firm or organisation you are applying to as a job seeker has a Twitter account as it may provide a deeper insight into their staff events, community projects or help create a clearer picture of their culture. This information will come in useful when writing your covering letters or preparing for an interview.


Save Facebook posts for personal interaction.

While mid sized and larger firms sometimes use Facebook for their graduate recruitment programs and will post information that may be relevant to the culture of the firm, don’t use it to communicate and connect for work purposes.

From a legal recruitment point of view, we use Facebook solely (and only occasionally at that) as another research avenue, so check your privacy settings – that hilarious drunken shot of you dancing on the table may impress your mates, but it’s unlikely to impress a future employer.

Katherine Sampson, Managing Director, Mahlab (VIC)