How Social Media Can Help Paralegals Find the Right Job

Social media allows people to visualize their networks, making it easier for them to find and reach the right people in their job search. However, there are so many options and tools that are now available that getting and staying on top of those options feels almost seems like a full-time job in itself.



—— The importance of social media for employers ——

Legal recruiters today are increasingly using social media to find and recruit legal professionals as opposed to spending company resources advertising on job sites or using job boards.

Since the beginning of the economic crisis, which we all know greatly affected the legal job market, law firms and legal departments have found it faster, easier, and more cost effective to advertise their jobs on social media sites like LinkedIn and are searching LinkedIn’s member profiles for prospective employees who best match their needs. They are also advertising job openings on services such as Twitter, trying to drive applicants to their own web sites to apply.

Finally, employers are often utilizing social media and companies such as Social Intelligence to screen job applicants by exploring their online lives and (job) histories.

—— How to build a solid, professional presence on social networking sites ——

With social media, the goal is to develop a personal online “brand” that conveys the job seeker's professionalism, strengths, and talents, and can attract potential employers.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the professional social network, has become an invaluable tool to recruiters. Advanced search techniques on LinkedIn allow legal recruiters and HR personnel to search for qualified paralegals based on specific skills, work experiences, degrees, location, etc. They can then reach out directly to those paralegals with the right blend of skills and knowledge, inviting them to apply for openings that, in some cases, have not even been advertised publicly.

Therefore, be sure to find and join existing LinkedIn groups related to HR, legal recruitment, and your legal specialization. You can also “follow” key companies and law firms that may recruit paralegals with your specific profile.

To begin developing your own personal brand and increase the number of your connections, you can even create your own LinkedIn group and provide links to interesting articles and techniques related to job searching in your field of expertise.


Twitter

Companies are also turning to Twitter as a resource for advertising openings. Because of the state of the legal job market, jobs advertised on online job boards often result in a huge influx of applications that do not match the requested profiles. As a result, employers are now finding greater success in sourcing candidates by advertising links on Twitter, and thereby drive applicants who follow certain terms to the employer’s Web site.

Thus, a good way for paralegals seeking a new position is to follow potential employers' discussions and to learn more about how they are using social media. Being active on Twitter and following these job-related conversations and "hash tags" (i.e. keywords) can be an unorthodox way to be invited to apply to an interesting job.

Facebook

Although Facebook is probably not the best place to find job leads or to network for employment, it is one of the social networks of choice for college students and is also widely used to keep in touch with fellow alumni who can share information and tips on potential job leads.

It is also the network that employers turn to when they are trying to uncover digital dirt". Digital dirt refers to potentially damaging or compromising information about you that is available on the Internet: your photos, your contributions to message forums, your blogs, your rants and raves, your musings. It may all be out there for the world and for employers to see. So before launching your next career move, it is really important to spend some time cleaning up one’s online presence and exploring the precise meaning and use of privacy features on Facebook!

HR and legal-related blogs

Many of the most well-known HR and legal bloggers routinely discuss social media use in the recruitment and screening process, giving a real-life, behind-the-scenes look at how social media is affecting legal recruiting.

You can also, of course, create your own blog, share your successes, struggles and triumphs relating to your field, your career development, and even your job search. This can be an efficient way to build your own social media network, engage alumni and other paralegals in conversations and create fruitful discussions that will hopefully lead to your next job!

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