Thursday, September 26, 2013

Building Your Personal Brand Using Social Media

by Ashley Matthews,
NALP Bulletin, June 2013, p. 6-7.
Excerpted from Tips for Law Students on Building a Personal Brand Using Digital Technology

Law students and recent law graduates face steep competition in today’s tight legal job market. For those applying for coveted jobs, internships, and fellowships, attempting to stand out amid a pile of résumés can be a daunting process.

Fortunately, there are tools students can use to stand out, and they’re all online. Digital technology has given us the gift of social media, which can easily be used to create a vast marketing platform to connect with anyone — employers included. In addition, being a social media guru increases an applicant’s value to employers looking to market themselves. Students should look at building a personal brand as an investment in their own future.

With today’s free social media tools, applicants can create their own personal brand on the cheap.
If done right, this brand will reach a targeted audience and place a student firmly in an online community through which he or she can build up to real-life connections. In addition, students may become resources to their new online legal community, positioning themselves as experts-in-training looking for the right opportunity.

Here are a few steps for using digital tools to create a digital brand.

• Create a list of dream employers and favorite legal organizations.

• Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and start retweeting to get more traffic and followers.

• Set up a Google Alert on relevant topics of interest, and post links on Facebook and Twitter.

• Use your bios on each site to quickly brand yourselves as members of specific communities. If you are interested in criminal law, this should be stated clearly in the bio with a link to your personal site and/or blog on that same topic.

• For an even faster way to build an online network, check out the weekly schedule of Twitter Chats to join and talk with others who care about the same issues (

The idea is to set yourself up as curators of all things related to your practice area of interest, and pretty soon even dream employers will be using you as a resource.

Do's and Don'ts

Whenever you do something online, there is an opportunity to do damage. Everything posted will be digitally archived forever, so it is important to build your personal brand wisely.

• Do attribute all information to the source with hyperlinks when reposting or retweeting.
• Do be completely honest about who you are and what you do — do not pretend to be a lawyer! Most students post a disclaimer that clearly states that nothing they say should be used as legal advice.
• Don’t troll or write angry comments or tweets to other people online.
• Do set continuing goals for your public image and how you want to present yourself.
• Always review your content!