As many third-year students scramble for jobs, the few employers still hiring can be pickier than ever, so managing your online reputation is key. What do employers find when they google you?
There was a time when the typical third-year law school experience didn’t include a frantic hunt for future employment. Those days are gone, however, and many students are closer to being stressed to death than bored to death in their final year of legal education. For those students still looking for a job after graduation, take a step back and consider how you look on the Internet. If someone googles your name, what comes up? If it’s not you, or it’s not something highlighting your professional competence, you’ve got to work on your online reputation. Start here:
- Craft your personal statement. It’s nearly impossible to sell something if you don’t know what it is. Think of who you are, what makes you valuable to your dream employer, and how you can convey those things in a sentence or two. Use this statement, or at least the themes you identify, everywhere you present you professional identity online. You know how you agonize over the summary on your résumé or those few lines of an important cover letter? Take some time and make this reflect who you are and how you’re willing to work to become what you strive to be.
- Leverage your LinkedIn profile. Your profile should be a dynamic version of your résumé. Give your ego a little longer leash if needed and ask for some recommendations. Law professors, internship supervisors, and student-org advisors can provide accurate reflections of your legal skills and work ethic. Re-google yourself after you’ve spruced up your profile and see what a difference it makes in the top search results.
- Branch out beyond the social networks. Assess the amount of time you are committing to planning and executing on-campus interviews, cold-calls, mass-mailings, and tapping of your friends’ friends’ friends who are lawyers. Consider shifting some of that effort to the Internet. You can highlight your skills and interests, connect modern developments to what you’ve learned in school, and meet experts by commenting on blawgs. Don’t read and comment on blawgs yet? Find some here:
Once you’ve been reading and commenting for a while, why not put your thoughts out there under your own (domain) name? For a few bucks a month, you can have a domain name, hosting, and a blog or at least a permanent, stylish résumé you can update any time. Crafting a concise and professional online identity can help you stand out in the crowd of your job-hunting peers.