Whether you’re only beginning law school or finally finishing up, networking should be a second hobby for you. In the professional world, who you know can get you much further than what you know. From networking events to lectures, holiday parties to internships, almost every social opportunity will present a potential networking advantage in which you could gain contacts that can come in handy when it’s time to enter the work force.
The following tips will help you make the most of every networking prospect and what happens after you’ve made contact. Taking an interest in the people you know and giving them a reason to take interest in you can be one of your greatest allies in life after law school.
Clean Up Your Social Media
Before you even meet a single contact, you have to plan for what will most likely happen once you do: they’ll Google you. Cleaning up your online act is important to make sure your dazzling first impression doesn’t get erased by a few inappropriate photos or misguided tweets. Make sure your online profiles are update with your most recent information (especially LinkedIn) and have been freed from any posts, pictures, and even contacts that can misconstrue the kind of person you are as an individual and professional. Some law students like to take the approach of either completely blocking their profile from public search or deleting their social media profiles altogether. While these might keep you out of hot water, they can’t do anything to improve your image, either. They might suggest that you have a few things to hide, are not up-to-date with the latest technology, and don’t have an interest in networking. Therefore, keep your social media live but think about whether or not your mother would approve every time you’re about to post something new.
Brush Up On Your Small Talk
This tip is also a pre-networking action point. When you are presented with a high-powered attorney with one of the best law firms in the city, you don’t want to ask him about the weather. Take some time to research important topics that relate to your university, your field of law, the nation, and the world. Staying up on current events will help you sound tuned in and educated when someone asks you your thoughts on the Arab Spring. Be prepared with a few opinions, but make sure you don’t cross the line when expressing them. Offending an important player in your future career can close more doors that just the one to their law firm. Therefore, invest in learning some new public speaking skills and arming yourself with relevant and engaging table topics. Impressing your future employer can make a great impression before they even see your resume or get you in for an interview.
Make Your List
Good networking is just as much about schmoozing as it is about research. When you’re invited to an event, networking related or not, you should know where you’re going, the reason the event is being thrown, and the who’s who to watch out for. Even if you don’t have any events planned, knowing who the partners are at major law firms will help you immensely incase you ever run into them at a coffee shop. Simply introducing yourself and expressing how much you loved their latest blog posts could be enough to pique their interest in you and ask for your resume. Make several lists of which law firms are important to you, which key players you would love to know, and what events can get you in front of them. Keep these lists in mind when you meet people that might not be directly correlated but have a relationship with a firm or person on your list. Getting an introduction from a mutual friend can establish trust immediately. Also, your new contact might have even more people to introduce you to. Making your who’s who lists before any networking opportunities can help you navigate the waters with ease and comfort.
Attend Networking Events
You’ve done your research, you’ve cleaned up your Facebook, and you’re ready to schmooze them into an interview. All you have left to do is get yourself to the right networking events and let your preparation pay off. Look for events put on by your university, ask professors, and talk to fellow students about networking events they’ve heard of or have been invited to. While you should be approaching every social interaction as a networking opportunity, an event geared towards making contacts can give your career an early start, before you even graduate.
Every law student should eat, sleep, and breathe networking. The contacts they make early on will be their biggest help when the exams are over and it’s time to find an internship or a job. By cleaning up your social media, preparing for some educated small talk, and knowing who to talk to, your networking skills can set you apart from the rest.
Pete is a conpywriter working for Cecil & Geiser, whom are dedicated to protecting the state of Ohio. With decades of experience getting clients the results they need, they still treat every client as if they’re the only case in their office. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact them for a free consultation and have the best Ohio law firm in your corner.