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Attorney 2.Oh! Leverage The Web To Land Your Next Attorney Job – Part 2

September 13, 2011

The following is an excerpt from a white paper recently written for a group of 3L’s at a prominent law school.  The principles are applicable to attorneys looking for jobs at any level.  You can find Part 1 here.

In Part 1 of this series, we covered reasons why digital reputation is becoming increasingly important for attorney job seekers and I advocated the AIM Model for growing a targeted online reputation.  Today, we discuss “assessment” strategies under that model.

Assessing Your Digital Reputation

The first assessment step is defining your endgame.  Who is your audience and what do you want them to know?  In the case of junior attorneys looking for jobs, the audience is who you see yourself working for, whether that’s a small firm, large firm, in-house law department, non-profit entity, governmental agency or the like.

What do you want your audience to know?  You want them to know that you’re a new, ambitious, hardworking attorney with x, y and z special talents.  As you work to define your audience, what that audience is looking for (based on research, not wishful thinking), and what you offer that is attractive to your audience, you are developing your “marketing statement.”

The idea of “marketing” might be a foreign concept to junior lawyers, but trust me as a longtime attorney and legal recruiter when I tell you that marketing and mindful self-promotion are skills critical to your ultimate success as an attorney.  At some point, law schools will wake up and start teaching these concepts.

In the perfect world, you’ll be able to articulate your marketing message in one or two sentences, commonly referred to as an “elevator pitch.”  If you haven’t heard this expression before, it refers to having the length of time it takes to ride an elevator to introduce yourself to somebody important to you, including your value proposition (i.e., what makes you valuable to your audience).

Here is an example:  “My name is Jane Doe, and I’m a recent UCLA law school grad interested in using my background as a software engineer to join a small, busy IP practice.”

What does this say about Jane and her value proposition?  It says that she is disciplined enough to get into and obtain a law degree from a highly respected law school, and that she has special skills that IP attorneys desire in associates.

Her “key” words are “Jane Doe” (because Jane is marketing herself as the “product”), “UCLA law school grad” (descriptive of Jane and particularly important if she is addressing a fellow member of that community or another audience that values UCLA’s law school), “software engineer” (because this is a valuable skill set to IP practitioners) and “small, busy IP practice” (members of this audience are Jane’s primary targets for her message).

Write your own pitch down and circle words that are “key” to your pitch.  If what you articulate doesn’t seem quite right, don’t worry about it.  “Sit” with it for a few days and try again.  Try to keep your finished product very simple and, whatever you do, don’t let striving for perfection prevent you from moving forward.

The reason for articulating a marketing message and identifying key words or “keywords” will become clearer when we discuss the “Influence” aspect of the AIM Model, but this part of the process is critical for focused marketing.  The less focused your marketing, the more effort you have to put out to obtain a similar result.  “Focused and efficient” should be your marketing mantra.

The second step in assessing your digital reputation is to get a snapshot of your “today” footprint.  Do this by putting different variations of your name in quotation marks into one or two of the search engines.   At a minimum, use Google.  To be extra conservative, try Bing and Yahoo! as well.

What do you see?  Nothing?  That’s easy to address.  Unflattering photos?  That’s usually easy to fix.  Somebody with a similar name?  That might require a more aggressive strategy to distinguish yourself from that person, but it can be done without too much heavy lifting.  The goal is to influence and develop whatever you see into something that supports your focused marketing message.

Now that we’ve defined our endgame and reviewed our “today” picture of our online digital footprint, we turn out attention to the “Influence” portion of the AIM Model.  Tomorrow, we look at simple strategies to grow and influence your online reputation.

To see Part 3 of this series, click this link

To see Part 1 of this series, click this link

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