Law firms and legal departments no longer take over the careers of their rising attorneys in the ways they once did. This frees young attorneys to develop their own careers and promote their own personal “brands” in more innovative and true-to-life ways – but it also puts the responsibility for doing so squarely in each individual’s lap.
If you’ve recognized that it’s time to work on promoting your personal brand as an attorney, but you aren’t sure where to start, consider these tips:
- Practice smart business card etiquette.
Most lawyers, even those between jobs, have professionally printed business cards. But these cards are only worth the paper they’re printed on – unless you use them in a smart way. Here’s how to hand out business cards to boost your brand:
- Share cards with connections only. You want people to be able to put a face and idea with the name and phone number on your card.
- Ask for contact information from new connections, and give your card to those who ask for your contact information.
- Follow up on every card you receive: send an email, make a quick call, or drop a physical card or note in the mail.
- Create a concise elevator pitch.
In ten seconds or 140 characters, answer any audience’s top question: “What can this person do for me?” Provide just enough information to encourage people to ask you more. Your elevator pitch can easily be adapted to a Twitter profile or LinkedIn headline – and a short one is easy to practice until it sounds polished, but not robotic.
- Be seen.
Once you have your elevator pitch and business card etiquette down pat, it’s time to show them off. Head to professional conferences, trade meetings, and other events where your prospective employers or clients gather. These functions offer an exciting chance to share your area of expertise and identify where it connects to the work others are doing. Don’t miss them.
- Build relationships.
Even lawyers can fall prey to the old version of networking as “shaking as many hands as possible.” But building your personal brand and finding the connections you need is less like speed dating than it is like good old-fashioned dating. Take the time to listen, to find out what other people need, and then to suggest ways in which you can help – or offer connections to other professional contacts who can.
At Assigned Counsel, our experienced recruiters help lawyers promote their personal brands and find positions in organizations that fit their goals and work style. Contact us today to learn more.