Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Guest Blog: Social Media, Being a Law Student, Networking and Why YOU Need to Be "In It, to Win It!"

Paralegal, law student and aspiring lawyer based in London, Anthony Lyons (@ParalegalTony), talks about how he has used social media to make contacts and break into the legal profession.

LPC student and paralegal Anthony Lyons.
Social media is a buzz word being thrown about not just by teens but by marketing companies, recruitment agencies and business development departments - and usually with the same over-exuberance!

Nevertheless the power of being able to directly get in touch with professionals who would normally be protected by a barrage of suspicious secretaries and assistants (of which I am one) should not be underestimated.

At an interview for a training contract I was asked, "How would you find out how many people use Facebook". Regardless of the aim of the question it got me thinking (for your information it's 1,000,000,000 according to Expanded Digital Ramblings). It's a figure that doesn't mean much but think about the number of potential business contacts, employers, clients etc.

Networking… eh?

So turning numbers into reality has been my aim and this is what @ParalegalTony is all about. Law students, graduates and training contract hopefuls need to set themselves apart and just about every careers centre will advise you to "network". It's an idea, a concept and many people are very bad at it. Social media has been the answer for me and by using my Twitter profile I have been able to speak to students, paralegals, trainees, solicitors, barristers, law firms... the list is endless.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

Now great, some professionals and students are very engaging on these sites but my experience in retail and telemarketing has taught me that a lead is useless unless you close the sale. After engaging with professionals who share a passion and interest in similar topics discussed on Twitter I have met for lunch, gone for drinks and attended business events with them. That is how I have found social media to be useful for exposing me to the world of law and the results speak for themselves.

In It To Win It

My current position was secured thanks to HR viewing my experience on LinkedIn before calling me in for an interview. Position before that, a recruitment consultant showed an interest following a glimpse of my CV on LinkedIn also. There are people out there who, quite rightly, express concern about their information being made public but if you're not putting it out there you won't be seeing the returns.

So what does social media have in store for you? It depends what you are looking for. The @TheTCHawk used blogging to make him an attractive candidate for a training contract, some law students use it to help them resource information for essays. Whatever your aims, my advice is to make sure you're part of it… as the saying goes, "You have to be in it to win it".

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