Best Practices for a Dynamic LinkedIn Profile

Get noticed and move your career upward!

By Chere Estrin and Nora Boghossian

Creating your LinkedIn profile

How your LinkedIn profile is written, what it says about you, how it distinguishes your personality, are all critical factors employers want to know to choose you as a candidate.

In this overwhelming and competitive market, your LinkedIn profile is as important as your resume.

Rarely, does an employer receive a resume without running to LinkedIn to check you out. A LinkedIn profile speaks volumes about your professionalism.

LinkedIn helps boost your career: While this article is primarily about using LinkedIn to help get that fantastic new job, building a good LinkedIn profile is great for your current job. A great profile can help establish your professionalism and expertise with clients, colleagues and co-workers.

Your LinkedIn profile makes a connection between you, as an excellent candidate or legal professional, employers who want to hire you, those seeking speakers and writers, increasing their network and more.  Your first impression is about 3 seconds long and can make or break your chances of getting an interview or consideration for a speaking or writing role or other. 

A very important rule to remember, is that how you present yourself on LinkedIn is how the professional world sees you. It’s an accepted and standard practice now, and frankly, let’s ride that horse in the direction it is going. There are few other tools that can improve your career, network and chances for promotion.

Components of the profile:

Picture:

LinkedIn has said that entries in LinkedIn search results with photos beside them are seven times more likely to be clicked on than entries without photos. Those photos that show you smiling get 70% more response than those with a serious look.

Chere’s LinkedIn profile offers a great example.

Summary

Your Summary or About section is the one place you define yourself in your own words, free of dates, titles and job descriptions. Whether you use it to put career choices in context, highlight your biggest achievements, or show off your personality, the summary is your chance to put your best self out there. It strengthens your first impression in a way no other Profile section can. 

Proven Summary Techniques:

Do not leave this section blank. This is the first thing an employer will read and is a critical factor in getting them interested. Your summary is not a regurgitation of your resume. It talks about your strengths, accomplishments, shows your personality and why employers should hire you or why you should be chosen for speaking, writing articles and networking. This is where you want to put attributes that make you shine and distinguishes you from stiff competition. Think – “I want them to remember me”. What can you share from your professional background that will leave an impression?  This is also an opportunity to use keywords so that your profile comes up in a search. 

Think – “I want them to remember me”.

SEE SAMPLE SUMMARIES AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE.

Attachment: This section is not frequently used. It allows you to upload your resume. Doing so helps eliminate any confusion or questions about your experience, education, skills and abilities. It will also speed up the process of meeting with potential employers. 

Contact info: Another feature seldom used is contact information. You can fill out your email and phone number and make it visible only to recruiters. 

Open to work: If you are open to work, there is an icon you can put right under your name. If you are not working or do not mind if your current employer sees this, specify all your hopes, wants, dreams and desires. State whether you are looking for a full-time, part-time, onsite, hybrid or remote position. That way, those questions are answered in advance.  

Skills: Include ALL your skills. Otherwise, you may eliminate yourself from consideration. It is very important to include all technical skills and professional abilities that pertain to any role you are seeking. For example, if you know Relativity and have attended trials, include those pertinent details. If you have experience filing Section 16 forms, UCC filings and other transactions, include it. Employers feel more confident when viewing a long list of relevant skills. Include any foreign languages and specify the level – is it native, professional, intermediate? However, do NOT list Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint first – list these last. These skills are always required as everyone in the entire professional world is expected to have expert knowledge. It’s not the first thing you want to advertise.  It weakens your profile.

Experience: It is very important that you do not leave this section blank or only list names of your firms without job descriptions. Your experience gives an accurate insight as to what your role was with each of employer and importantly, shows your career progression. Be sure to include the month and year of employment, not only the year. Be as transparent as possible and by all means, use the correct grammatical tense. Use the present tense for your current position: “Draft, organize, file”. Do not say, “drafts, organizes, files” or “drafting, organizing, filing”. Think in terms of putting “I” in front of the job duty. “Drafts, organizes; drafting, organizing” is as if you are saying, “She/he drafts”. For prior roles, use the past tense i.e., “drafted, organized, filed”. Remember, it is as though you were putting “I” in front of the word. Using incorrect tenses will get your resume bounced as employers get the impression you do not use good grammar and can’t write. 

Education: Fully complete this section. You are competing with other professionals and need to show all degrees, certificates, certifications, honors and awards, dates you received your J.D., admissions to Bars. If you are a patent agent or attorney, include the USPTO admission and always include advanced education and specific degrees obtained. Include your certifications, if any.

If you are a paralegal, DO NOT – state that you are a Certified Paralegal unless you took and passed the NALA certification exam. Chances are more likely that are you earned a Paralegal Certificate. State: Paralegal Certificate, not Certified Paralegal. Obtaining a certificate is not the same as certification.  Additionally, do NOT say your paralegal certificate is ABA accredited. The ABA does not accredit anything. Clients/employers will eliminate you based upon those errors. They think you do not know your own profession.

Current or past firm names: Don’t state any of your firms as private or confidential.  What is the point? Your employer already sees your information and does not necessarily assume you are job searching. LinkedIn is used in establishing you as a professional, not necessarily seeking a new job. Further, it sends out a wrong message, as though you are not proud or happy to be there. 

If you are looking for work: Keep your messaging open – why block it? A recruiter is not going to be able to reach you with exclusive opportunities. Check it regularly. Otherwise, you will miss opportunities. 

The legal field is a fast-paced environment: people are moving at top speed, decisions are made faster than ever before. You are not the only incredible professional out there. Don’t miss out on an opportunity that could have been your dream job. You don’t want to be overlooked or not considered due to the lack of information on your profile/resume. 

It is imperative that your LinkedIn profile match up with your resume 

It is imperative that your LinkedIn profile match up with your resume as potential employers take note of any inconsistencies between your LinkedIn profile and resume. The lack of information and inconsistencies are reasons enough to rule you out. By following these best practices, you should, at the very least, be considered as one of the stronger potential contenders. 

Sample Summaries:

Lines we love:

 I don’t like to advertise this fact, but I’d do this job for free.

One of my first memories is going to a parent-teacher conference in kindergarten and having my teacher tell my parents, “Desiree is definitely my most . . .”

Throughout my life, I have developed this art of being able to communicate with anyone at any given time.

I can successfully handle cases from $5 million to $1 billion.

I can align, lead, and grow eDiscovery teams from 10 to 100 people.

Reach out if you want to talk about emerging legal trends, creating software products or baseball.

And that’s when it happened; the spark I was missing ignited the instant I clicked play on my first eDisovery tutorial video.

I love the fact that [firm, company, school] has an important impact on so many professionals’ lives. 

I landed on a gold mine when I attended my first Legal Tech Conference in New York and saw the need to combine my knowledge of people and systems with my desire for problem-solving.

When I’m not at work or in denial about having a social life, I’m at home mentoring my favorite little five-year-old munchkin.

I’ll bend over backwards to help others’ dreams come true, but I also understand the importance of standing your ground and holding your own

Real Profiles from LinkedIn:

#1. I love to dig into customer problems and solve them with modern technology. I create, scale and optimize business portfolios that matter. To accomplish this, I focus on delivering key outcomes, building amazing teams and quickly adapting to new learnings. 

#2. Being an Operations Manager and C-Level Executive Assistant is exactly what you’d think. It’s like I’m the colleague at work that everyone wants to know but nobody wants to be. If you want to get something done, you come to me – everyone knows that! Yet, no one wants to have to do what I do because of the amount of personal time and effort that goes into being everyone’s go-to.

Luckily, I’m obsessed with staying organized and making everyone’s life easier. It brings such a genuine joy to my heart to take the burden off colleagues’ shoulders and I always do anything I can to enhance that. There are things that can grow a firm the way that trust and dependability can, and I pride myself in being so dedicated to both. 

When I’m not at work or in denial about having a social life, I’m at home mothering my favorite little five-year-old munchkin. My son is my absolute rock and has helped me to really understand my purpose. The most important thing about being a mom has taught me how to make the horse drink the water. 

Feel free to reach out if you ever need any emotional support, career guidance or advice on those tricky horses; we can get it done together.

#3. One of my first memories in school, is going to a parent-teacher conference in kindergarten and having my teacher tell my parents, “Desiree is definitely one of my most talkative. No matter where I move her in class, she communicates with everyone!” Throughout my life, I have developed this art of being able to communicate with everyone at any given time. From joining the debate team in college, to studying internal and external communication, to working in different careers, I’ve learned that effective communication is at the core of any successful leader.

I have developed a passion for not only being the voice of those that cannot communicate for themselves, but also teaching people to communicate effectively. In recruiting, I am able to do this by helping people acknowledge the potential within themselves and be able to communicate that effectively to hiring managers. I am able to communicate with people from all walks of life that all have one thing in comm, they NEED A JOB!

Additional Reading:
14 LinkedIn Profile Summaries That We Love (And How to Boost Your Own)


Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a nationwide legal staffing organization. She was recently interviewed by The Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine and received the honor of “Top Best Women Leaders in Los Angeles”. She has written 10 books on legal careers and has a blog, The Estrin Report, that has been around since 2005.

Nora Boghossian is the Sr. Researcher at Estrin Legal Staffing where she sources candidates for open positions. She is a former paralegal with over 20 years of experience and holds a BA degree and Paralegal Certificate. 

Reach out at: Chere@EstrinLegalStaffing.com; Nora@EstrinLegalStaffing.com

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