Law Student’s Guide to Using Linkedin

By Neeati Narayan

First published on November 27, 2014.

I hope this helps you try and understand how LinkedIn works. I have had a great experience. The hard work paid off when I got two writing stints and an internship offer through LinkedIn itself.

This post has been authored by the forever zoned out Assistant Editor, Neeati Narayan who needed a piece of original writing to get over her acquired writer’s block. Hopefully, she will not bore you to death and hopefully, this article would be remnant of her previously illustrious writing skills.

Ping!

That was the noise my faithful Nokia N8 made when I received an email. You know that feeling when you get a new web message? I can never get over it, it’s pretty awesome! Even if it’s a really stupid web advertisement sent as part of obligatory duties of something you naively signed up, it’s interesting to take a note of it nonetheless.

Anyhow, so I checked the new mail which was basically an invitation from an acquaintance. An invitation to what, you might ask? Nay, it was not a more technically advanced method for Hogwarts to reach me and not an extended invitation to a magical guild, either! It was but a message to join a business network called “LinkedIn”.

I would have almost not taken cognizance of the same had it not been filled with interesting quotes and pictures from the classy professionals. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, heck, even my favourite chef had his own business profile. I was totally enamoured and mesmerized by the whole outlay and simply had to catch on with this trend!

Voila! That day saw me making a shabby profile on LinkedIn and, as is a very interesting habit of mine, conveniently forgetting that it even exists. This went on for a few months before I was reminded of its existence by the faithful mails sent by the website. I decided to spend a couple of hours and dedicated that amount of time in updating and shaping my profile- almost into an online CV of sorts.

What changed, you ask? Why was I suddenly putting so much effort into this website? I don’t have noble reasons as I was simply catching up to the fad. Recruiters, I was told by seniors, really search you up on Holy Grail Google and LinkedIn is a top result website and hence, I needed to put my best foot forward.

After doing some preliminary research on how exactly LinkedIn scopes out in the bigger picture, I was intrigued by the stories and by the way the website functioned. Obviously, I had to perfect my profile. And I did exactly that, not saying that my profile is anywhere near perfect, but hey! Kudos to the effort, right?

This is not a walk through to make a great and outstanding LinkedIn profile as there is no set formula to make one, anyway. You have to personalise your descriptions and you have to learn with time.

The Picture

law students guide to using linkedinSo well, when you open the profile page, you see a square box in left-middle position on the screen. This is where a picture of you needs to be placed. By a photograph, I do not mean a duck-face shot or an extravagant selfie.

I also don’t urge you to get suited up and hire the best photographer in town to get a classic shot. No, that is not my intention.

The aim here is to procure a picture which is simple, yet professional and nothing which makes the recruiter think, “Um, am I sure if I want to hire THAT?

Next, you will obviously put your full name in the required boxes followed by a sub-line. Now, that sub-line can be the name of your current college or it can be a recent place you worked at. Either works in this case.

Here is the time when you also mark your current location and define your education. Mention your college and your schools and make sure it reflects in the sub-heading as the final outcome beside your picture.

Next up, is the summary.

Think of it as a more mature version of an “About me” from Facebook. Here, I urge you to not EVER famous quotes. People want something original from you and it wouldn’t do you any good to pick others brains.

Here is a little hack: Modify the objective from your CV to the effect of making it wordier and a little more simplistic. Introduce your academic achievements, your extra-curricular achievements and your co-curricular achievements.

Talk about your internships, your positions of responsibility. However, you need to get all of this done in maximum 10 lines in order to make sure that a person is STILL interested in scrolling down and reading the details for each of these things.

Now, the Experience tab.

This is pretty easy, actually. This space should enumerate ALL your internships with the specific dates and months marked out.

Please do not be lazy while providing details of the work done by you in all the individual stints: it counts in the long term. This is also the space where you throw more light on your positions of responsibility and making it sound fancy: not an impossible task, you can take it from me.

Next up is the Test Scores bracket.

Yes, seriously, we need to put those marks out in the open. Okay, we can leave out the horrible ones [For instance, my Grade 12th marks can probably break the deal]. Create separate columns and tabs for all individual semesters with the particular GPAs reflecting in such columns. Here, you can put test scores for all the other, random things like your TOEFL, Diploma grades, certificate courses etc.

The next section is that of Publications.

This is probably the most important section, as is the case with your CV. Mention all the publications, even the ones you don’t list in your resume! Mention the Article title, copy paste and shorten the abstract, list the journal and voila! It would all look extremely neat.

The Projects section is something I see people hardly utilise. It’s important! You can mention your law school projects, your internship projects and your school projects in this box. You could also put all the initiatives made by your respective clubs and affiliations at law school.

Next up is the Organisations column

This should ideally depict you mentioning, in detail, all the positional responsibilities. Remember those from the Summary column? Yeah, those!

Be it Drama Club, Student Council, Moot Court Association or even Lawctopus. Mention them with a few lines about the work you do there!

The Certifications column

is a “sort of there but not really there column”.

However, still make use of it by mentioning your diplomas, CS level clearances, language classes etc. There will be a series of overlaps but the key here is to not get bored. Haha! 😀

Towards the end is the “Volunteer Causes”.

Here, you can mention the NGO you interned at, or the fest you volunteered for which might against overlap with the Positions of Responsibility column above.

The causes you care about column should be ideally brainstormed by you as I really can’t point out what you like. Make it a broad base in the beginning and narrow it down as you go further.

Next is the Honors and Awards column.

This is where you blabber and blabber some more about your mooting achievements, your debating triumphs and practically anything where you have attained a position even if it is the most funny sounding local competition to make the best advertisement. List it ALL down, here.

Ideally, it should cover the last 5 years worth of achievements. Were you one of those Olympiad champs? List it the hell down, mate.

The Course column

should see you listing down your university with a mention of all the major subjects you have studied till date. The same goes for your Grade 12 and 10 (if you decided to include them, which I would suggest, you should!)

The Skills tab

should have all the important skills and talents you have undertaken at law school. Broad headings may include research, drafting, public speaking, mooting, debating, specific areas of law, blogging etc.

You should try and get people to endorse you for more and more skills as it reflects well in the final profile: however, that doesn’t mean that any random Tom, Dick and Harry have any value with respect to such endorsements.

The Education tab should be a more extensive version of the Course column where you mention your standing in the batch along with the set of activities undertaken by you followed by the batch year.

The Additional Info is the informal section where you mention your non-law school interests like, maybe, singing, dancing, trekking etc. You also list the method for people to contact you apart from LinkedIn itself.

The Recommendations column is also heavily underused but that’s because it’s extremely difficult to get someone to try and write good things about you.

Get testimonials from your employers, friendly associates and professors (if at all they are tech-savvy, that is!). These help a lot and maybe, one day you can follow through by doing the same for some other starry eyed kid in the industry?

Well, that’s it for now. I hope this helps you try and understand how LinkedIn works. I have had a great experience. The hard work paid off when I got two writing stints and an internship offer through LinkedIn itself.

It’s not all in vain and if you do the basic groundwork, updating it is not a Herculean task. You can synchronise it with the random updates made by you in your resume.

So go on, do this today. Take out a little time and utilise it by focusing that energy on LinkedIn. May the force be with you! 🙂

 —

Neeati is the assistant editor of Lawctopus. She once discreetly changed her designation to assistant ‘publishing’ editor of Lawctopus. She says that this act, like all of hers, ‘was awesome’.

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  1. Even I got an offer from INBA through my LinkedIn profile.

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