Maximizing LinkedIn: Narratives

This post originally appeared in Susan Kostal's Legal Marketing Bits & Bites Newsletter. Sign up for more content here.

Over the last two months, I’ve been knee-deep in a massive research project that has required me to look at hundreds of profiles on LinkedIn. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s only one thing more wrong with not being on LinkedIn--being on the platform with a crappy profile. Setting up a picture-less profile with 37 followers is the LinkedIn equivalent of saying, “Yea, I just phone it in most days.”

Thankfully, most people go further. Still, many resort to the same boilerplate from their firm bio. LinkedIn is so much more. Break free from your firm’s template and use LinkedIn to its fullest extent. Here are some tips. Make the most of the summary. Don’t sell your company. Sell the skills you have, no matter where you work or what your position is. You are more than where you work. There’s a huge debate over whether people should use first person or third person. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Pick whatever you are most comfortable with. Harness the power of narrative. Instead of simply saying you are a litigator, show examples of your success. Consider the power of adding, for example, that a jury came back with a successful verdict within 45 minutes in a case in which the litigator handled cross-examination of the opponent’s expert witness, or that settlement discussions closed after a successful deposition. Add a leadership section. For each job, add a paragraph that shows firm leadership. Include the committees you sit on, the pro bono cases or projects you handled, or internal contributions, such as organizing your practice group’s day at Habitat for Humanity or a book drive for the county jail. Being a good lawyer is far from enough these days. People want to know whom they are hiring, whether they are committed to their organizations, and what they value.

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Susan Kostal is a legal marketing consultant and content strategist located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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