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Social media and securing a new legal job: help or hindrance?

Social media has become part and parcel of our daily lives, both at home and at work. Through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms, we’re able to update the online world on our movements at the click of a button. But how much does our use of social media help or hinder us in securing a new job in the legal world?

When looking at potential candidates for a new legal job, law firms inevitably sift through CVs: assessing each lawyer candidates’ skills and experience and their suitability for a particular role.

However, legal jobs can be fiercely competitive, so to differentiate candidates and evaluate their personality and fit for a new position, law firms and companies are turning to other means to measure prospective candidates. Finding the right person to fit the role is paramount to a law firm’s hiring success, so employers are starting to use social media as a method of research.

How employer law firms use social media to recruit and how it applies to you


LinkedIn has become a vital tool for the business world: you can make professional connections, join networking groups and keep yourself up-to-date on movements within the market (at a glance). Employers, including law firms, will almost certainly look at candidates’ LinkedIn profiles: to study their background, network and activity. It’s easily accessible and an effective research tool for reviewing potential hires and their recommendations from connections.

What about the others?

However, employers fail to consider that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are just as accessible. So many people are quick (too quick) to post information online, presenting a lack of caution for privacy settings, or regard to those who may be watching their moves/feeds.

When it comes to looking at prospective candidates for a new job, employers have all these research tools to hand.

Whether it’s looking at your LinkedIn status, twitter feeds, or photos posted to Facebook or Instagram, your online presence is more significant than you think. Even if your skills and experience match the job requirements exactly if a prospective employer finds any online information they deem inappropriate this will prejudice your chances of getting the job or securing an interview.

Social media is unavoidable and important, but it’s always good to consider your online image and how it may be interpreted by an onlooker.

Tips to consider

  • Consider the appropriateness of photos you post online and keep a check on the photos others are posting of you – you can’t be tagged in photos without your knowledge, but try to keep a handle of your online images.
  • Be careful about who you connect with as a friend, including those you accept. Don’t worry about rejecting people if you feel like being connected with them is detrimental to your online profile.
  • Avoid talking about your current employer, prospective employer or job search online. One of the golden rules when looking for a new job is to be respectful and not to bad mouth your current employer – this makes prospective employers wary about employing you.
  • With professional networks such as LinkedIn, keep the content professional. Constant feeds about how your day is going or what you’re doing that evening are unprofessional and can reduce your business credibility.
  • Check privacy settings – online media such as Facebook to keep in touch with friends on a personal level is, of course, important, but keep the information restricted to friends and personal contacts and avoid bad language.

So, while the use of social media is vital today and can bolster your image and chances of securing a new job, be cautious about its use and remember one false click could hinder your long term career.

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