Thursday, February 18, 2010

social networking - does it help?

Some people ask whether participation in social networking -- Facebook, Linkedin, etc. actually helps in the career/job search world. I do think there's a benefit to getting back in touch and staying in touch with your contacts. But, of course, remember if you write silly things on Facebook, your business contacts who are your FB "friends" will see these things just as your real friends will. So, I usually recommend keeping pure business contacts on Linkedin and friends on Facebook. But what if, say, a client or other business contact "friends" you? Then, what do you do? Well, I've had this happen. A client who I also know socially friended me. In fact, I have a couple of them. I accepted the friend requests -- felt that it would be too weird not to -- but when I post updates, pics, etc., I try in the back of my mind to remember that it's not just my high school classmates reading and posting to my FB -- it also includes the clients.

Now, getting back to my original point...does any of this social networking actually help you in the career advancement world? Yes, I think getting back in touch, and staying in touch with people can help advance your career. It's certainly better than doing nothing at all, of course. I always tell people that if you are interested in a new job, you should let people know. As far as creating opportunities generally, the social networking sites will help put you in the mind of some former colleagues/classmates who otherwise might not think of you.

Case in point. Just recently, I needed a local counsel in a different part of the country. I could ask my colleagues for recommendations and I did that. I thought for a minute. Do I know anyone who practices in this metropolitan area? This is a matter for a very important client and I want someone I know and can trust. I didn't think I knew anyone in this area. But then the light bulb went off. Someone from law school who I am Facebook friends with does practice in the area. And his postings occasionally talk about court -- so I know he litigates locally. I called him. He answered...and it looks like he and his firm may end up serving as our local counsel. Without Facebook, I would not have thought about him. He may very well end up getting a significant referral from this, and possible follow up work.

I can talk more about social networking for job searches in another post but wanted to touch on this recent connection before it slipped my mind.

For those who have come back to HP's Office blog as I've returned....thank you.

(btw, no, right now we are not hiring 3Ls or entry level associates).


8 comments:

shade said...

HP -

If you are careful, you can establish a separate Facebook friends list for clients and limit what they can see in your profile. Key word is CAREFUL, because it's easy to slip up here, and Facebook is constantly fiddling with the way they manage privacy settings. So I would still leave off the pictures of human sacrifices, etc.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you are back!

I'd like to see a post on the ease of practice area changes. I am starting at a big firm in the near future. I am concerned that my practice group may not place well in-house, but would like that as an option. Would an LLM (if it were tax) help facilitate the transition? Or could this be avoided? How many people do you know that leave big firm life to switch practice areas in-house?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have a job at a firm that is in my home state. I don't really want to work elsewhere, but many people are encouraging me to take 2 bar exams this summer. I don't see myself wanting to leave this firm anytime soon, nor do I see myself wanting to practice outside of the state. However, I realize things change with time and options are a good thing.

What's your opinion on one bar exam versus two?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

HP - Any thoughts on how the Jan-March start date entry-level associates are faring? Is there work for them? Will there be work for those who were deferred and join at the end of the year? Are firms recovering?

Thanks!

Andrew said...

I think fb is best left for "social" networking among actual friends, former classmates, etc. I have yet to see any significant legal business generated from it. If it helps you remember old friends that can lead to referrals like that, great. Otherwise, I agree that business contacts are best left to sites like LinkedIn. Facebook is just too "wild west" still.

On another note, are you really writing all these posts in the 4 a.m. hour ?!?

Anonymous said...

HP,

Could you share your thoughts on when and how law clerks should go about seeking BigLaw employment?

I'm particularly interested in your advice for applicants who practiced for a year or two before clerking.

Thanks.

shade said...

Here's an ABA journal article on-topic. http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/saving_face

Anonymous said...

HP sucks. I heard he's a 1L at BLS. Apparently, he completely bombed his finals last term. That's why he had to stop blogging for so long. You better go read for Property, HP.