Video highlights of "Unpacking and Mapping Your Career Business Plan,"
sponsored and produced by Kates Media, are on the PhillyLegalMarketers YouTube channel.
In today’s competitive market, legal marketers must be highly intentional about their careers and take actions that will help them achieve their professional goals. For its first program of the year, the Metro Philadelphia chapter of the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) on January 24, 2013, hosted Jennifer Johnson Scalzi, founder of J. Johnson Executive Search, Inc., and Kelly Hoey, co-founder and managing director of Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) Accelerator, who provided a packed audience meaningful tips on taking control of their careers by developing:
- A credentials plan: resume, skills, motivation
- A networking plan: who do you know? where are the gaps? setting actions and intentions
- A personal GPS: values, work-life balance, driver
Current Market Conditions—In the breadth of legal-marketing skill sets, the following roles are presently being rated as valuable and in demand:
- Office or Regional Marketing: With broad exposure to events; proposal and pitches; and communications.
- Business Development: Increasing one's level of responsibility and exposure as advisors to attorneys with deep knowledge of specific practices.
- Public Relations: Media contacts; more proactive activities beyond basic press releases.
Professional Resumes (print and online)
- Productive repository for chronological list of accomplishments, positions, professional activities.
- Update LinkedIn profile periodically so it stays relevant for search-engine ranking.
Review your resume, assess your skill sets (areas for improvement) and motivating factors. Additionally, social media can play a pivotal role to develop a solid LinkedIn presence by functioning as a personal contact relationship manager (CRM) which:
- Encourages word of mouth, referrals, and recommendations.
- Pushes information daily to facilitate networking contact and follow-up.
- Allows easy sharing of updates and content.
- Helps manage and enhance your reputation.
- Draws traffic to a particular online resource.
- Supports personal branding.
- Productive exposure to media, conference planners, recruiters, and competitors.
- Gains internal and external visibility and credibility by using LinkedIn.
Creating and Maintaining Your Online Presence
It has never been more important to carefully and thoughtfully create and manage your online presence, which typically begins with a LinkedIn profile. At the very least, a LinkedIn profile can be an elongated resume that highlights your professional experience with a summary of each position, inserting key words that will increase the probability of your being “found” online. Profile building tips include:
- Use the first-person when referring to yourself.
- The “online” version of your resume (LinkedIn profile) and the professional document must mirror each other since it is most likely that potential employers and recruiters will “look you up.”
- Professional Headline: This is your personal tagline, which describes the essence of what you do and for whom—default language would be your current job title and employer.
- To ensure no typos, draft the profile in Word, spellcheck the content, and then paste it into LinkedIn.
- Insert spaces on both sides of slash marks so LinkedIn and external search engines know they are distinct words (e.g., Either / Or).
- Personalize your profile URL from the default multi-numeral path to your full name. Also include this in your email signature block.
- Add professional materials such as published articles, presentation outlines, press releases, media coverage clips, etc.
Status Bar—Create a calendar alert to update your LInkedIn status bar at least weekly.
Active Participation—Create an alert to review network updates, participate in relevant LinkedIn groups, and reach out to individuals regularly.
Where Do You Want to Be and Your Timeline—Depending upon professional goals, legal marketers must be strategic in seeking and achieving requisite skill sets and proactively seeking positions of increasing responsibility—to ultimately land the “top title” of whatever positions they seek. For many, this can take years, if not decades. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the ride, while maintaining a keen eye on the next logical professional step.
Assessment Trigger Points: When to Take a Close Look—There are inevitable signs that you may have “tapped out” at your current position and it may be time to seek new opportunities. Signals may include:
- No room for movement after three years.
- You become uninterested in the subject matter ("do I have to do this, again?").
- Pigeon-holed into a specialty role or assignment that does not offer diverse assignments.
- Your developing expertise is ready for “more” and something “different.”
- Management changes—this is not an easy time with even the best people involved.
- Topsy-turvy work / life balance: your professional responsibilities are dominating your life.
- Market changes.
Who do you know? Where are the gaps? Declaring your actions and intentions.
- Have more control over your career.
- Career options are clearer.
- Increased visibility in the profession.
- Awesome opportunity to meet and develop social connections.
- Reputation-building opportunities.
- “In the know” on “unadvertised” opportunities.
- Great way to identify mentors and sponsors.
- Peer support.
- Information exchange (“best practices”).
- External recognition.
- Share your experience and expertise.
- “Give first to get.”
9-1-1 Networker—Avoid falling in the trap of networking only for selfish reasons, and only contacting your connections when you want something. Networking doesn’t work if you are unwilling to invest yourself in others. Ultimately, it’s not about you.
Create Networking Plan—The best plans consider these three elements, which as they evolve should influence and adjust each other:
- Understanding your network
- Establishing your career goals
- Proactively selecting opportunities
Follow Up—Imperative in the professional development phase of your career is the “non-negotiable” activity of following up: with networking partners and with potential employers, mentors, sponsors, professional contacts, and everyone. This is where most individuals drop the ball. Do not let that be you.
- Handwritten notes get noticed.
- Share articles and useful information.
- Be curious and stay interested.
- Create a holiday card list and update it bi-annually.
- Get active on social media.
Evaluate your professional and personal goals to answer these questions:
- What work do you enjoy?
- What career opportunities do you seek?
- Does your network support and encourage your professional ambitions?
In conclusion, Jen and Kelly strongly advocate that legal marketers take control of their careers, develop career business plans much like they advise their lawyer-clients to do, which will provide structure—a personal GPS, if you will—to help guide and direct their professional decisions, now and in the future.
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