Congratulations! You have accepted a legal marketing position. The job, office, and company all come with “new kid on the block” nerves. While exciting, this transition period into a new field can be challenging. How do you learn more about legal, its lingo and your company’s logistics? And how should you begin networking with industry professionals? Here is what I did to accelerate my transition.
Nearly 18 months ago, I knew little to nothing about the legal industry. I was learning a lot every day from my job. However, I wanted to learn more, and from different perspectives. My manager directed me to a professional organization to broaden my scope within the industry. Professional organizations are great on paper: they provide educational resources to learn from, opportunities to meet industry professionals, and events and conferences to attend, but it can be daunting if you try to do it all.
When I joined the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), my two goals were to learn more about the industry and meet professionals in the industry, so I focused on the educational local chapter events and the young professional shared interest group (SIG). By only focusing on two specific and attainable tasks, I had interesting conversations with individuals in Washington, D.C., and learned about various technologies, processes, and challenges other professionals were facing at their companies.
Once I felt comfortable in LMA and could successfully manage my two main goals, I signed up to volunteer for the regional conference to gain more experience in event planning. By attending networking and educational events, and volunteering at the regional conference, I connected with people I otherwise never would have met and learned more than I could have ever imagined, both professionally and personally.
Learning on LinkedIn
Once I made connections and started building a network in this new industry, I started following up and connecting with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the key to my success in learning a new industry. Some people listen to a podcast or music in the morning to jump start their days. I open LinkedIn to learn and be inspired. I spend at least 10 minutes a day scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, reading about how my network navigates the nuances of the legal marketing industry.
Two years ago, my LinkedIn feed looked very different from how it looks today. I’ve made a conscious effort to connect with individuals I’ve met, even if only just briefly. I believe everyone can teach me something, and you never know who is very active on LinkedIn and shares valuable content. By connecting with legal marketing individuals on LinkedIn, just within a month of joining the LMA, my feed was flooded with rich resources, timely content, and insight from industry leaders
While I met individuals in DC, I kept seeing the same industry leaders from different cities on my feed. Although I didn’t know them, and otherwise might not ever meet them, I made note to participate in their webinars and events to learn from them. The power of LinkedIn is magnifying. Although engaging in the LMA helped me achieve my goals, it was with the help of LinkedIn I was able to follow up with connections, maintain relationships, learn about and remember events, and ultimately gain more confidence in understanding the profession.
My job was my key to the legal industry. The LMA highlighted certain rooms and gathering places, and LinkedIn was my guidebook on how to navigate the new industry with purpose. While I focused on a few specific aspects of the LMA, I am excited to enter new rooms by attending the upcoming national conference.
Tips to Leverage LinkedIn
Below are tips for leveraging LinkedIn through a job transition or to gain more knowledge about a new industry:
- Mine professional networks or groups on LinkedIn for relevant industry contacts or to find professional organizations.
- Monitor your feed to further educate yourself about the industry and to learn what content your connections share and like.
- Engage with your new connections by continuing conversations via messaging or by liking and commenting on their posts to maintain relationships.
- Advance your relationships by reminding new connections how you met, what you talked about, and what you plan to do in the future by adding a personal note to connection requests.
When engaging with individuals on LinkedIn whom you haven’t met, but would like to get to know, pose questions that solicit responses. “What was your inspiration behind the article?” or “I loved the article you shared. Have you heard about the resource previously? I am curious to see if anyone I know has used it,” are more likely to spark a conversation than, “Great article!”
By Catherine Iszarad, Associate Business Development and Marketing Coordinator at NERA Economic Consulting