by Charles Sipe
Building an extensive and diverse network can be very beneficial in terms of career growth and finding the ideal job position with a law firm, company, or the government. Since there is a large “shadow” job market of open positions that are not published online, knowing the right people can help you learn about these unadvertised positions. It can also lead to introductions to hiring managers that can turn into interviews. Online tools such as LinkedIn, blogs, and Twitter have greatly facilitated the activity of networking and have created new opportunities that can help paralegals build a great network.


If you are a professional, you are probably already on LinkedIn, but there are specific things that can help you get more out of this powerful networking tool. Joining LinkedIn Groups and participating in discussions can be an excellent way to meet new professionals. Additionally LinkedIn Answers can be a great place to demonstrate your expertise in the field, which can potentially lead to a connection with a professional that is looking for help.


By following legal professionals on Twitter you can learn about their personal interests as well as their thoughts and insights on the paralegal profession. You can find influential paralegals and lawyers or professionals in your area by viewing Twitter Lists. These are curated lists of the top people to follow in a certain category like “Paralegals” or “New York Legal Professionals”. Once you have followed individuals that you would like to connect with, you can engage in conversations by using the @ symbol followed by their handle then their name. For example: @ExpertParalegal Thanks for the recommended reading. I found it very useful! If they follow you back, you can also send them direct messages.


Not only can you get your name out there by writing great content that relates to the paralegal profession on your personal blog, but you can also make connections with bloggers by leaving insightful comments on their blog posts. Blog owners are often very appreciative of people who take the time to leave a comment and this can start a relationship with them. If you have a blog, you can request interviews with top paralegals in the field or in your area, which is a great reason to reach out to them. Additionally, many paralegal bloggers provide their email addresses, and the authors are often receptive to questions or career advice.


While networking online can be very effective, you don’t want to ignore in-person networking opportunities. Eventbrite is a great site that helps bridge online and in-person networking. You can find out what events are happening in your area and also learn who is attending the event. Event attendees often post their Twitter handle and website or blog link so you can learn more about them before meeting them in person. Even if you don’t attend the event, you can connect with them on Twitter or visit their blog.

Q&A Sites                        
Question and answer sites like Quora and Avvo have been gaining popularity as people are finding them useful for getting answers to specific questions. Quora allows you to create a profile that highlights your area of expertise. By answering questions you are demonstrating your knowledge to people who may have a specific problem to solve.
Do you have any tips on using social media for networking? Please leave them in the comments below.

Charles Sipe is the editor of Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a resource site providing information on paralegal degrees and careers. After attending University of Washington he has worked as editor for multiple news and information sites where he managed a team of writers and coordinated content development.

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