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Friday, April 16, 2010

Never Send A Generic Cover Letter

http://abovethelaw.com/- April 16, 2010

The following is an excerpt from a posting on AbovetheLaw.com by an attorney who received a letter from an applicant addressed to “Dear Sir or Madam.”

“I just received a resume and cover letter from a young attorney seeking employment in my firm. I honestly don’t notice things like spelling errors because I can’t spell myself, but I’m sure the letter and resume were flawless technically. I didn’t even read it that closely because the cover letter was addressed “Dear Sir or Madam:”

Here’s my response to the job seeker. Yes, I addressed it to him personally, but I’ll keep that private for his sake.”

I recently received your resume & cover letter. While I’m not hiring right now, I thought I’d give you some feedback that might help in your approach.

1. Take the three minutes or so that it requires to research each firm to at least get a name to address your letter to someone. I don’t like being called “Dear Sir or Madam.” Especially when it would only take about 30 seconds to find my name online. This shows that you did NO research into my firm to see if you might be a fit for what we do. You are trying to push the match onto me. I don’t need you to make more work for me. I only hire people who make my life easier.

2. Your cover letter was all about you, and frankly, none of your experience has anything to do with my firm’s work. Again, if you had taken just a few minutes to search online, you would have found out what we do. Then you could make a decision. You could either write a cover letter that tells me how you’ll make my life easier, or you could save a stamp.

You have an interesting background – especially the National Outdoor Leadership School training. In Colorado, leading with that might be more effective than leading some of the legal experience you’ve had that really doesn’t translate to the local legal market.

I wish you the best in your job search.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

LinkedIn is More Than Just Your Profile

LinkedIn is More Than Just Your Profile
by Allison Shields on April 7, 2010

I just returned from ABA Techshow 2010 and noticed that more and more lawyers are embracing social media. The general consensus among lawyers seems to be that LinkedIn is the most ‘professional’ of the networks, but in my experience in speaking with lawyers about social media, I’ve found that lawyers are “on” LinkedIn, but they are not using it effectively. Many don’t know what to do other than posting a profile, responding to invitations and occasionally inviting others to link. But they take no other action and rarely follow up.

You would not go to a networking event, collect business cards, do nothing with them, never follow up and expect to get business. You would not join a networking group, put your name on the membership rolls and then never show up and expect to get business. In the same way, you cannot expect to get business from LinkedIn without participation, follow up and engaging your connections.

First, as with any other undertaking, you need to know why you’re joining LinkedIn. What are you hoping to get out of it and who do you want to connect with? To learn more about purpose and social media, see this post on the Legal Ease Blog: http://legalease.blogs.com/legal_ease_blog/2009/12/social-media-for-lawyers-whats-your-purpose.html

Some quick tips for using LinkedIn:

■Upload your contacts and invite others to link with you
■Personalize your invitations; let the contact know how you know them
■Customize your profile page url: include your name, firm name or brand
■Join Groups and follow what’s happening in your area(s) of interest and in your clients’ industries
■Update your profile periodically; make sure it reflects how you help your clients and how you are different
■Let your personality shine through
■Keep your status current
■Join discussions to share your expertise and learn from others
■Post events and invite others to participate or attend
■Consider recommendations; even if you don’t want to ask for them, be generous about giving them to others
■Use the Questions and Answers section to share information and build your expert status
■Use search features to find people in industries or businesses you’re interested in
■Look at your connections to see who they are connected to and ask for introductions
■Follow up and take your LinkedIn relationships offline; pick up the telephone or meet for coffee

Allison Shields is a law practice coach and consultant with Legal Ease Consulting, Inc. She writes the Legal Ease blog and the Lawyer Meltdown e-newsletter