Self-Marketing 101 for Career-Minded Lawyers

In an information-rich economy, the law school graduates who thrive are the ones who market their services to the right people in the right way. Just as no law firm today can endure without effective marketing efforts, neither can job-hunters at any level.

Self-marketing does not have to be an onerous process though. Here are some simple tips to help you make self-promotion a natural part of your day, whether you're looking for your first job out of law school or working your way up the law practice ladder.

  1. SEEK ONLY WORK THAT FASCINATES YOU. "Don't worry about whether you'll be good at something," says Boston-area management consultant David Maister. "If the job turns you on, you'll be good enough; if it doesn't, you won't." Employers and clients believe that those who relish the idea of tackling their work will do the best job. Why should they hire anyone else?
  2. CONCENTRATE ON THE CLIENTS' OR EMPLOYERS' NEEDS. Whether you're seeking to attract employers or your own clients, you'll be hired for just one reason: because someone has discovered that you can meet a current need at the right price. Every bit of self-promotion you generate -- whether in a resume, cover letter or through personal interaction -- must speak quite pointedly to those needs. Your primary goal, then, is to find out as much as you can about the clients' or employers' needs and target your promotion only to those you truly think you can help. Employers and clients who need something other than what you have to offer will ignore your application. But you'll instantly catch the attention of those who have a need you apparently can meet.
  3. BE VISIBLE TO THOSE WHO MIGHT NEED YOUR SERVICES. Actions really do speak louder than words. Prove your interest in the people and work, and showcase your knowledge and competence, by attending relevant professional meetings, educational forums and social events. Select groups populated either by lawyers who do what you do (or want to do) or by clients who hire lawyers who do what you (want to) do. To break the ice, introduce yourself as a newcomer to just one other person. When you get more comfortable with your participation, pump up your participation: Write an article; volunteer to work on an important project; speak out about shared concerns. In a very short time, you'll be considered a member of the community and someone worth hiring.