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Applying for pupillage – should you have a LinkedIn profile?

2nd Oct 2020

In the first of two articles on virtual networking, Emily Morris, head of marketing at Atkin Chambers, looks at why those applying for pupillage should consider having a LinkedIn profile and at some key pitfalls to avoid.

One of the things I have noticed since lockdown is the four-fold rise in new followers to Chamber’s LinkedIn company page. As members and their clients have moved into a more virtual working world, social networking has become more important to fill the gap left by everyone’s inability to meet in person.

But even before the current pandemic situation, LinkedIn’s penetration of the legal market has been swift and comprehensive.  A very significant part of members’ work at Chambers is international in source and/or nature and LinkedIn has become an increasingly useful way to keep in touch with clients and to support the development of new relationships globally.

Why have a LinkedIn profile

So it is perhaps surprising to see how many candidates for pupillage don’t have a LinkedIn profile. While by no means compulsory and certainly not a factor directly in whether Atkin Chambers will offer you an interview or pupillage, there are some advantages to using LinkedIn, particularly:

  • Interview preparation – most sets will post their news on LinkedIn and it may even give a more comprehensive and up to date picture of activity in chambers than their websites – case news, events spoken at or sponsored, industry developments members are engaged with etc – it’s often all on LinkedIn.
  • Control your personal search results – LinkedIn has very strong SEO credentials and a profile on its platform will often trump information about you elsewhere (until you are a tenant somewhere and have a profile on your chambers’ own website). This is a good thing because you are in control of your LinkedIn profile – it acts as your professional calling card. It should push anything less professional down any search results page. It’s not that interviewers are likely to pay too much heed to youthful antics (up to a point) but it’s better if your smiling professional headshot is the first thing anyone who googles you sees.

Common pitfalls to avoid with LinkedIn

Like all things digital there are risks and any presence on LinkedIn needs careful managing.  I’ll touch on what makes for a good profile on LinkedIn in the next article but in the first instance it’s worth making sure you have considered some risk management basics.

My top three are:

  1. Make sure you understand the privacy settings and check them at least annually as the options do change over time. In particular I would recommend turning active status off, using the private mode function re: what people can see if you have been looking at their profile and making sure your contact list isn’t visible to others.
  2. Be very cautious of requests to connect from people you don’t know, you’ve never met or who are just trying to sell you something. Fake accounts are becoming more common and are usually part of a phishing expedition (see news item here), connecting means a contact can message you when they want – you don’t want to be bombarded with sales messages – and connecting may give dubious individuals unwarranted credibility by virtue of their connection with you.
  3. Be cautious of liking or sharing posts without pausing for thought – be discerning will it reflect well on you?

In summary

Social media isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and most candidates for pupillage will have been far too busy working hard to achieve academic success to spend time on Tik Tok. But a presence online is no longer a choice and as a social networking rather than a social media site, LinkedIn is a worth a look as a way to impose some more control over your online presence.


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