If you are new to an industry, it can be tough to prove your worth to senior partners, contacts, and thought leaders. But a well-executed blog can build your reputation and help you advance your new career.
This week’s blog continues a review of the book, Reinventing Professional Services; Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, by Ari Kaplan. In speaking to students, Kaplan says:
“There is a certain risk aversion that sets in after receiving a college or graduate degree. Maybe it is the reality of repaying student loans, or possibly the fear of wasting a tremendous investment of time and money on something that seems frivolous. Either way, students are often best positioned to take advantage of creative networking opportunities. They can chalk mistakes up to inexperience and enthusiastic follow-up is more often seen as moxie than a nuisance.”
Learning to Hustle
As a student intern or a new associate, today’s market demands more than simply doing what is expected of you. If you want to advance your new career to the next level, you need to show your superiors how valuable you are. Kaplan says:
“Career success was once based solely on academic performance, skill, reputation, and experience. Today commoditization means you need to add another element to the selection equation. You have all the tools available to learn about the people you are trying to meet. You also have plenty of incentive with a tighter job market. You simply need to hustle.”
Blogging Is One Way Into a Tight Market
When I was a new lawyer, fresh out of law school, I was hired by a very senior attorney in a small town. But the lower population didn’t eliminate the competition. As the county seat, St. Joseph, Michigan, had several law firms vying for the local population’s attention. But most were still using traditional advertising to get there, so I suggested we launch a blog. Kaplan says:
“The opportunity that technology offers is not just efficiency, but intergenerational interactivity. Students today are more proficient with technology and in organic self-marketing than most organizations realize. Those managers who harness talent and enable junior hires to demonstrate their potential are likely to increase their business-development initiatives. For that reason, students should lead with an offer to assist. A collaboration of this type between the generations is the ideal solution for students seeking to distinguish themselves to employers interested in raising their profiles among prospects.”
It certainly worked for me. By taking on the firm’s weekly blog, I was able to develop my legal expertise and strengthen the firm’s market share. We were never slow. By the time I was ready to move on from the firm, my employer had so come to rely on my marketing that he asked me to continue writing the blog for years after my own firm was up and running (in a different city).
Blogging is just one way students and new associates can distinguish themselves to their employers. Whatever your business-development strengths are, from blogging, to pod-casting, to face-to-face networking, use them. Offer to assist your firm’s marketing efforts. It will make you an indispensable part of the team.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If you need to distinguish your company online, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.